The Key to Mindfulness
Not only is Hopper the fitness and wellness coordinator for Campus Recreation at MSU, she also owns a successful yoga studio in Mankato called Sun Moon Yoga. Both on and off campus, Hopper focuses on the wellbeing of not only herself, but others as well every single day.
A business owner, a teacher, a creator, and coach, Hopper has redefined the meaning of health and wellness with the embodiment of mindfulness. The definition of mindfulness is “paying attention on purpose without really trying to change anything” according to Hopper.
“Part of MSU’s mission is we want students to be successful and part of that is academics, but not all. A big part of what campus recreation offers is the ability to move. Whether that is climbing the rock wall, intramural sports, or taking yoga classes, students need that outlet to be successful as well.” Hopper explains.
Mindfulness is woven through Hoppers personal and professional curriculum whether that be teaching a yoga class or practicing meditation. According to Hopper “mindfulness practices give students tools to feel more in control with themselves.
She adds “so many times, we cannot control what happens around us, how others act, or events like the pandemic – but we can learn tools, like mindfulness and breathing techniques that help us control our response to situations out of our control.”
“So often, we automatically react to situations. If we look back at certain moments, we may wish we could change or have responded differently, and anxiety kicks in. If we can practice taking a few moments to breathe and pause - we tend to be more responsive in situations versus reactive” states Hopper.
When the pandemic took over our lives, a lot of changes needed to be made on the fly to continue offering students resources in campus recreation. One thing Hopper did in her program area of Fitness and Wellness was post yoga, meditation, breathing, and exercise videos on social media pages. Campus recreation also offered live online classes where both students and employees could attend.
“It was one thing during the pandemic that I could control. There was so much unknown, but I knew I could record a yoga or meditation practice and focus on mindfulness and share it with others. It gave me an outlet to reach students at home, in their dorms, or wherever they were” Hopper explained.
In addition, “several students shared with me later that my voice was familiar to them. At a time when there was so much uncertainty, they knew they could attend a live virtual class with me or watch a recording, and there would be no surprises. At a time when so much was going on for so many people on so many levels, yoga, mindfulness, and meditation were a constant and a way to relieve stress” stated Hopper.
“Being mindful is a form of self-care for me” states Hopper. “If I can share that with others so they can practice this too - that is my goal. It is a practice for sure, as I am not perfect and don’t expect others to be either” Hopper explained.
To learn more about Campus Rec and mindfulness visit https://www.mnsu.edu/university-life/campus-recreation/