It’s that time of year again: exams, assignments and an overload of stress. Maintaining a balance between work, sleep, eating and socializing is key, however, the most important part in keeping your sanity is to stay relaxed and to find ways of managing your stress!
It is the perfect time for me to introduce you to Yogini Chitra Claudia Cicconi. The first time I met Chitra I could feel her calm and grounding presence in the room. As we talk, she tells me that she first discovered yoga through dance, which helped her get though a stressful time in her life. After leaving a job she was not satisfied with, Chitra decided to travel and find inner peace, leading to her discovery of yoga, which she fell in love with. She tried her first class in 2003, then after a couple years of perfecting her practice, she decided to take her first teacher training with Integral Yoga, a style which focuses on chanting, breathing and gentle yogic sequences, followed by a deep relaxation and meditation. This allowed her to truly find a balance in her life and led her to pursue her path as a full time yoga instructor.
Chitra explains that she particularly enjoys the holistic healing approach in her practice, and that her “calling is to be of service in wellness. I am passionate about discovering different tools through my own body in becoming stronger and more fluid, which I love sharing with my students.”
As someone who loves the practice and principals of yoga, I asked Chitra to take me through one of her classes or workshops. Here’s what she had to say:
“My classes start with either a short Shavasana pose with guided breathing exercises or sitting in Sukhasana pose crossed legged adding mudras and yogic breathing, followed by neck and shoulder exercises. We then dive into the yoga sequences including sun salutations, toning and muscle strengthening exercises, balance poses, guided meditation, and throwing in positive messages, cues and assisting my students with adjustments when needed.”
If this doesn’t sound like the perfect school de-stressor, then I don’t know what does! Lucky for you McGill students, Chitra offers private yoga, guided meditation relaxation and yogic breathing exercise sessions at Scc Spa Urbain, which is just around the corner from campus.
For those of you who have read my previous article about Scc Spa Urbain owner, Sylvie-Chantale, you will already know this is a place that many McGill students come to when they need to be in a space of tranquility and support. Chita tells me that she tries to listen to students needs and always makes sure that participants leave with a sense of ease and peace of mind. Again, I can’t tell you enough how welcoming this environment is.
Chitra stresses that the most rewarding part about teaching her own classes is when students express their gratitude and thanks after class, sharing how much the practice was beneficial to them in so many ways. She notes that a few of her students have even become yoga teachers themselves, which is very inspiring.
I asked Chitra to give some advice to students who are going through exams and are feeling very stressed out during this time. Her wise words of wisdom were as follows: “the number one success is your health and well being. Take the time in between studying and exams for yourself. Be observant of your thoughts and choose what works for you and let go what doesn’t serve you or your life goals.” Personally, I know that when I take a step back from the bubble and chaos of school and studying, and look after myself properly, I am much more productive and successful with my results.
If you want to take even just 30 minutes and be guided towards a sense of ease, come by Scc Spa Urbain. Chitra and Sylvie-Chantale will welcome you with open arms!
Chitra Claudia Cicconi can be reached either by e-mail at [email protected], Facebook or by booking an appointment through Scc Spa Urbain at (514) 544-8822.
Images provided by interviewee.