Converse professors are known for helping their students to stretch their minds, but Dr. Janet LeFrancois, associate professor of psychology and certified Iyengar yoga instructor, is passionate about helping students learn to stretch their bodies as well. Dr. LeFrancois has been teaching yoga at Converse for years in her classes Beginning Yoga, Yoga and Stress Management, Women’s Wellbeing and Yoga, and What is Yoga.
Between classes, extracurricular activities, and internships, college life can be stressful. Dr. LeFrancois presents yoga to her students as a way of managing that stress. “If the body is balanced and aligned, the mind will follow suit. Stress is stored in the muscles, so the more you can extend the muscles, the more they will relax and the more stress will be reduced,” said Dr. LeFrancois, “Students tell me yoga helps them relax and become more body-aware.”
“Yoga has been an incredible gift to me and I’m so grateful to Dr. LeFrancois for teaching that class in her uniquely gentle and accepting way.”
Yoga is as conducive to a student’s mental and spiritual wellbeing as it is to her physical wellbeing. Dr. LeFrancois cites numerous physical benefits that the practice of yoga provides, “I’m sick less frequently, I am calmer, and I am stronger. It is a discipline that satisfies my need for physical activity, and its psychological and spiritual effects are intriguing to me.”
In Dr. LeFrancois’s yoga classes, students are strengthened from the inside out. For many, yoga becomes something they carry with them long after the semester’s end. Alumna Gillian Gurish is particularly grateful for her experience in Dr. LeFrancois’s class. “Dr. LeFrancois who, besides being one of the kindest human beings I’ve met, taught the freshman honors seminar on the philosophy of yoga, which was a truly life-altering experience. Yoga has been an incredible gift to me and I’m so grateful to Dr. LeFrancois for teaching that class in her uniquely gentle and accepting way,” Gurish said.