Employees able to relieve stress through free meditation sessions

Katie Leibel

Staff Writer

Assistant Director of the Violence and Awareness Response Program (VARP), Laura Schultz, and the Program Coordinator of fitness, wellness, and special programs, Carley Hopper are working together to create a ‘Maverick Employee Meditation Session’ over the course of two five-week periods.

Schultz and Hopper had been thinking of starting this program for a while and decided now was the time to help employees at Minnesota State University, Mankato be more mindful through a variety of meditations and relaxation techniques. Students at MNSU have many resources on campus for their mental health, and

Schultz and Hopper’s goal was to make sure the employees knew that they have those same resources.

“As staff and faculty we might not utilize those resources, ourselves,” Schultz said, “but we also have an emotional response to things, too.”

These sessions are helpful to the staff and faculty of MNSU because they help everyone to learn that it is okay, and sometimes necessary, to take some time to oneself and be quiet for an hour to become in tune with one’s mind.

Hopper has been doing different kinds of education in meditation for a few years now. She teaches a meditation class Fridays at 10 a.m. in Pennington Hall for students, and before that she teaches a 9 a.m. yoga class as well. She views it as a great way to start the day and one’s weekend.

Schultz is a bit newer to education in meditation and recalled an eight-week mindfulness-based, stress reduction clinic in St. Peter, Minnesota where she meditated for about 45 minutes every day. She grew to love the clinic around the fifth week of class and found herself wanting to attend another one in the future. She also wanted to help others learn how to meditate and be mindful.

Hopper and Schultz are working to share their favorite mindfulness exercises in a weekly class for the MNSU staff. They believe that having a class every week can provide some structure to the meditation practice. Hopper plans on utilizing some of her yoga experience to teach chair yoga during the classes along with meditation.

There are many benefits to meditation. It improves relationship satisfaction, reduces stress, and can improve memory. It can also lead to more empathy, compassion, and decrease stress and anxiety in many. Schultz and Hopper are encouraging as many people as possible to try this activity, or utilize the apps and videos online available for free.

“Our goal is to de-mystify it,” Schultz said.

Many people have anxiety tied to meditating. Schultz stated that it can be a bit of a barrier for them, which can prevent them from trying. She voiced that meditation is utilized in many religions and is not tied down to just one. The meditation session is not connected to any religion. The people that attend can be from any religion, or no religion, and still come and benefit from the meditation group.

These mediation sessions are Thursdays at noon in CSU 256. The first session started on Feb. 1 and will go until March 1, with the second five-week course starting March 15 and going to April 12. The sessions on Feb. 15 and April 5 will be held in CSU 201.

Employees at MNSU can join the classes at any time. They are welcome to bring any props they wish to bring, but are not required to bring anything. Chairs will be provided. The classes are for employees only.

If any students wish to take up meditation, they may go to Hopper’s Friday Introduction to Meditation classes in Pennington Hall at 10 a.m. from Feb. 2 to March 2 and March 16 to April 13. Both the student and faculty classes are free.

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