Meditation on campus: A different way to relieve stress
Credit: JEN DOEDE
Students may have the opportunity to learn about and practice meditation at a new meditation workshop at the Student Wellness Centre. The workshop was created by Fanshawe professor, Daniel Woodward (pictured above)
Daniel Woodward, the instructor for the new meditation workshop and ongoing yoga workshop at the Student Wellness Centre, works part-time as a teacher for the Lawrence Kinlin School of Business.
“The student meditation workshop is an opportunity for students to explore, practice and understand what meditation is,” Woodward said. Also, during their time at the workshop, Woodward said that students can strengthen their ability to cope (with stress) in a modern day environment.
Additionally, a PowerPoint presentation that Woodward previously shared with faculty regarding meditation, stated that meditation can greatly benefit a student’s sleep, time management, athletic performance, immune system, and many other factors.
Woodward explained that the method he uses to teach meditation differs from traditional techniques. “It’s been steeped in history […] that meditation is this space where you completely empty the mind. In order to do that, you would need to sit completely still and [your surroundings] need to be absolutely quiet.” However, Woodward claims that there are other effective types of meditation out there. One example revolves around embracing what we already possess. “I encourage people to realize that meditation can involve moving, walking and dancing.”
In the workshop, students will be practicing different styles of meditation in order to discover which one fits them best.
“Meditation teaches our mind to become the observer of the thinking mind so that we are no longer reacting to the thoughts that we have, but we are choosing to respond accordingly and what is in our best interest,” Woodward said.
Woodward explained that he also applies his meditation teachings to the classroom. Oftentimes, Woodward starts off his business classes with a brief meditation session to help students reduce their stress levels and focus. Some students have expressed to Woodward that the mindfulness meditation exercises were the most important thing they learned in his class.
There is also a meditation class for teachers and staff at the Student Wellness Centre called Mindfulness Meditation. Woodward explained that both the student and teacher/staff meditation classes are very similar. “There are a number of teachers and staff that have expressed interest in understanding meditation. This is because they, like anyone else, experience a lot of stress not only in their work, but in their life.”
Karen Nixon-Carroll, fitness and wellness program manager of the Student Wellness Centre, explained that numerous visitors have been inquiring about meditation and mindfullness programs since the Centre opened to the public.
“We are noticing a lot more students and staff are taking advantage of the studio [on the third floor of the Student Wellness Centre] to go and meditate and be in a quiet space,” Nixon-Carroll said.
“Meditation literally rewires your brain. Neuroplasticity, which is a relatively new science, has discovered that our brain is capable of re-shaping physically and re-wiring itself. Meditation teaches our mind a different way of thinking,” Woodward said.