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Go With the Flow

When Desireé Melonas began teaching yoga at Swarthmore, she set an intention: to create a community, emphasis on the om.

“I’d never taught consistently outside of a studio space, so I wondered how that would work,” says the visiting assistant professor of political science, a certified yoga instructor and former studio owner. “And it turned out to be one of the most lovely communities—something special happens here.” 

Every Monday at lunchtime, Melonas leads student, staff, and faculty yogis of all ability levels in a Vinyasa flow series as part of the free SwatFit wellness program. The takeaway from each class—renewed focus and serenity—she hopes, is the same for everyone, herself included.

“Time spent away from our desks doesn’t make us any less as workers,” she says. “The more that we tend to other aspects of being human, the more present and thoughtful and creative and kind and more interesting we become.”

Don’t Stress … Stretch!

Feeling a bit stressed out? Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science Desiree Melonas recommends these three poses for tackling tension.

1. Forward fold

“I do this pose right after I get out of bed,” Melonas says. “It releases tension in your back, so it’s a really nice way to literally decompress.”

With your feet on the ground and your knees soft, fold forward to the extent that you can, bringing your chest close to your thighs.


2. Waterfall

“Inversions are really good for relieving stress, and I usually opt for gentle, restorative inversions, like waterfall pose,” Melonas says. “Your hips are elevated, which shifts bloodflow to allow more oxygenated blood through your body.”

Lying on your back, place a block, pillow, or bolster under your hips, and raise your legs to the ceiling, keeping your arms down and your feet soft.


3. Seated forward fold

“Like standing forward fold, this is a great way to relieve back tension,” Melonas says.

Seated, with your legs straight out, bend forward, allowing yourself to fall wherever you will.