Students & Spirituality's purpose is to show how Cal Poly students define spirituality, as well as how they incorporate it into their daily lives. This can manifest in many ways, such as through doing yoga, mindfully meditating, spending time in nature and other ways.

See how spirituality is defined

2/4/18 | Cerro Vista Apartments, Cal Poly | Gabriel Sitapati, first-year bioresource and agricultural engineering (BRAE) major, says that, to him, spirituality means “recognizing the importance of enjoying every day and being good to other people... it’s just one interpretation of being a good person.” 2/4/18 | Cerro Vista Apartments, Cal Poly | Sitapati, shown in a basic yoga pose, embraces the concept of “mindfulness” through actions such as doing yoga, going on backpacking trips, climbing trees and meditating. He says, “I practice mindfulness by always trying to be observant and aware of my surroundings, and I try to think about the moment and just enjoy what’s going on – instead of worrying about things in the past or future.” 2/4/18 | Cerro Vista Apartments, Cal Poly | “I don’t think it’s a single point or a single decision, it’s just, you know, everyone has a path in life that they go through, and I think everyone slowly develops and becomes more mature. It’s just a slow path for everyone, it’s gradual... I’m sure I have more to learn and more to go” – Sitapati 2/4/18 | Cerro Vista Apartments, Cal Poly | Sitapati does a headstand, one of his favorite yoga positions. He likes yoga because his “body feels both relaxed and engaged, which helps put [his] mind at ease.” 2/4/18 | Cerro Vista Apartments, Cal Poly | Sitapati enjoys climbing trees in his spare time. Here, he has just found a tree he likes, and he jumps for the initial boost up. 2/4/18 | Cerro Vista Apartments, Cal Poly | Sitapati then grabs ahold of the trunk, lifting himself up off the ground. 2/4/18 | Cerro Vista Apartments, Cal Poly | Once he’s high enough, Sitapati uses the branches for additional support. 2/4/18 | Cerro Vista Apartments, Cal Poly | Sitapati rests to take in the moment before deciding to climb further. 2/4/18 | Cerro Vista Apartments, Cal Poly | “I think it’s the ultimate [form of escapism] – forgetting all of the external worries and all the external complications... it’s really just the bare bones of existence and just enjoying your friends that are with you and enjoying everything around you,” Sitapati says, on spending time in nature. 2/4/18 | Cerro Vista Apartments, Cal Poly | Sitapati lands after coming back down the tree. He encourages other students to “take a few minutes every day to just be by [themselves] without [their] phone[s], and just think about whatever [they] want to think about, or go for a walk by [themselves], or just do some kind of small hobby or task that [they] enjoy... monotony easily kills excitement.” 2/5/18 | Near Dexter Lawn, Cal Poly | Jim Heald, third-year computer science major, also enjoys backpacking trips and spending time in nature as a way to embrace mindfulness and enjoy the people around you. Heald says, “Being out in nature by myself, or just with others, kind of more one-on-one, is that there’s not a lot of distractions around, so it really gives you time to focus on yourself and kind of be in tune with yourself, and that’s where I found really good connections with others.” 2/5/18 | Faculty Offices North, Cal Poly | Professor Stephen Lloyd-Moffett teaches religious studies at Cal Poly. He says that while the term “spirituality” has historically been more about “faithful practices of individuals within tradition” and is meant to be linked to religion, people have started trying to separate from that association due to what they see as negative aspects of the label of “religion”. He calls it a “false distinction”, since his definition of religion is “just an orientation toward something greater”. Regardless of whether spiritual people identify as religious or not, he says mindfulness, and any meditations that go with it, stems from Buddhist meditation, and that people have simply taken it “out of the context of a religion.” Most people have differing definitions for what spirituality and mindfulness mean to them, but these things do come historically from a religious background.

Listen to why students meditate

Listen to fifth year environmental engineering student Jerry Cortes, fourth year computer science student Natalie Wagner, and fourth year anthropology and geography student Troy Phounsavath talk about why they choose to meditate.

Simply click on a smiling face to hear their story.

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Watch this video on yoga & friendship

First year students Regina Ranieri and Jewell Milesi explain what "spirituality" means to them, and they perform their daily yoga routine. The two met through a mutual class and a mutual friend, and say they have been "inseparable" ever since bonding.

Learn about some benefits of mindfulness

Find out how mindfulness can benefit college students: