Yoga sessions to shine with Lumie light at Leeds University

Light therapy specialist Lumie is supplying lights for innovative yoga sessions to be run by ‘We Are Wellness’ at Leeds University Union 11-22 January 2016. The yoga classes will be part of a student well-being initiative that was successfully launched last year and is now being expanded to reach more students. The project includes the LUUmie Light Café which will open again for a second year to offer bright light therapy to students as they relax over refreshments.

Lumie Light Yoga will be a first; the bright lights have never been used in this context before and will enhance the yoga sessions by gently energising people as they practise. The bright lights emit a much higher light intensity or lux than standard lighting to increase the daily amount of light a person receives, typically 10,000 lux. This exposure to light increases the amount of serotonin (a hormone that affects your mood) and decreases the amount of melatonin (a hormone that affects your sleep) your body produces. It is very helpful for anyone on the winter blues spectrum, from those who experience a drop in their mood and energy to those with seasonal affective disorder who are so badly affected that it disrupts their ability to manage their daily routine.

January is traditionally a low point in the academic year as students face the stress of exams and winter depression, due to the lack of exposure to natural light, is at its worst. Ruth Caleb, chair of Universities UK's mental well-being working group, says counselling services are facing an annual rise in demand of about 10%. She estimates the use of counselling usually ranges between 5% and 10% of students, depending on the university, which would suggest at least 115,000 students are seeking help. Sir Anthony Seldon, vice chancellor of Buckingham University, says this is a "massive problem" and universities have been "negligent" in accepting their pastoral responsibilities.

The well-being project gives students a chance to study and relax using light therapy as well as offering yoga, meditation and adult colouring. Free drinks and fruit will also be provided. The experience should be fun, relaxing and empowering for students by encouraging them to use practical tools to help them stay well and happy.

The yoga flow sessions will be run by Helena Byles from ‘We Are Wellness’“The yoga classes will help people connect to their bodies through fun, feel-good, flowing yoga with stress relieving breath work. The room will be lit using several Lumie Brazils, large light boxes that emit 10,000 lux; moving and breathing within a light filled room will provide the ultimate defence against stress and depression.”

“We wanted to create a haven for our students to prioritise their wellbeing, whether that means studying in peace, taking part in our activities and workshops or just having a break! Our Student Advice Centre has seen an increase in the number of students disclosing issues with depression, mental health and low mood - these problems are particularly acute at this time of year." Freya Govus, Student Welfare Officer, Leeds University Union

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