January 14, 2008
Class shows students how to find life balance
By elizabeth elkins
For many students, the hardest part of college is managing stress. Learning to balance classes, relationships, parents and emotional ups and downs are a key component of a new Evening at Emory course called “Art of Living’s YES (Youth Empowerment and Life Skills).” Taught by Mona Shah-Joshi, the course focuses on the Sudarshan Kriya rhythmic breathing technique, which leads to clarity and peace of mind — which in turn leads to better academic performance and enhanced leadership skills.
“The course is a complete stress management and self-development program,” Shah-Joshi explains. “We often learn to deal with negative emotions, but not how to get rid of them. This course shows you what holds you back, and how you react to different situations. It gives you practical knowledge and skills you will actually retain and implement later.”
Art of Living combines emotional, mental, physical and social skill training designed to enhance overall wellness and focus. It’s a course that participants often describe as life-changing. The blend of yoga, breathing exercises, interpersonal games and nutritional coaching was just that for Goizueta Business School junior Avani Gupta.
“Afterward, I felt so much more prepared to handle college,” says Gupta, who took the course last year at Georgia Tech. “I learned how to help myself, and how to prevent the downward spirals caused by stress and negative situations. It left me as a much more positive person completely in charge of my own mental health.”
This is the first time that Evening at Emory has offered a course specifically for students. It’s an idea that began when Shah-Joshi, Gupta and two professors — Peter Ash, chief of child and adolescent psychiatry in the School of Medicine, and Krishnamurthy Subramanian, assistant professor of finance at Goizueta — approached Dean of Campus Life John Ford about their positive experience with Art of Living. Developed by the Art of Living Foundation, a volunteer-based nonprofit organization in, the course has been a popular student choice at universities including Harvard, Duke and Stanford. Campus Life readily agreed to sponsor the course.
“We all get time management training in the real world, but in many ways we already have our habits, both good and bad,” explains Evening at Emory Director Lisa Kozicki. “This course is a chance to develop ways to take care of mind, body and spirit before then. The best time to learn these things is in college.” Kozicki hopes the course will soon be offered for staff and faculty.