Southwestern Magazine | Fall 2019

IN2006, IWAS A STRESSED-OUT doublemajor inEnglish and philosophywho thought she could do it all. Duringmy time at Southwestern, I attempted to juggle 18-hour semesters, a dance minor, cheerleading, Alpha Delta Pi, stand-up comedy, creative writing, a job in the Debby Ellis Writing Center, presenting academic papers, and lots of friends. But as a first-generation college student, I was full of self-doubt and often worried that I was at a school where I did not belong. It was my first yoga class that made me realize I had to find balance and inner peace in order for the events, deadlines, and hustle and bustle of the real world to feel less overwhelming. As a dancer, I assumed that taking yoga to meet my fitness and activity requirement would increase my flexibility. I believed it would be another way to stretchmy body. Little did I know that it would also teachme to stretch and calmmy mind. Inmy later years at SU, yoga helped me melt away doubt and stress. It helped me accept myself. After finishing graduate school and entering theworld of public education, I often foundmyself thinking that my students could similarly benefit fromboth the physical andmental practice of yoga. I started incorporating mindfulness and creative writing exercises into thebeginningofmy classroom routines to assist the students in transitioning from one subject to another and to help them recognize that it was OK to slow down and recenter during the day. In early 2019, I found myself back in that same overwhelmed headspace—juggling toomany things and recognizing that I had never given myself the time to truly delve intomy yoga practice. For years, I had had a strong desire to take the next step inmy journey as a yogini and earn my yoga certification, Stretching theMind A L U M N I S P O T L I G H T Kandace Lytle ’07 combines yoga with writing to connect and heal. 14 SOUTHWESTERN