Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Time to wind down... 3/8/2011

Labyrinth Offers Meditation and Relaxation    for Campus Students

by Jason Hall

    Stressed out or upset? Take a walk on the mellow side. Walking a labyrinth can offer a slowdown.  Count to 10 and exhale, discovering a relaxing minute that many people might be thinking about.
    Labyrinths are more than a weird looking maze. It’s a tool that has existed for thousands of years belonging to many different nations all over the world, such as North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia.
    Although, labyrinths have been used for good luck charms, and jewelry they also have been known to represent life’s journey.
    Labyrinths today are normally utilized as a meditative device. Even though the appearance of a labyrinth can be intimidating, Campus Wellness Coordinator Pamela Santer assures there is no wrong way to walk it.  There is, however, only one way in and one way out.  This means getting lost in a labyrinth is nearly impossible.
    John Maslany, who is in the RBA program at WVU Parkersburg, invests approximately 10 minutes each time he walks the labyrinth. He has even walked the labyrinth twice in a single day, and claims to experience mental clarity.
    Walking a labyrinth is a good way to relax and self-reflect, Santer believes. By practicing this ancient art of meditation, one may experience lowered blood pressure and reduced stress (perfect for mid-terms and finals).  Other benefits of walking a labyrinth are increased self-awareness, patience, spiritual growth and psychological transformation.
    The Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund purchased a canvas labyrinth for Artsbridge with a grant they created 13 years ago. Artsbridge utilizes the labyrinth for a program called Spirituality and the Arts.
    Jane Harrington, director of Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund, recently retrieved the labyrinth from St. Margaret Mary Catholic Parish so the students at WVU Parkersburg might have a chance to practice the art of meditation.
    The labyrinth is now in possession of the campus wellness office.  Santer develops occasions and opportunities for people to walk the labyrinth. Santer tries to focus her attention on people who have special needs to walk the labyrinth.
    Students report feeling more content with the world after just a 20-minute journey. “I personally believe walking a labyrinth is a personal experience, kind of like church or a relationship; you get out what you put into it,” one student who admitted to having many special needs noted.
Any questions concerning the labyrinth can be addressed to Pamela Santer at 424-8235 or by stopping by her office in room 1535.

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