Meditation is nothing new to the University of Idaho.
As the school year progresses, so do Mindful Meditation sessions.
Mindful Meditation is a 20-minute session run by Jamie Derrick, a University of California Los Angeles trained mindfulness instructor and clinical faculty member at UI. Sessions are free to students and faculty and take place Wednesdays from noon to 12:20 p.m. in TLC 46.
The purpose of the session is to create an open and friendly space for people to come and practice meditation, Derrick said.
Attendees sit in silence as Derrick narrates the session. Over the course of 20 minutes, participants are instructed to monitor their breathing and remain conscience of each individual breath. In addition to this, they are instructed to stay in touch with every part of their body.
Derrick said regular meditation can provide health benefits. She said participants may see improved relationships, immune systems, cardiovascular and mental health benefits.
“The research shows that fine-tuning awareness through mindfulness helps with any performance activity,” Derrick said. “Academic or athletic or business oriented, it doesn’t matter. If you have your focus more attuned, you perform better.”
Derrick said meditation can be beneficial to everyone, as it helps people learn to encounter their mind while also living in the moment. She said learning to slow down thoughts helps students reduce symptoms they might experience from excessive worrying.
Although long-term results might take up to one month to notice, some short-term benefits are visible to attendees. These benefits include a sense of overall calmness and awareness, Derrick said.
She said participants are likely to experience all of these benefits with regular meditation.
However, if a participant finds it hard to practice alone, or is curious as to how to get started, Derrick recommends practicing meditation with a group, much like in the Mindful Meditation sessions.
“Like building a muscle at the gym you have to do repeated reps,” Derrick said. “It’s kind of the same thing.”
The class consists of both students and faculty.
Omni Francetich, administrative coordinator in the department of politics and philosophy said she attends Mindful Meditation to help further her practice.
Francetich has been attending Derrick’s sessions since she first heard about it and was one of Derrick’s students when Francetich attended the university. Francetich said she has seen a significant reduction in health problems following regular meditation.
Kyle Peterson, a fifth-year psychology student, said he noticed personal benefits following his meditation practice. He said being present in the moment has reduced his worry and stress.
Derrick has online resources for students that are unable to make the sessions. Students unable to attend can access resources such as articles and recorded meditation sessions. Derrick said in order to stay updated, students should like their UIMind Facebook page for information regarding meditation times and new resources.
Derrick also offers a Mindful Meditation class during spring semester.
Kali Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org