On The Hill is on the lookout for interesting and cool clubs around campus! This week’s feature is Innergy, a relatively new club on campus which was established in Winter 2012. Innergy seeks to enhance daily living by practicing mindfulness, cultivating compassion, and connecting with our inner selves and others around us. We talked with Ryan and Danielle about Innergy and how YOU can get involved! Ryan is an Ethnomusicology major and Danielle is an Environmental Sciences major with a minor in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences; both of them are leaders at Innergy.
On The Hill: What is Innergy and why did it start?
Ryan & Danielle: Innergy is a student group that intends to enhance daily living by practicing mindfulness, cultivating compassion, and connecting with our inner selves and with others around us. We engage in various forms of meditation, discussions and experiential workshops, as well as education and service, in order to free mind, body, and heart. With our collective innergy, we create a comfortable and inspiring space where a community comes together to explore, embrace, and enjoy life’s experiences with infinite curiosity, love, and joy.
Innergy was started in Winter quarter of 2012 by two lovely alumni, Sara Wing and Asya Tabdili-Azar. They met during their freshman year in a course on mindfulness. After the class ended, they were both left wondering how to incorporate what they had learned into their daily lives. Together they searched for an outlet for this passion on campus and began volunteering at MARC (Mindfulness Awareness Research Center) at UCLA. After a particularly inspiring event there, the two decided to “start an inner-getic movement at UCLA.”
OTH: Why healthy, conscious living?
R & D: Why not? If you are alive, why not be healthy and conscious of what is happening to your body and mind?
OTH: What is the name’s significance to the club?
R & D: Originally it was going to be named “Energy,” but because the intent of the community is to cultivate inner peace and inner chi, “Innergy” seemed much more fitting.
OTH: What is the benefit of joining a club like Innergy to those who are students? Does it help with stress and academics?
R & D: We can only speak from personal experience about the benefits of joining. For us, joining has provided us with a sacred, non-judgemental space in which we can appreciate ourselves, appreciate our community, and be appreciated in return. While we do feel that this positive space reduces stress and that one can learn techniques for focus in school, the majority of the experience comes from the shared experience.
OTH: What are some of the speakers/teachers/shaman that you’ve had come hold sessions? I hear you got Rob Dyrdek’s shaman, Harry? Could you tell us about that?
R & D: Where do we start? We are going to list some of our favorites here, which is hard because we love every guest so much! Innergy also functions as a sampler of many different wellness practices and traditions because of the variety of guests that we host. Shaman Harry Paul has hosted two gatherings with Innergy and leads shamanic breathwork with the group, along with inspiring discussion after the session. We could try to explain “shamanic breathwork,” but it is hard to articulate in words the physical and emotional sensations that are felt in this transformative process.
Marvin Belzer, our faculty advisor and the associate director of MARC, has guided us in mindfulness meditations. Nikita Gupta, the Student Health and Wellness Coordinator at the Bruin Resource Center, has led inspiring discussion-based workshops and yoga practices. J.D. Wolfrobe is a multi-instrumentalist sound healer who activates a unique atonement of spirit through live instrumental and vocal sounds. Eva Clay is a licensed psychotherapist and has been teaching stress management and meditation for over 15 years. She is the producer and facilitator of “Sacred Dance Live,” a popular ecstatic dance event in Los Angeles, and has brought the event to Ackerman Union.
OTH: What’s your favorite Hill memory?
Danielle: In my first and second years I lived in De Neve and Saxon, respectively. My favorite dining hall was Hedrick Test-Kitchen. My favorite memory was sometime during my first year, and I was having lunch with a friend in De Neve. I was about to get up for a second helping of food, and had a strong urge to burp. To my surprise, it was one of the loudest burps I had produced to-date. My friend and I started giggling and a dude a few tables away from us actually stood up and started applauding me. Instinctively, I rose from my seat and took a bow. This will definitely go down as one of my proudest memories.
Ryan: I lived in Dykstra before it was remodeled and Gardenia during my first year, and I lived in Rieber Hall as a sophomore. My favorite dining hall is Bruin Plate, or the food formerly experienced at Hedrick Test Kitchen.
R & D: We both agree that, as a freshman, the most important steps are to take is finding an inspiring, open community of friends and following your passions. Remember that there is a balance between schoolwork and fun, and that this balance is not the same for everyone – make time for what is most meaningful to you.
OTH: Why are you guys so awesome? Because really…you are.
R & D: ❤
OTH: What and where is your next meeting?
Our next meeting is this coming Wednesday of week 8, Marvin Belzer will be leading mindfulness meditation in a joint gathering with SIM, another student wellness group. Week 10 will be a massage workshop led by Steve Stone.
OTH: How can someone get involved? Is anyone welcome? How do we reach you: Twitter? Facebook?
R & D: We have weekly gatherings to which everyone is welcome to attend. For these gatherings, we invite a professional guest that can contribute their passion, knowledge, and experience to our community. We publicize all of our events as well as other clubs’, UCLA organizations, and outside events on our weekly newsletter, Facebook, and our website.
Want to learn more about Innergy? Connect with them here:
Interview by Beverly Okhio