Now more than ever may be the time people need mindfulness. Mindfulness is a way to become fully aware of your emotions, allowing you to recognize how you are feeling (perhaps sad or anxious or stressed) and accept this state that you are in. Mindfulness can be achieved through the practice of meditation.
U of T has been offering an abundance of online meditation classes recently! You can check out Hart House’s Mind Moments (register for summer sessions here), and OISE also offers Mindful Moments (register for a session on CLNX).
I have found that these guided meditations help in handling stress levels, as it serves as a general check in with myself. In times when meditation can help me the most–which is usually during exam season– I often discover that I’ve been putting my emotions on the back burner.
This week I attended a morning Mindful Moments Zoom class. Over the course of an hour we were led through two breathing exercises.
First, we were told to get into a comfortable position. Some people like to lie down to meditate, while others like to sit in a chair (so your back if supported), or sit on the floor. For this session I decided to sit cross-legged on my bed. I originally wanted to sit outside for the exercise but my neighbour was mowing the lawn.
After getting seated, we were led through a 15 minute breathing exercise, where we were meant to take note of where our minds wandered, and like all meditation, once you notice your mind wandering you try to focus back on your breathing. The instructor explained that you either think about the past (what you have yet to let go) or the future (things you are anxious about). I found myself worrying about all the homework I still had to do. Then we shared a little about what was on our minds in the chat panel.
In the second exercise (which I found went by quite quickly but actually took up the rest of the session) we were told to visualize ourselves as a mountain. As a stable and grounded mountain we are able to survive through harsh snowstorms and strong winds, even when the seasons change, we can outlast with our inner, unmoving force.
Note: Throughout the exercise I kept my microphone muted and my camera off.
Somedays I like to meditate on my own, especially when I feel more anxious than usual. This means taking a little break to do a breathing exercise. But because of this I sometimes forget how helpful it is to have an instructor lead you through it, encouraging you, reminding you to pay attention to your breath. At the moment, I think it’s very easy to forget to check in with yourself, which is why I recommend trying Mindful Moments.
“You can’t fail meditation” – Lauren Brown (the instructor for the session I attended).