I have always been told that yoga can be life-changing, but until a couple of weeks ago, I was too stubborn and lazy to try it.

When I went to my doctor in January, he suggested yoga as a tool to feeling better and living better. I’d recently taken on so much responsibility in school and my personal life, I needed something to help me manage my stress.

It was only when I was forced to do it in my role as a newspaper reporter, that I woke up. I was assigned to write a story on the yoga classes that are held every Tuesday at noon in Algonquin’s Spiritual Centre at the Ottawa campus.

When I arrived, I asked Christine McGlynn, the yoga instructor, if I could sit-in, watch and take notes for a story I was working on. Nope. If I wanted to be in the room during the session, she explained, I would have to participate. She didn’t want the other participants to get anything less from their session by having me watch them.

Although I was not prepared for it at all – I was wearing jeans – I decided to join the session and climbed onto a yoga mat.

McGlynn handed me a consent card and explained that this a place where students can feel comfortable indicating if they want hands-on help during the yoga session or not. One side of the card reads, “No, thank you.” On the other side it reads, “Yes, please.” This is in line with Project Lighthouse’s work about the importance of consent and respecting others and their personal space. The session’s other participants and I were in a safe space on campus. This meant no judgment, no ego and a place to relax.

“Yoga is about showing up on your mat without having expectations of how it should go,” explained McGlynn. “It’s not believing in labels like, too injured or too old. It’s about finding the best version of yourself. Yoga is a lifestyle, not an exercise program and yoga has no judgment. Yoga is about discovering what those silly thoughts are all about. It’s seeking something greater.”

I am so excited to share that it did indeed help me feel better. From that very first session, I learned that yoga is not only about your body but it is also one of the best ways to love yourself and take care of your mental state.

Practising yoga has already made a change in my life after only three weeks. I feel happy and can say that truthfully.

It is free for students just one hour every Tuesday from 12 p.m. until 1 p.m. All the materials are there, you just have to bring yourself – you know you need it.