UW Recreation: Virtual guided meditation
Even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day, students looking for temporary relief from the stresses of daily student life can connect with the Guided Self-Compassion meditation session.
Among the COVID pandemic and another remote academic quarter coupled with ongoing political and economic strife, the UW Recreation’s virtual guided self-compassion meditation session offered many of the UW Tacoma students a much needed mental breather. Students wishing to learn to control their anxiety may consider sitting in on a session out to try it out.
On April 2, around 25 students zoomed-in to guide each other toward self-compassion and a zen state of mind. In this group meditation session, participants would follow the instructions of the zoomed-in guru.
The zoom sessions are typically centered around breath control and the teaching of new yoga techniques. If one properly follows the guidelines, they may accumulate feelings of self compassion and release tension from the mind and body.
Mindfulness Manager Danny Arguetty gave the scoop on what usually goes on during the meetings. He then explained the purpose of the group meditation sessions is to help students increase their attention span and feel better about themselves as well as their mental states.
Although the zoom sessions have been locked down due to COVID, the UW Recreation’s guided meditation sessions still offer a virtual room to guide participants along to increased attention and tranquility.
“The mission is to provide a space for students to move their bodies briefly and then spend some time to focus on techniques to cultivate more attention,” Arguetty said. “Students move their bodies to warm up, then they sit and explore two different techniques for meditation about 10 minutes each.”
In trying to help participants increase their attention span, the sessions typically consist of the guru guiding the students to control their breathing, bodies and their inner thoughts.
During this past week’s session, one of the first things participants were asked to do was to keep their body completely still and bring awareness to their breathing.
The process first began with standard meditative practices. The participants were directed towards controlling their breathing and being more aware of their bodily functions, such as fidgeting. The guru then shifted the group to their thoughts, telling them to focus and calm down whatever thoughts invaded their headspace.
Then, the guided meditation slowly transitioned from a focus on the body to a focus on the mind, more specifically, strengthening the mindset by co-existing with thoughts participants would label as good or bad. They were also directed to the details of how one should exactly take a breath and the ideal length to hold it, which supposedly helps relieve the body of stress.
Upon explaining the need for the program, Arguetty shared a bit of history regarding the origins of the program. According to Arguetty, this mindfulness program was initially a grain in the sand among many other similar programs; many of which shared the mission of helping students improve their mental health.
However, when ideas started rolling around to help them run more efficiently, the programs were then reeled in and for the most part centralized by a single entity: the UW Recreation.
“Our mindfulness programs were started way back by students but were taken over by recreation to manage them a bit more effectively,” Arguetty said. “The recognition was that students needed more support for their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.”
The guided meditation isn’t the only way students can get their spiritual fix. They may also take classes about yoga and mindfulness. Some are 15 minutes long, others are 30 minutes, and some go up to an hour.
They will also introduce in-person classes that allow up to five participants, and full classes are projected to begin in the fall quarter.
You can join UW Recreation every Monday and Friday morning at 10 a.m. for a 10 minute guided meditation via Zoom to focus on self-compassion and mindfulness. The series is free to all students and will continue each week virtually throughout the quarter until June 18.
Anyone who feels they missed out can check out the recordings at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvBfB3l6jGmxvRi_u61mrXQ/playlists