By C. Aileen Blaine
If the chaos of juggling school, work, relationships and other responsibilities is too much, students have the opportunity to decompress their stress with “Meditation Nights,” hosted by Youngstown State University. Hosted online, the classes will provide students with a chance to explore calming exercises from the comforts of home.
According to an article written by Mayo Clinic staff, titled “Meditation: A Simple, Fast Way to Reduce Stress,” meditation is an excellent way to improve one’s well-being emotionally and physically. Research suggests meditation can help with managing the symptoms of conditions like anxiety, depression, asthma and sleep disorders. The stress-relieving properties of meditation have emotional benefits like reducing negative thoughts and increased patience and tolerance.
The Resident Housing Association, Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center and meditation instructor Carol Huncik joined forces to provide students with a stress-relieving activity to practice from home.
Huncik said she is excited to help students build a more positive and peaceful mindset through meditation.
“I’m hoping that [participants] feel like it’s a community, too — that they feel like, ‘Oh, look! I’m meeting new people, I’m seeing other people, we’re doing this together.’ Especially with COVID-19,” Huncik said.
At the age of 18, she began practicing meditation as a way to deal with stress. She said she hopes more students realize the benefits mediation can provide.
“Just try it,” Huncik said. “If they’ve always wanted to or think that it might help them, just try it. And it’s actually not scary, it’s going to be fun.”
Each hour-long class will consist of three parts, starting with a grounding meditation. Huncik will then demonstrate breathwork exercises before moving on to the final and longest section of the class. However, Huncik said participants are free to lay down, sit up or even leave at any time. She said she practices a “potpourri,” or a variety, of meditation techniques, and she’ll teach these in the classes. She plans to do different exercises in each session.
“I try to make jokes and be more fun, so it’s not real serious,” Huncik said.
Clay Miller, integrated math education junior and president of the RHA, is the man behind creating and organizing the meditation nights. The idea came after he attended one of Huncik’s meditation classes earlier in the year.
“I reached out and asked [Huncik] if she’d be willing to do [a class], and it started as one, and it’s blossomed into potential,” Miller said.
After applying for a grant, he was able to procure funding for the classes through the CARES Act by the YSU Mental Health Advisory.
All YSU students and faculty members are encouraged to attend. Miller will act as a moderator for the sessions while Huncik teaches the classes. Miller said he encourages those uncertain about attending to give it a try.
“It’s kind of a challenge-by-choice. Do it if you want, or if you want, just observe,” Miller said. “It should be relaxing, no matter what.”
The meditation classes start at 6:00 p.m. Mondays the following dates:
- Feb. 15
- March 1, 15, 29
- April 12, 26
- May 3
To register, look for “Meditation Mondays” posters with a QR code around campus.