A group of University of Delaware students dedicated to leading a balanced life recently participated in an intense five-day workshop offered by the Art of Living Foundation.

Enlightened living

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10:17 a.m., Nov. 12, 2012--When Jellirica Tan started CALM (Caring About Living More), a registered student organization at the University of Delaware, she wasn’t sure whether a student club focused on spirituality and enlightenment would be successful.

But Tan was pleasantly surprised. In its first year, CALM’s membership grew from 30 to almost 140, and the club’s offerings are popular among students from artists to athletes.

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In October, 25 UD students had the opportunity to step up their efforts to achieve a balanced life at a yesplus workshop on campus. 

Yesplus — a project of the Art of Living Foundation, an international educational nonprofit — offers a curriculum covering wellness of body and mind, leadership, communication, stress management, meditation and yoga, study and concentration skills, teamwork, physical fitness, and community engagement. “Yes” is an acronym for “your enlightened side.”

Scholarships provided by the University enabled a group of CALM’s most dedicated members to participate in the five-day workshop. 

The UD participants found the course to be challenging, emotional, and intense, Tan says, but they also said they had never felt so relaxed as they did after the experience.

James Leitner, a sophomore majoring in environmental studies, says he went into the workshop not knowing a lot about meditation, yoga, or any of the concepts being taught. 

“I did the program expecting to learn about maintaining happiness, self-enlightenment, and meditation,” he says. “I learned all of that and so much more.  I feel it is crucial for all college students because it really changes the way you act and creates more open-minded people.”

CALM vice president Sean Page admits he was “carrying the baggage of stress every college student carries, ranging from school, work, family, clubs and other various time-crunching activities.”

“I came into the program with minimal energy and bogged down from my day-to-day stresses,” says the junior criminal justice major, “but I left rich with a wealth of knowledge and rejuvenated physically, spiritually and mentally.  Although this journey has only begun, I am still eager to see where it leads.”

As CALM president, Tan is pleased with the lasting effects of the program. 

“Students have requested weekly meetings to practice what they learned,” she says. “Some are meditating every day, and others have adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. We hope to be able to offer the workshop every year, so that more students can benefit from the lessons and techniques taught by yesplus.”

Yesplus has been offered at some 75 colleges and universities across the nation, including Stanford, Columbia, Harvard, and MIT.

About the workshop

The yesplus workshop is a combination of meditation, knowledge and action. The workshops are aimed at strengthening leadership skills; enhancing memory and concentration; eliminating doubt and worry; decreasing stress and anxiety; sleeping restfully and building a stronger immune system; being happy, vibrant and joyful; and improving relationships.

Article by Diane Kukich

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