Some members from Sky during a past Happiness retreat following a guided meditation session. Courtesy of Kaitlin Acton

It’s halfway through the semester and midterm season is here, resulting in stressed-out students across campus.

To help combat this, SKY @ OSU, an Ohio State club dedicated to creating stress-free zones for students, is hosting its Happiness Retreat at the RPAC this weekend.

The retreat will be a three-day event to teach people how to properly breathe, meditate, stretch, focus to clear the mind, uplift overall mood and ultimately relax, which will help improve study habits.

“On campus, stress is something no one is a stranger to,” said Prashant Serai, a fourth-year graduate student in computer science and SKY member. “People try to distract themselves of their stress and this really helps them find the root cause of their stress and overcome it.”

SKY stands for Sudarshan Kriya Yoga, which is a specific meditation breathing technique meant to help individuals bring their mind to a standstill and reach the fully meditative state.

Studies on SKY show that the breathing technique increases levels of deep sleep, decreases stress hormones, increases well-being hormones and has a remission rate in depression within one month of practicing this meditation technique.

“These techniques are pretty powerful and I have been doing them every day for the past two years,” said Kaitlin Acton, president of SKY and a fourth-year double major in Korean and East Asian studies. “For me, it’s like my mental shower. There’s so much that gets accumulated in the mind, moving from one thing to another and we get so attached, so caught up in life’s ups and downs and the techniques help.”

Formerly known as the YesPlus Club, SKY has been on Ohio State’s campus for 10 years. Club meetings are free, open to the public and discuss the importance of meditation and breathing techniques, followed by guided group meditation sessions.

“I was taking medication for depression,” Serai said. “This meditation really helped me see inside myself and find what really inspired me and gave me a drive in life.”

In addition to meditation, the group helps members become better leaders by including discussions on the aspects of leadership and the importance of self-care before assuming a leadership role.

“This is really a fit for everyone and anyone from any department. It has something for everybody,” Acton said. “Not often do we get to let down our walls and our barriers and connect with each other. I find it’s really hard to connect with another person on campus, heart to heart.”

The retreat will be held from 7-10 p.m. Friday and continue on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Acton said people who cannot attend should be on the lookout for two more retreats coming up in the spring semester.

“The community is very welcoming, so no matter what your background is or what you are feeling, no matter what it is that is going on with you, there is a safe space that we create here at the retreat and it’s worth giving it a try,” Serai said.

People can sign up for the retreat by going to skyosu.org/retreat, emailing sky@osu.edu or calling 614-398-1577. The fee for students is $15 and regular admission to the public is $250.