Global Health Student Network celebrates World Health Day with sunrise yoga

Students finish their sunrise yoga practice in a seated position while listening to announcements for the following week. Photographer | Camryn Duffy

By Avery Ballmann | Staff Writer

Baylor FitWell and the Global Health Student Network (GHSN) kicked off World Health Day with downward dog and sun salutations. World Health Day is an annual awareness day sponsored by the World Health Organization.

San Antonio junior and annual events director for GHSN Gabriela Cruz-Mattos attended sunrise yoga to help showcase this year’s theme of “Our Planet, Our Health,” which highlights how the environment affects human health.

“I believe that having the ability to come in the morning and do yoga, focus on your health and be in an amazing environment like Baylor’s campus, where we get to really focus on global health and bring global health to Baylor, is an amazing opportunity,” Cruz-Mattos said. “I came to sunrise yoga to focus on our planet and our health and give that to myself and others in the community.”

World Health Day promotes the importance of health and wellness to the community. Yoga instructor and assistant director of wellness for recovery services Lilly Ettinger oversees the Beauchamp Addiction Recovery Center and practices yoga for her mental and physical health.

“I love yoga. I think that yoga is a really important practice, movement is really important for people,” Ettinger said. “Throughout our lifespan there’s different physical activities we can do; yoga is one of those that we can really do from birth to death. So being able to share that outside, in the sun, why wouldn’t I do it?”

Ettinger said she has worked with several students in the graduate and undergraduate public health program and said she was excited to show the campus what it means to live a life of health and wellness.

GHSN is run through the Office of Engaged Learning and has two organizations housed under its name: MedLife and Global Surgery Student Alliance. During World Health Day the groups are presenting Waco case studies on TV monitors across campus and are hosting a suture class at 7 p.m.

Waco freshman Hannah Chu is a member of GHSN, and shared that the network has many presenters, book clubs and other activities for students.

“It’s really educational,” Chu said. “I’ve also met a lot of great people in it and I think it was one of the things I was looking for as a freshman coming to Baylor.”

Global health is multidisciplinary, and it affects everyone. Cruz-Mattos said any student is welcome to join and since this is the first semester of the network, students only need to fill out the application.

“There’s so many topics and so many things that people can be a part of that they’re specifically passionate about,” Cruz-Mattos said. “I think that’s so great to learn about and have the opportunity to learn early and see how you can make a change in global health, because everyone can.”