Posted Thursday, May 3, 2018 @ 7:26 PM
You slowly feel your being ease into physical and mental relaxation with each deep breath, and you become submerged in the endorphins flooding your mind like a wave of contentment. You begin compartmentalizing misfortunes of your past and stresses of the future as you focus all your energy on the present, the ‘now’. As a college student navigating the world and undergoing the overwhelming pressures associated with forming an adult lifestyle, it’s crucial to develop healthy habits. Improving concentration, encouraging a healthy lifestyle, improving cardiovascular and immune health, and increasing happiness, self-awareness and acceptance are just a few points on the long list of meditation benefits.
According to a 2017 study conducted by Pamela L. Wallentiny of 221 Northeastern University college students, 21% of those who meditated had a high level of stress while 33% of those who did not meditate had a high level of stress; meaning there’s a 12% increase in stress level between those who meditate and those who don’t. It is especially important to note that 78% of college students in this study reported either a possible or definite willingness to practice meditation if more information were provided. This is an effort to inform, and encourage students attending classes at UCF to take advantage of these benefits.
UCF’s Wellness and Health Promotion Services (WHPS) has been successfully collaborating with the Recreational Wellness Center (RWC) in offering meditation classes since 2015. As a result, students interested in receiving the benefits of meditation are able to combat stress in a calming and nurturing environment. Offered at the Mind/Body studio at the RWC at Knights Plaza (KP), these meditation classes are offered separate times each week: Guided Meditation on Monday’s at 6 pm and Yoga Nidra on Tuesdays at 9:15 am and Wednesdays at 3:00 pm, students can sign up through the RWC’s group exercise link or they can just show up. Keep in mind however, the RWC at KP will be closed for two weeks until Summer A semester begins.
For those hesitant to attend in fear of not knowing the nuances of meditation, rest assured there is no wrong way to meditate. Led by an instructor, each class is introduced as “beginner” level and students are told to engage in mindfully concentrating their energy. It is common to experience difficulty in keeping your mind focused, but these classes are meant to assist in the conscious practice of concentration and the more classes you attend, the more self-awareness you gain. The group setting is also said to aid in focusing the mind and body. This sanctuary is especially conducive to relaxation and harmony as it has a full wall of windows looking into a lush, wooded area.
The Guided Meditation classes typically begin with deep breathing and then scanning through the body letting go of any muscle tension followed by a meditation exercise planned by the instructor. Yoga Nidra is an ancient meditation practice from India, “Nidra” translating to “sleep” as well as “a changing state of consciousness” through the connection of mind and body. The Yoga Nidra classes focuses closely on exploring the layers of the “self” as well as thoughts and emotions. This meditation practice uses aerial hammocks to aid the body in feeling relaxed and comfortable, however yoga marts are also available for stationary practice. The ten hammocks are available on a first-come first-served basis so it is highly recommended to sign up for this class beforehand in order to increase your chances of reserving one.
Reaping the benefits of meditation is likely to cause a ripple effect in all aspects of your life. You won’t know till you go! Learn to let go, transform your perception of self and gain control of your environment as you work to overcome obstacles and challenges in your life. Breathe in, Breathe out.