Dionne Smith, Community Editor
Just the thought of classes could stress out a college student, and that stress rises with having to work, study, and as exams creep closer each week. However, USM is fortunate enough to have Yesplus on campus to aid with helping students lower their stress and gain more energy with the help of yoga and meditation.
Last weekend, Yesplus hosted their first retreat of the semester on the Gorham campus. “In essence its a course on being happy, grounded, getting out of your head and keeping mental hygiene, which in my experience occupies a niche that is quite unfilled on college campuses,” said Dominic Benfatta, the current president of USM’s Yesplus club. Different meditations, yoga, and breathing exercises, as well as community positivity were all included in the event to benefit students by relieving their current stress levels to help them prepare for the coming exams. The retreat also involved planning for a community service project that went into effect over the weekend. On top of the retreat, Yesplus holds meditations every Thursday night, and holds events such as Stress Free Finals week, and they have plans to host workshops.
USM is not the only campus to have a Yesplus club. According to Benfatta, there have been about 50 campuses across the country that have hosted a Yesplus retreat, and 26 campuses that actively have Yesplus clubs. Some of the colleges includeg MIT and Purdue University. Back in the 2013 fall semester, one of the teachers of Yesplus, Stephanie Rand was trying to get a club organized and was able to do so last year with the help of Katie Tomer, the former president of the club.
The form of meditation they use is called SKY meditation, which originates from yogic traditions of India and Nepal. According to the Yesplus website, SKY meditation has been scientifically proven to relieve anxiety and depression, reduce levels of stress and improve emotion regulation, among the vast list of benefits. On the website there are stories of different people from various colleges on how the Yesplus retreats helped them.
Benfatta encourages everyone to give the meditations they host a try, and perhaps join the club in more events, saying to keep an open mind and that anyone is always welcome. Students may participate as much or as little as they please.
“I think this open door inclusiveness lends a strength and dynamism to the club,” Benfatta said. Yesplus is not about doing anything specifically, but about positive community.