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Mindfulness Meditation: The new way to reduce stress at Syracuse

Mindfulness Meditation: The new way to reduce stress at Syracuse

Looking for a way to reduce stress during the busy week? Mindfulness meditation is a new way. It becomes buzzwords these days for good reason. Syracuse University offers mindfulness meditation sessions at Hendricks Chapel for students, faculty, staff and community members. Also, the meditation sessions are free to all.

Ariana Zapata, left, practices meditation on a sitting cushion to relieve stress from a hectic week at school and work

Ariana Zapata, a junior majoring in Public Health on the pre-dental track, visits Hendrick’s small chapel at Syracuse University. She quietly enters the dimly lit room, leaves her shoes on a rack and takes her place by a sitting cushion.

Zapata not only works in the front desk of Hendricks Chapel, but also participates in weekly mindfulness meditation sessions housed on the lower level. She decided to incorporate the weekly meditation sessions to help with the hectic schedule of being a full-time student with a part-time job. Thus, she attended her first mediation session last week.

“Last week was really bad, in terms of workload and honestly. But when I meditated the first time last week, I felt so much better. It feels really nice to do it again,” Zapata said.

A meditation group in the small chapel in the basement of Hendricks Chapel after a 30 minute session

Meditation sessions are offered every weekday at Hendricks Chapel at various hours.  Co-Chaplains Reverend Bonnie Shoultz and JoAnn Cooke are the main trainers.

The sessions are designed for people of all faiths from beginners to people who practice meditation on a daily basis. Each session lasts an hour long with fifteen minutes of instruction, thirty minutes of meditation, and ends with a fifteen-minute discussion and clean up.  

What is mindfulness meditation?

Mindfulness Meditation is a technique for calming the mind and body by staying in the present. Silence is important in practice. It requires focus to quiet the mind. Meditation helps people live in the present instead of being stuck in the past or worrying about the future.

Why should you meditate?

There are many benefits of meditation. Meditation makes you feel calm and rested and can make you more productive. Furthermore, some studies even prove it brings short-term benefits to our nervous systemShoultz said many people have confessed to her that when they mindfulness meditate, it reduces their feeling of stress.

In a lot of ways meditation can help you become more effective,” Shoultz said. If relaxation is not the goal of mindfulness meditation, it is often a result.

Hendricks Chapel provides sitting cushions for meditation

How do you meditate?

The first focus of mindfulness meditation is good posture. Hendricks Chapel provides sitting cushions and benches to help establish posture, but people can choose to sit in chairs too. It is essential to have the back straight so the spine is well-aligned and has a good firm connection with the floor or whatever is underneath you.

Release tension from your body and relax your mind. Rest your hands on your lap, and find a comfortable sitting position and sit still. Keep your eyes open and maintain a soft gaze on the floor. Counting your breath is one of the simplest and best practices during meditation. Stay present and open mind.

If you want to practice meditation at home, mindfulness music can help you meditate and relax better. Also, watching some meditation videos is a good choice when you’re a beginner.

Reverend Shoultz, left, leading the mediation session at the small chapel at Hendricks Chapel with Syracuse community members

What are the session times of meditation at Hendricks Chapel?

Here is the timetable of mindfulness meditation sessions at Syracuse University:

Mondays at noon, 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Tuesdays at noon and 4 p.m.

Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.

Thursdays at 9:30 a.m.

Fridays at 11 a.m.

More details in Meditation and Stress Reduction at Syracuse University.


Know more about health and wellness, check our other article To your wellness and success and Fit Body Boot Camp Offers CNY’s Most Intense New Workout, Mall Walking at Destiny USA Provides Fitness Alternative.



Article by Rebecca Gutierrez.    Edit by Mengjiao Li.   Photo by Rebecca Gutierrez. Head photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash.

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This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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