The Vermont Connection


Since the 1970s, yoga has exploded in popularity in the United States. Its practice has become a widespread exercise craze, a popular tool for self-care, and a billion-dollar industry. Studies illustrating yoga’s positive effects on physical and mental health are plentiful. Recently, research has also positioned yoga as an effective tool to combat compassion fatigue. De ned by the Figley Institute (2012) as “the emotional and physical exhaustion that can affect helping professionals and caregivers over time” (p. 4), compassion fatigue is a common risk for individuals in helping, advocacy, and broader social justice roles. While yoga interventions are growing among other helping professions including nursing, counseling, and teaching, few studies have explored the implications of yoga as self-care for higher education and student affairs professionals engaged in social justice work on the 21st century college campus. This paper will begin with a glimpse into the author’s personal yoga narrative, followed by an overview of the factors that show why now is a critical time to bring more yoga to campus.