The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

RGLP Recap: Yoga

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This ongoing series explores sessions of the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) through participant narratives. RGLP engages Dartmouth students who have demonstrated leadership skills and would like to extend these skills on a globally conscious level. In this program, students focus on and further develop international leadership competencies, which have become increasingly crucial in corporate, public and non-profit sectors today.

When we had our first session of RGLP and the program overview presentation mentioned yoga as the activity for one of the sessions, I was definitely skeptical of its relevance to the RGLP curriculum. To me, yoga has always been just a glorified stretching routine. I never really saw its importance or took the people who regularly practiced and swore by it seriously. I had never done yoga before, so jumping right in at “hot” yoga had never really crossed my mind as a potential activity of mine.

Photo by Timothy J. Serkes

From the moment I walked into the room, I realized how out of my element I was. At the same time, I noticed how other people seemed to fit in right away and knew exactly what to grab or do. As the instructor talked us through the different movements, I felt myself falling behind and was frustrated. This made me focus more on what I was doing so that I could figure it out. I wish I could say that the breathing and relaxation routines helped fully clear my mind of any stresses I was experiencing, but this would work for only a short amount of time before all the random thoughts poured back in. I think, however, that I’d be able to better handle this sort of situation if I were to try it a second time.

In the end, I saw the similarities between RGLP and yoga and understood why this outing was included as a session. The idea of mindfulness and being “present” is essential to “getting more out of” yoga, but it is also necessary to succeed in the realm of cultural interaction. While I may not have been the best at it, the lesson I took away from the session was that a focus on yourself and how you are acting and simply existing in a situation is fundamental to reaching your goal whether it’s in yoga or in life.

-Written by Dylan Everett '15, Fall 2014 RGLP Participant

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences