Meditation workshops available at Durham College

Heather Bickle, Durham College's health promotion coordinator, discusses how meditation can be beneficial for students. Photo credit: Victoria Marcelle

Durham College (DC) wants students to start each week with a mental re-start so they enter the classroom fresh.

The school is offering meditation workshops to assist students to enhanced focus in class.

Heather Bickle, DC’s health promotion coordinator, says the workshops are called Mindful Mondays.

“One thing we recognized was a lot students were new to the mindfulness practice, in particular meditation, and there was a lot of misunderstanding to what meditation was,” says Bickle. “[What makes] mindfulness and meditation [interesting] is essentially it is attention-focused training.”

The sessions are scheduled for Mondays. So far, attendance has not been strong, but Bickle is hoping it will grow.

Bickle says the one student who attended the first session found it to be very helpful and enjoyed taking a pause to practice, adding increasing engagement is something they are looking into.

“We decided Monday mornings are a good way to start your week, and put you in a really good headspace, entering the week for academics,” says Bickle. “By starting your week learning how to bring attention to your thoughts, breath or a feeling, [this encourages] learning the practice of how to shift your attention. [This] can be really helpful for students.”

The workshops will be held in the Solace Centre Oshawa campus in the Gordon Willey Building, room C111 and are available to all DC students. However, there will be no Oct. 8 workshop because of Thanksgiving. The workshops will start at 9:30 a.m. and end at 10 a.m.

The workshops will be guided by wellness coaches from the Solace Centre. The coaches have a variety of learning backgrounds, in secular and Buddhist teachings.

According to a DC press release, meditation involves thoughtless awareness; where techniques to calm a busy mind are practised and will encourage students to have a more aware life outlook. Mindfulness promotes an awareness of the mind-body connection and helps individuals cope with negative thoughts that are provoked by stress.

Students will learn how a daily meditation routine can be an effective stress reliever while in school, the release adds. Mindful deep breathing, visualizations and deliberate reflection will be some of the skills incorporated in the workshop. Students will learn how breathing methods can balance emotions.

“In the future, we hope to be inviting some community partners in to be teaching meditation and mindfulness. This might be different yoga teachers in the area and individuals that practice mindfulness. It is nice to hear different perspectives and see different angles [on meditation] from others.”