With the world changing right before our eyes, attending college can be stressful for any average student. However, the former SKY@UC president, Vibhor Pandhare, has found joy and peace even during the global outbreak of COVID-19.
“SKY is an organization which facilitates breathwork and meditation for calmer minds,” Pandhare said. “We get so much stress. So, how to get rid of that stress and how to be happy is the basic USB for SKY.”
Pandhare is an international student from India. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology and is currently obtaining his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering.
When the organization launched a few years ago, Pandhare was there to witness SKY@UC blossom relatively quickly from the beginning and help the program grow.
According to Campus Link, SKY@UC is a student club open to all students, staff and faculty where they focus on mental wellness by practicing a special breathing technique called SKY, short for Sudarshan Kriya.
Although SKY is relatively new to UC, Pandhare practiced SKY meditation even when he was working on his undergraduate degree in India. When Pandhare attended college back home in India, he felt like the competitive energy of college was on a never-ending loop. This caused him to have unwanted stress and tension.
He didn’t know how to manage all of the troubles that one might encounter when pursuing higher education. However, during that season of his life, he joined the SKY Happiness Retreat in India.
“That changed my whole perspective, and it gave me so much power,” he said. “It gives me such proficient tools to manage my mind [and] manage my emotions.”
As a result of pursuing SKY meditation, Pandhare changed his outcome in life from almost failing his first semester of college to now pursuing his Ph.D. in America.
Due to his life-changing experience, he is involved with SKY at UC and many campuses across the country, including Stanford, Michigan Institute of Technology and The Ohio State University.
“As a whole, I just love the community,” Pandhare said. “It’s such a positive and uplifting community with a sense of purpose and service.”
The current president of SKY@UC, Ashwin Kumat, mechanical engineering graduate student from India, agrees. Kumat’s first experience with SKY@UC occurred during a meditation workshop in the fall semester of 2018.
“My experience was so good that I naturally wanted to get involved with the club and started by volunteering and helping in different activities,” Kumat said. Since then, he’s enjoyed every minute of being a part of the SKY community.
“My favorite part is the belongingness,” he said. “We are all together as a strong community of like-minded people who like to meditate, be together and support each other in everything.”
According to Kumat, despite having meditation sessions online due to COVID-19, the organization has been able to succeed not only in its attendance but also in its mission.
Currently, SKY@UC is having its Happiness Festival, where students can relax while participating in various activities. Within the Happiness Festival, SKY is also hosting a Happiness Retreat from Feb. 5-7.