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Council members get zen

John Cameron | Friday, November 5, 2010

On Wednesday, a group of yogis gathered to attempt the Lord of the Dance pose. Displaying varying levels of enthusiasm, commitment and balance, most channeled their chi masterfully.

This is not RecSports Pilates class, this is not Badin Hall Flirty Girl Fitness: this is the Council of Representatives (COR).

Student body president Catherine Soler introduced the Hindu/Buddhist practice to COR meetings upon coming into office. She said that it gives members an opportunity to unload stress and do something fun in an otherwise serious setting.

“Everyone in COR is a leader and has a really busy schedule, so I thought it would be a nice way to include a relaxation technique in a fun way to end the meetings,” she said. “As these meetings can be pretty mundane, sometimes it’s just nice to relax and do something new.”

Soler said she was a fan of yoga long before coming into office and taking the lead at COR.

“I’ve taken yoga classes and I buy yoga magazines and stuff like that, but I’m nowhere near a certified yoga master,” she said. “I like to think I’m more of a yogi than I probably am.”

Soler said that as far as she knows, no past student body president brought any similar practice into student government meetings. Since the practice is untraditional for student government and many Council members are unfamiliar with yoga, Soler made an effort to ensure that the poses she chooses are beginner-friendly.

“I’ve never heard of this before. Apparently it’s very unconventional,” she said. “I try to choose poses that are simple enough for people to follow along with, but that are also gender-neutral.”

Soler said she was not the only Council member enthused about the end-of-meeting yoga exercises, whether it is apparent at the meetings or not.

“Sometimes there is some eye-rolling, I’ll admit, from certain members. On the whole I think people think it’s fun,” Soler said. “Andrew [Bell, student body vice president] and Nick [Ruof, chief of staff], who don’t like to admit it, really enjoy the yoga portions of the meetings,” she said.

“No comment,” Bell said.

While COR tried out a variety of different poses, Soler has a few favorites.

“My favorite pose we’ve done so far, well, warrior one was a hit right away. I also like the one we just did which was the Lord of the Dance pose.”

To keep things interesting, Soler led Council members in other unusual relaxation practices.

“We were trying to think of different mind-body exercises so we’ve done some pilates, we’ve done a little meditation, and some yoga,” she said.

As far as for the future, Soler has high expectations for COR members’ development as yogis.

“I’m hoping by the end of the year we’ll be able to do a whole sun salutation together as COR.”