About 40 MBA students from the University of Windsor took all their stress Monday and left it in a pool of sweat on the yoga studio floor.
It was part of the plan hatched by Odette School of Business professor Kent Walker to give students a break from the stress of university.
“I have been noticing that many of the students, and not just in my classrooms, but teaching assistants seem very stressed,” said Dr. Walker, who teaches business ethics and sustainability in the master of business administration program.
“We take one class day that we coordinated throughout the MBA program that lets them step away and give them time for self-reflection.”
The day started with students eating breakfast at 10 Friends Diner while they listened to staff explain the eatery’s business model as a social enterprise. The restaurant, at 1400 Windsor Avenue, is a not-for-profit diner that employs and trains people with mental health issues.
“It’s very refreshing to see that it’s not all about money,” said 24-year-old MBA student Anna Mullins. “You can run a business that does good in the community, turns a profit and is able to stay alive.”
About 35 students then slipped into their moisture-wicking gear to sweat it out with hot yoga.
Moksha Yoga invited the students to practice for free, but Walker said many of the students chose to donate to the studio’s monthly charity — this month, the David Suzuki Foundation.
Parker Van Buskirk, a 29-year-old MBA student, said the day helped to teach him the importance of balance.
“The MBA program pushes you to be like a full-time job and we are always doing something,” Van Buskirk said. “Today gave us a chance to not think about school and come sweat it out, loosen up and enjoy the rest of the day.”
Following hot yoga, students were given the day off to relax and unplug. Walker challenged them to abstain from technology for the entire day.
“This lets them step way, gives them time for self-reflection but also to see if the technology is helping them to create more freedom in their lives or if it’s entrapping them,” he said.
Both Van Buskirk and Mullins acknowledged going tech-free would be a challenge but said the students had co-ordinated activities to help them de-stress. Some of the male students were using the day to go golfing while the female students were getting together for lunch.
“Hopefully golf isn’t too stressful for some of the guys but we are all pretty excited to be able to do that,” Van Buskirk said. “Being off our phones will be the real challenge, but it should be a good lesson in the end.”