This morning, Tuesday March 21, a small group of students from various year groups and backgrounds came together in the Global Room for a Mindfulness Morning event as part of Mental Health Week. Participants were welcomed with a mug of green tea provided by the event hosts, and once everyone had settled on the yoga mats and chairs provided, the event kicked off.
Czara Casey of DU Meditation opened proceedings by asking everyone in the room to share their name and course, and to talk about their previous experience with meditation/mindfulness. Initially awkward, this exercise soon became helpful in prompting discussion on pre-conceived ideas of meditation, as well as helping everyone to get to know one another. There was a surprising range of ages in the room, with students from first year to post-grad level taking part. Interestingly, many in the room had the same experiences with meditation. Some spoke of the cringe-worthy meditation workshops they had attended in Transition Year of secondary school, and others discussed how they had attempted to meditate before but they had “never fully gotten into it”.
Following this, Logan Arnold of DU Meditation and S2S introduced us to the mindfulness exercise we would be doing as a group and what to expect from it. He revealed that meditation is something used to “give the mind a break”, but that it is almost impossible to empty your head and “think about nothing” – rather, by focusing on one particular aspect of your body, such as your breathing, you can relax your thoughts and in turn your entire body. Following further helpful explanations, a 20-minute long voice-led mindfulness breathing exercise was completed. Lead by a voice-over on speakers, the group were invited to perform typical exercises such as closing your eyes, focusing on and counting your breaths, becoming aware of the weight of your body, and so on.
Although initially rather sceptical, I found the exercise thoroughly beneficial. Coming out of the mediation and “back into the real world” I felt relaxed and much more at ease with myself. Logan pointed out to the group that meditation doesn’t involve huge commitment and taking short time periods to perform such exercises throughout the week can provide huge benefits for your mental well-being. Entering the room that morning I would never have expected to find what is seen as such a “naff” or “cheesy” exercise beneficial, but having enjoyed the experience and felt its positive effects first-hand, I would now see it as something I will certainly try to return to.
For those interested in taking part, DU Meditation meet every Tuesday at 7pm in Room 50, The Atrium.