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Just say Yes!+

by Archives September 22, 2009

With deadlines, commitments, and uncertainties about the future, many students find that university life can be less than comforting. With the pressures of managing work, extra-curricular activities and a personal life the stress can pile on. Sure, we can buy fancy organizers, and drink mounds of espresso in order to skillfully juggle all our commitments, but there are several downsides to this approach. First off, the work is never-ending. No matter how deftly we schedule our activities, there is never enough time. Plans change, things come up and relationships are unpredictable. Second, instead of being readily available in four gallon buckets, espresso is only sold in miniature cups.
But how do you minimize stress and manage time more effectively? For one, you could get off Facebook (or at least cut back a little), go to class, exercise, do yoga, and maintain a balanced diet. Another thing that comes to mind is YES!+ (Youth Empowerment Seminar), a program internationally renowned for helping students and young professionals deal with the demands of daily life.
YES!+ is an empowerment training program for people between the ages of 18-24. Its aim is to teach individuals how to build their self-esteem and develop leadership and creativity skills. This in turn will help them gain control over their lives, helping to eliminate stress, enhance mental concentration, improve time-management skills and enable them to cultivate better quality relationships. It’s a rigorous program comprised of 26 hours (spread out over six days) of intense physical, mental, social and emotional individual and group activities. It’s offered by the Art of Living Foundation, which is the world’s largest NGO, present in over 150 countries and at Concordia
Elsa Lau, a fourth year student in psychology, found out about the YES!+ course through the Art of Living Club at Concordia.
“Soon after stepping foot on campus in 2006, I took the YES!+ course, and my life has continued to evolve ever since, ” said Lau. “I wanted to learn more about health, relationships, and spirituality. Art of Living has a beautiful way of bringing people from diverse backgrounds together to learn and take on challenges that tap into higher potentials.”
When asked about the benefits of the course, Lau said YES!+ made her re-evaluate her priorities.
“Deep discussions and the sharing of wisdom strengthened my sense of connection to people all around me. As cliché as it sounds, we truly are a one world family. It just takes opening our eyes to see it,” said Lau.

Spencer Delisle was a pharmaceutical consultant but chose to leave his career behind to teach YES!+ workshops full-time. Recently back from a three month teaching position in Lyon, he wants to raise awareness of the benefits of the program for students and young professionals.
Q: How did you find out about the YES!+ course?
A: I was walking down the street, minding my own business and poof, this white van pulls up behind me. Before I knew it, I’m on my way to Vegas. [Laughs.] Not quite. I had a friend who had taken the course. She was the epitome of happiness and bubbling enthusiasm. She would not stop encouraging me to get on the program, so just to get her off my back I took the program. After six days my life stayed the same but the level at which I lived took a quantum leap. My grades went up, I took on more academic and volunteering responsibilities, and my relationship with my girlfriend and parents improved dramatically. I couldn’t get the smile to leave my face.
Q: What can a participant hope to gain from attending YES!+?
A: Nothing. But they can lose all their stresses, doubts, negativity, low self-esteem and bad habits so that their natural qualities can surface and transform their lives. Have you ever eaten vanilla ice cream on a scorching hot summer day? Can you describe that experience? It is cool, milky, and sugary. Does this describe vanilla ice cream completely? Of course not. The only way to fully know is to walk down to Meu-Meu (the St-Denis St. ice cream parlour) and buy a double scoop. As such, come and experience YES!+ for yourself to really know. I will give you one word of caution. It is an extremely challenging program, and not everyone is able to complete it. The question is: are you ready for a real challenge?
Q: What compelled you to become a YES!+ teacher?
A: Being a YES!+ teacher was never part of the plan. I was very happy to be personally benefiting from the program and its powerful techniques, but then I realized I wanted others to experience what I had. A stress-free mind and a sorrow-free soul are the birthrights of every person. This is when I decided to take the responsibility of teaching YES!+.
Q: What benefits do you derive from teaching?
A: “Seeing the transformations in my students. To see people leave all the mental garbage they have been collecting over the years behind and emerge from YES!+ fresh and new is an incredible gift. To see someone cultivate that strength within themselves is the greatest benefit.”

The next YES!+ workshop is being offered on Sept. 29. The cost for the 26 hour program plus an additional four hours of follow-up is $300. The Art of Living Club is located at 2150 Bishop St. room 130.

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