As a way to relieve stress, emotional turmoil, or physical disabilities, BYU–Hawaii students offer bi-weekly yoga sessions

Written by: 
Jemesa Snuka


According to BYUH students Addi Ganir and Kristan Tiritilli, stress, tight muscles, and racing minds are some of the small problems students and community members face daily. In order to help, these certified yoga instructors hold bi-weekly yoga sessions allowing people to overcome their daily stresses.

Tiritilli, a junior from California studying exercise and sports science, said, “There are spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional benefits from doing yoga. Spiritually, you begin to understand more about yourself and God. Physically, you gain stronger muscles to have better posture, which can allow room for all organs and the rest of your body to do proper jobs. Emotionally, you are much more capable to let go of built-up emotions and feelings that can no longer serve you.”

Ganir, a junior from Idaho studying art, shared how yoga helped to decrease the strain of the scoliosis she suffered. She said, “It definitely helped me feel stronger and more confident within myself. I think it’s also such a big mental and emotional benefit since it decreases stress and anxiety, increases muscle flexibility, muscle tone, and helps to improve the healthiness of your heart.”

Tiritilli explained people everywhere have mental struggles, emotional turmoil, or physical disabilities. Yoga, for Tiritilli, is much more than a workout, even though many people view it as such. Tiritilli said, “Yoga encompasses every aspect of things we have in life. My favorite thing is to remind myself and other participants not to take yourself too seriously.”

When doing yoga, Tiritilli felt it became a way for her to view herself and others more clearly. It became a better way for her to understand and transcend her own thoughts. Through these ever-evolving experiences and classes, Tiritilli said she became certified to teach yoga a few years later. Since then, she said she has been helping people to improve their lives through yoga.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, yoga dates back to 2700 B.C. and has been practiced by civilizations throughout time. It is a way in which people can relieve themselves of past things and begin within a new mental and emotional state of being.

Ganir said, “I think what I love about yoga is it’s a way of connecting your mind, body and spirit. I also love how a huge part of yoga is about your breath, and without your breath it just becomes a circus. During your practice of yoga, you really get a break from everything, and you get to focus on yourself.”

Both Ganir and Tiritilli said they hope people will know and understand anyone can do yoga, and they do not have to be flexible to be able to participate. According to the instructors, one of the biggest mistakes is thinking people can’t do yoga because it may be too hard, or they cannot participate in the poses.

As instructors and students of yoga themselves, Ganir said, “The best part of being able to help and teach yoga is at the end of every class, the only thing that matters is my students leave feeling better than when they walked through the door. One of the best things is seeing students’ progress and get excited about it.”

Tiritilli added, “Yoga has helped me with some of the hardest mental battles I have ever had. The best thing about it is how much room you have for growth. I really enjoy the feeling of helping someone feel more comfortable in their own body. Yoga is more about how you feel instead of how you look.”

According to Tiritilli, the sessions are by donation, “so people can come and pay what they feel they want to, which may mean nothing at all.” 

For more information on where and when yoga sessions take place, check out Tiritilli and Ganir’s Instagram page @kookilauyoga.


Date Published: 
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Last Edited: 
Wednesday, February 6, 2019