Yale Daily News

The Good Life Center at Yale is offering a variety of yoga practice sessions in the hopes of promoting mental health and wellness on campus. 

Though yoga is not commonly associated with mental health efforts across college campuses, it can be used to mitigate the stress and anxiety induced by a rigorous academic environment. The Good Life Center offers programming surrounding yoga practice to the University community in collaboration with different organizations and individuals. 

“We have found that dedicated mindfulness workshops and yoga classes have been a popular attraction for students, and we have seen high interest and attendance in our classes,” said Corinne Coia, interim director of the Good Life Center and community wellness specialist with Yale College Community Care.

On campus, the increased demand for yoga classes and workshops indicates a revival in the use of this ancient practice to manage the stresses of daily life. The Good Life Center’s Schwarzman Center location, a branch of the original Center at Silliman College, opened its doors to the entire Yale community nearly a year ago. Some of the Center’s expanded initiatives include “Take it Easy Tuesday” and “Wellness Wednesday,” according to Coia. 

“We currently run several mindfulness workshops including drop-in mindfulness sessions, Koru Mindfulness classes and initiatives like our 6-week ‘Heart Opening Practices Series,’” Coia wrote in an email to the News. “We aim to teach students the science behind mindfulness and ways to incorporate this practice into their day-to-day life.”

In expressing her enthusiasm for the expansion of the yoga practice through the Good Life Center, Coia noted her past experience as a “restorative yoga instructor” and highlighted its benefits for college students, especially when tackling a “hectic semester.”

Lulu Zhang LAW ’23, a certified yoga instructor and yoga teacher at the Good Life Center, emphasized the numerous benefits of yoga practice, which include improvements in strength, flexibility, balance, posture, quality of sleep and stress management. 

Zhang also expressed her gratitude for the Center’s existence on campus and how it openly promotes and advocates for students’ mental health and wellness. 

“I think the [mere] fact that the center exists and they’re talking about the importance of wellness is huge,” Zhang said. “I graduated college in 2016, and there wasn’t as much discussion around wellness and mental health as there is today.”  

In providing advice on making these practices a daily habit, Zhang spoke to the importance of incorporating yoga into day-to-day life. She also emphasized the significance of prioritizing mental health and well-being as the stresses of college life intensify. “I have to take care of my own health and well-being in order to be the best human being and community member,” Zhang said. 

Mariama Sow ’25, a student worker at the Good Life Center, reaffirmed the revitalization and increased support of campus mental health and wellness resources. 

“I was in shock at how pretty this place is,” Sow exclaimed, in reference to the Good Life Center’s design and layout. “I never thought of such a high institution to have a space to put self-care at the forefront. I feel like the GLC is a place that promotes and does that for students.”

Sow praised the Center’s space and offerings for Yale’s students. For her, the Center is “grounded in mood changing and uplifting.” As a member of its staff, she has been able to observe the positive impact this space has on students, and she said that the students “definitely walk out happier than when they walked in.”  

The Good Life Center is located on the second floor annex at 168 Grove St.

Abel Geleta covers Yale New Haven Health (YNHH) for the Science and Technology desk at the News. Previously, he covered stories and topics at the intersection of Science and Social Justice. Originally from Ethiopia, Abel has lived in northern Virginia for the past 12 years. He is currently a junior in Berkeley college studying History of Science, Medicine and Public Health as a scholar in the Global Health Studies Program