By Cole Allen, May 3, 2022
As the semester is ending, and schedules are being filled with projects or final exams, ASI is running the “Mindful Broncos” series every Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m. at the BRIC in Studio A to help students take an hour out of their day every week to focus on the present.
This semester is the first time “Mindful Broncos” is in person and is a chance for students to find relaxation in a busy school life.
Mindfulness is the ability to focus and concentrate on one’s body and innermost thoughts, along with being aware of the feelings and sensations happening in the given moments. In the act of mindfulness, a person stays present, focused on everything their body is feeling and, as a result, creates internal peace within.
“Mindfulness to me is the ability to be present with yourself, with your environment and with the people around you,” said Rachel Webb, instructor of “Mindful Broncos.” “Not distracted by what has already happened or caught up trying to plan what might happen, but really experiencing what is happening in the here and now.” The class is taught by Webb, ASI’s group fitness instructor and yoga teacher, and Arthur Ritmeester, psychologist of Counseling and Psychologist Services. The two merge their respective expertise to create this introspective and relaxing experience.
“I think mindfulness techniques are very important, especially for students, because we have so much on our plates it can feel overwhelming,” said Webb. “There’s also a lot of uncertainty involved with being in college. Mindfulness can help students find peace with that uncertainty and not get caught up in worrying about how the semester will end or life after college.”
The goal for the class is to be fully aware of oneself in a given environment. Activities and exercises are run during the course to help actualize these ideas and understand mindfulness, helping to put the action into practice.
Mindfulness is the crossover of mental health and physical well-being. An exercise taught to students during the class was closing their eyes while in a comfortable position, either laying down or seated upright. In this state, the students were told to focus on their body, feel every sensation, every breeze of air that hits them from the fans above and what each part of their body from the feet up was feeling.
Participants in the class said this exercise helped them find relaxation and peace within themselves hyper focused on individual parts of the body. This helps to take people out from stress outside forces cause.
“I think it’s the intention to be present,” said Ritmeester. “We are bombarded by messages all the time, especially now with social media. We are pelted with ‘should’s,’ what our experience ‘should’ be, how we ‘should’ feel, how we ‘should’ look, all these things that maybe we aren’t. All these things that aren’t the present and how we need to change what we are or what we do to be something else, and I think we create a lot of suffering from that, from not meeting those expectations. Mindfulness being more accessible to students I think provides protection from those messages, so you’re not feeling inadequate.”
Instructors urged that mindfulness can be implemented in any activity or action going throughout the day. Students need to stay grounded within the present.
“It’s nice; it’s been helpful in relieving stress and taking time for myself,” said Andy Fisher-Shin, a mechanical engineering student. “I try to take some of the practices into my thoughts outside and be mindful elsewhere.”
For students interested in learning mindfulness, the course will be held for the remainder of the semester, along with some on demand videos through the ASI app.
Feature image by Cole Allen
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