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WVU offers two spring meditation courses designed to enhance wellbeing

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Want to start out 2017 with a fresh mindset? Sign up for West Virginia University’s new meditation courses offered by Continuing and Professional Education. These classes will give you the tools you need to handle some of life's most stressful moments.

Registration is going on now for “Meditation: A Tool for Making a Difference,” a class on the WVU campus which begins Feb. 9, and “Meditation: A Tool for Increasing Well-Being,” an online course, which begins Feb. 20.

According to WVU faculty member Margaret Glenn, who teaches both courses, meditation and other contemplative practices have been shown to enhance well-being in several ways. She said studies show that meditation can provide a positive outlook on life and also strengthen resilience, attention and generosity, among other things.

“Benefits vary, but they may include health benefits from lowered blood pressure, stress reduction and a more restful sleep,” she said. “Other benefits include relief from fearful, angry or painful thoughts that may be overwhelming. Many of the participants also find a greater self-understanding and improve their ability to concentrate.”

Participants in the courses will take part in group meditation under Glenn’s guidance.

Some of the different kinds of meditation they will experience include:

·         Visualization, or using visual imagery to manifest desired outcomes in life; 

·         Mantra meditation, during which the practitioner repeats a word or phrase for the duration of the meditation, with the mantra being the focal point throughout;

·         Loving-kindness meditation, which is designed to cultivate four qualities of love: friendliness, compassion, appreciative joy and mental calmness; and

·         Breath-awareness meditation—a simple practice of placing attention on the inhalation and exhalation of breath.

“Developing mindfulness is part of any meditation practice,” Glenn said. “Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts and feelings, our body and our environment. Our thoughts are on what we’re sensing in the present moment, rather than revisiting the past or imagining what might happen in the future.

“Life change is possible if people learn to increase their attention capabilities,” she said. “Meditation can have a major impact on a person’s overall health and happiness, but becoming more mindful can also accomplish something as simple as helping students study for exams.”

The meditation courses are open to anyone age 18 and older. Each course includes four one-hour sessions.

“Meditation: A Tool for Making a Difference” is a classroom experience that begins Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. in Room 414 of Allen Hall on WVU’s Evansdale Campus in Morgantown. The course continues Feb. 16, 23 and March 2. The cost for all four sessions is $75.

“Meditation: a Tool for Well-Being” is a web conferencing experience that takes place online, in real time. The instructor will provide a web conferencing link. The course begins Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. and continues Feb. 22, 27 and March 1. The cost for this course is $99.

Glenn is coordinator of the Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Counseling program in the WVU College of Education and Human Services. She received her doctorate in counseling from The George Washington University and her master’s in rehabilitation counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research interests include integrative health care practices that may better serve people with disabilities and those with substance use disorders.

She has investigated the meditation practices of Eastern and other indigenous cultures. She is a Reiki master, a full mesa-carrying shaman in the tradition of the Quero Indians, studied Cognitively Based Compassion Training of the Tibetan Buddhists, and is certified as a Primordial Sound Meditation instructor by the Chopra Center.

Registration for the meditation courses is going on now. Students may register online at http://continuinged.wvu.edu/ or by calling 1-800-253-2762, #3.

WVU Continuing Professional Education provides a variety of professional and personal enrichment courses for the lifetime learner. For more information, see the website at http://continuinged.wvu.edu/ or follow WVU CPE on Twitter at @WVUContinuingEd.

-WVU-

cl/01/23/17

CONTACT: Sherry Kuehn, WVU Continuing Professional Education

304.293.7635; Sherry.Kuehn@mail.wvu.edu

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.