Have a seat for chair yoga before class

Over the years, Associate Professor Carola Grebitus saw increasing numbers of students dealing with anxiety. When her yoga hobby grew into wanting to train others in the calming practice, she found a ready audience. Her stressed-out students liked how her occasional, quiet sessions helped them.

By Jane Larson

“When they’re nervous, they can’t work,” says Grebitus, who’s a Dean's Council Distinguished Scholar. “But if you know how to calm yourself down, you can let go of stress faster. Instead of spending three hours being upset and ranting on Facebook, you can breathe, go back to work, and get it done.”

The associate professor in the Morrison School of Agribusiness got a chance to formalize her yoga lessons when the pandemic hit, and ASU offered mini-grants for teaching and learning innovation. She put together a four-session series in which yoga teachers she knew showed faculty, staff, and doctoral students how yoga can help them relax, manage negative emotions, and teach with purpose and passion.

Grebitus started taking yoga classes a decade ago as a way to feel better physically after long days at work. She soon discovered other benefits: It helped her focus on her job and keep calm in the face of large classes or uncomfortable situations. She found it so beneficial that she earned her yoga teaching certification in 2019 and now is training in yoga therapy and its techniques for health and healing.

Another benefit of yoga is that it doesn’t necessarily require an hour in a studio, Grebitus says. She’ll sit quietly for 10 minutes over her lunch break or stretch on her mat while watching TV.

“It helps our careers because we’ll be able to focus more, better, and longer, to reduce stress and anxiety, and to handle other people’s emotions better,” she says. “And there’s the physical aspect, just having realistic expectations and recognizing that when you breathe for five minutes, you’re already helping your body so much.”

Get a hobby

Taking the time to pursue hobbies can have all sorts of positive effects, such as improving your physical and mental health or adding new dimensions to your career. They can offer fun, much-needed breaks form your daily work, and a chance to be successful in another part of life.

Here's what these W. P. Carey faculty, staff, and alumni do »

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