By Justin Seward
A Day of Mindfulness made its second stop in Redcliff at Margaret Wooding School on May 6. Eight participants got to experience six hours in silence practicing primary methods of mindfulness meditation to balance energy and calmness. The session included several meditation strategies through sitting, laying down, walking and eating. “It’s very gentle yoga,” said Ingrid Hess, meditation instructor for the day . “You get very connected to your internal experience by practicing in silence. It’s kind of unusual in our daily lives, now we’re so focused on other people, our (electronic) devices and all the distractions around us that we sometimes don’t know what’s going on in our own bodies and the effects distractions have on us.”
Mindfulness is a part of a Buddhist tradition and now a secular activity that has 2,600 years of effective teaching behind it and people who routinely practice meditation tend to be calmer and more grounded.
“The benefits are generally that your central nervous system is calmed and you have a greater capacity to focus and to avoid reactions,” said Hess. “ You have greater control over your emotions. Typically because you can see what’s happening in certain circumstances, you have the sense of what’s going on in your body. So you can take a moment and a breath before reacting, that’s a real good skill that you learn through mindfulness practice.” Hess added the goal is for people to come in and be curious to explore and experience what the instructors are teaching and guiding them with.
Cathy Brotzell, a mental health therapist for Medicine Hat Family Services, said by the end of the day she noticed a difference in the people because they feel more centered and a lot calmer. “I think it’s a good reminder of overall health and wellness,” said Brotzell. “The six hours might not totally replenish them but what it does is give them that opportunity to say ‘OK I need to take more time for me,’ because we have a lot of health issues in our culture as a result of that.”