Yoga and Meditation on Campus

The best low- to no-cost yoga and meditation classes before finals hit.


Meditation room at GCASL 486. MindfulNYU offers quiet, seated, upright meditation to students during weekdays. (Via NYU)

Divya Nelakonda, Staff Writer

With midterm season finally coming to an end, many NYU students cannot wait to turn in their last exam or paper. It’s no secret that college can be incredibly stressful. Luckily, if you’re looking for a way to ground yourself and practice mindfulness in the latter half of the semester, you can do so right on campus with free or low-cost yoga and meditation classes. 

Yoga at GCASL
Cost: Free 

The Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life offers yoga classes Monday through Saturday every week, with plenty of courses to choose from based on your schedule and yoga experience. There is a 9:30 a.m. class daily from Monday to Friday if you like to start your day with some movement, and an evening class every weekday as well if you prefer to unwind on the mat after a long day. Most classes welcome participants of all skill levels, and some are even specific to communities of color and LGBTQ students. Classes are drop-in, but can fill up quickly, so it’s best to show up early to secure a spot. GCASL provides mats, yoga blocks and blankets, though students are welcome to bring their own as well. The beautiful view of Washington Square Park through the floor-to-ceiling windows as you work through the exercises doesn’t hurt either.

Meditation at GCASL
Cost: Free

GCASL also offers meditation classes Monday through Thursday, mostly in the evening. Like the yoga classes, meditation classes are open to all levels, with some catering to students of color and LGBTQ students. Relatively small turnouts give the class an intimate vibe, although it can vary depending on the day and time. GCASL provides cushions and chairs for students to use during the class. Some sessions focus simply on sitting meditation with a focus on breath; others involve more movement, such as stretching, walking or discussion and community building. If the classes don’t fit with your schedule, fret not — GCASL has a meditation space in room 486 that students are welcome to use during GCASL’s office hours.

Yoga at 404 Fitness
Cost: $40 for a quarter-year of weekly classes

404 offers a variety of recreational classes, including several different yoga classes: Gentle Yoga and Meditation, Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Mindful Movement through Yoga. Class sizes tend not to exceed 10 students, which allows for more individual attention from the teacher — helpful if your focus is on improving form. The classes at 404 generally have a more varied attendance, with NYU undergraduate and graduate students learning alongside adults and seniors. 404 also provides mats and blocks, though some students opt to bring their own. Classes generally begin with breathing exercises, but lead into more vigorous stretching and movement, depending on the style of yoga.  

If you find yourself stressed or overwhelmed by the school or city, make some time in your schedule for your body and mind. Put down your pen, roll out your yoga mat and breathe: the semester is halfway over.

A version of this article appears in the Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 print edition. Email Divya Nelakonda at [email protected]