The Georgetown University School of Health (SOH) hosted a yoga event Oct. 21 in collaboration with a Georgetown graduate as part of a focus on student health and wellbeing for the SOH and the university community.
The yoga was led by Britt Daniels (COL ’18), a Lululemon ambassador and fitness instructor. The SOH Academic Council, a group of students who act as a liaison between the administration and community, worked in collaboration with Daniels and Sarah Shohet, associate dean of academic affairs in the SOH, to market and execute the event.
The SOH seeks to put student health, specifically the language and theme of “wellbeing,” at the forefront of campus activities, according to dean-select Christopher J. King. This priority is something King said he hopes continues well beyond the semester and academic year.
“We want to be sure we’re not just tending to the physical part of ourselves, but also our lived experience, joy, happiness, taking good care of ourselves,” King told The Hoya. “That’s really important for us, and that’s the type of environment we’re trying to cultivate.”
“It’s about inclusion. It’s about making sure that folks know their lived experience is appreciated and valued. We know that there are particularly students of color who feel like they’re just not heard, not a part of the fabric of the community, and that’s not good. That’s not good that we don’t have that, and it’s something that I’m hearing and it’s something that we’re going to continue to work through,” King added.
Arjun Chhabra (SOH ’25) and Tara Hass (SOH ’25), co-chairs of the SOH Academic Council, say that they have been trying to host a yoga event for students since last spring to support student wellbeing.
“A huge part of the development of the event was to promote student well-being and mental rest during a hectic Georgetown schedule,” Hass wrote to The Hoya.
Hass added that the SOH Academic Council plays a crucial role in the development of these campus events.
“In this event, we mainly helped with the execution and marketing of the event, gathering enough yoga mats for students to use, encouraging students to come to the event, and overall ensuring that the event went smoothly,” Hass wrote.
Chhabra said that it was particularly exciting to see Daniels guide students through a rejuvenating session.
“My favorite part of the event was getting to see Britt Daniels in action. He truly cares about his work and sharing his passion with others,” Chhabra wrote to The Hoya. “It seemed like every person walked out of the yoga session with a completely refreshed mindset which we felt was very important during midterm season.”
Daniels said that during his time at Georgetown, he took a medical leave of absence after experiencing imposter syndrome and substance abuse. Daniels found his way back to wellness after trying out yoga, which he felt was important to impart on students who might be going through similar issues.
“I really feel like if I had those resources when I was a student, it would have made all the difference,” Daniels told The Hoya. “Being a Black male who operates in this space, if I had that representation, that would give me insight into something into an early age. I’m just happy I could hold that space for others.”
Daniels, who served as a former keynote speaker for the Georgetown Scholars Program, said that it was important to give students the space during the event to process events happening in their lives as well as to impart vital wellbeing information to them.
“I wanted to give students the space to do evaluation about where they were at in life,” Daniels said. “But also just talk to them about mental hygiene and how they can take care of themselves while dealing with the stresses of college.”
Chhabra said that with rising mental health concerns among Georgetown students, he hopes that this event and those in the future help to bring together students.
“We find that many students experience burn-out, especially pre-medical students. By providing study breaks and yoga events like these, we hope students will be able to prioritize their mental well-being over their GPA and understand they’re human first,” Chhabra wrote.
Daniels led attendees through several important body concepts, including the benefits of breathwork, spinal mobility, hip opening and power vinyasa. King said that yoga concepts like these are so important because they extend beyond the physical and touch the mind as well.
“It’s not just about stretching. It’s about having faith in yourself and knowing that you are a unique person and that you can overcome obstacles,” King said. “It’s a way to relax and restore and rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit.”
Yoga is the perfect introduction to begin the journey of self care and love, according to Daniels.
“Wellness boils down to three words: mind, body and community,” Daniels said. “For me, that was finding the yoga community. I got to work on my mind. I get to work on my body. And I found a community.”