By Katie Dahl

Every Friday in the college’s fitness centre, students can be found with their eyes closed letting go of all the stress and tension built-up over the week.

They’re participants in many types of fitness and aerobic classes trying to improve their lifestyles using Zumba and yoga.

In early January, Algonquin began offering Kundalini yoga classes for students to start the New Year in a stress-free way.

Vanessa Tran, who is also a computer teacher at the college, is “honoured” to be the instructor of Algonquin’s first Kundalini yoga class.

The class provides students with the unique opportunity to relax with no one watching. Kundalini yoga is practiced with the participant’s eyes closed.

It can be quite terrifying for some people, to be in a room full of strangers said Tran.

However, the upside is that no one can see how participants look in each pose. Those who attend are encouraged to only do as much as their bodies will allow, and not to force or strain them.

We want people to do whatever they can…to do their best,” said Tran.

Sessions begin with the use of a healing bowl, which fills the room with a low hum and allows the relaxation process to begin.

The Kundalini stream of yoga begins with a focus on the breath, a practice which is often associated with traditional yoga.

Breathing through the left nostril represents the moon and allows one to relax while breathing through the right represents the sun and thereby energizing the body.

Every class has a different focus; as is demonstrated in the Kriya stage. Kriya is a combination of postures and breathing. Focus can be applied to the heart, lungs or even mental alertness. This makes the classes universal and effective for many different ailments.

Whether it’s more energy or a detox that you need, Kriya can fulfill those needs.

Every class is challenging,” said Tran, but the class serves as a good introduction for beginners.

Kriya is followed by meditation which leaves students rested and often allows them to sleep better in the future. Using mantra, repeated sounds said aloud or silently, one is able to clear negativity from their thoughts.

With usually five or six students attending the class every week, the class has room to grow in the future.