Reaching Nirvana

The newly formed Meditation club serves to help students with mental health, stress, and anxiety

Photo+by+Gabby+DeRose

Photo by Gabby DeRose

Gabby DeRose, Staff Writer

Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, enhance self-awareness and promote emotional health. While many people meditate for religious purposes, others meditate for its spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health benefits. Senior Lana Rihawi, Meditation club’s leader and voice of action, hoped that by forming the club, she would draw people together to spread a message of mental health care and awareness.
“We started meditation club at first as a mental health awareness club,” Rihawi said. “We wanted to focus on mental health awareness through meditation specifically because there’s many different ways you could solve problems that have to do with mental health, but we wanted to do something different.”
The club aims to teach, direct and educate its members about meditation and its benefits as well as how its members can healthily and properly handle stress, anxiety and other mental health disorders.
“Meditation can help with just calming the body down… It’s basically shutting every single body part down and focusing the tension just on your core,” Rihawi said. “It makes you feel ‘one with the universe.’ You just feel centered. It’s a difficult feeling to explain until someone tries it. The point of it all is to shut the body down and just focus on your heart.”
Meditation can be difficult for beginners to get the hang of, but even just fifteen minutes of meditation can have significant health benefits. The meditation club is dedicated to helping all members learn to meditate within its every-other Tuesday group sessions. Rihawi, as the primary instructor, explains this process.
“We first go over some tips on how to meditate and go through asking people, ‘what stresses you out?” Rihawi said. “We usually then have a fifteen minute meditation where we all turn off our cell phones and close our eyes and listen to the [instructor].”
Senior Shannon Li, a member of the – newly formed club, explains her personal thoughts and feelings on learning how to meditate within the club.
“Meditation is hard at first as it takes an immense amount of focus,” she said. “But after you get the hang of it, it’s extremely relaxing and calms you in a way that you don’t normally get to experience in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.”
Rihawi also went into detail about how her class is run, hoping to encourage new members to find new interest and join for a welcoming experience.
“We start off with the feet by relaxing, and then we move up the body,” Rihawi said. “You relax up your legs, up your body, up your spine, your arms, all the way up to your face. The process is just going step by step by each body part, relaxing them and focusing on stopping your muscles. Once we’re done, though, we want people to leave without any stress they may have had coming in.”
Senior Andy Feng also experienced the sensations of meditation during his attendance at the club activity.
“When I was meditating and focusing on parts of my body I could feel the stress begin to fade away,” he said. “Having a clear mind was something that I haven’t experienced in a while so I felt refreshed after meditating.”
Meditation Club has been striving for a healthy approach to stress management and mental health awareness for all its members. By attending a meeting after school for a forty-five minute session, one may relieve themselves of their school stresses and anxieties, or reach a new state of relaxation or calmness.