Meditation club offers ‘open-door’ policy for mindfulness


Photo: Lizzie White

Come on in! The door is open for anyone to join Meditation Club, one of SNC’s newest clubs.

Need a place to hang out and take a breather from a long week of studying?

Meditation Club, one of Sierra Nevada College’s newest clubs, offers students a place to unwind – and find themselves – this fall, with sessions being held in Patterson Hall, Room 213 at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays nights. Students, faculty and community members are welcome.

Club president Ikela Lewis is seeking to help students find a place of solace on campus to escape the chaos of college life and find tranquility. Lewis encourages not only students, but also faculty and members of the Tahoe community, to attend Thursday night meditation. During meetings the group typically does a three- to five-minute warmup meditation, then comes back together after to share what they felt or thought during the meditation. They then go into longer and guided meditations, as well as meaningful discussions.

Members of Meditation Club say that it helps tremendously with anxiety and other issues.

“I am always anxious and can never relax,” freshman DaSeanna Mackey said. “I wanted to try something that could help me relax.”

“You don’t necessarily have to be perfect at it. And there’s no judgement in meditation either. You can go at your own pace. Don’t worry and say, ‘Oh, I’m not good at meditation, I’m not able to relax.’ You never know unless you try.”

Freshman Moses Munoz believes meditation is beneficial to one’s emotional well-being.

“I wanted to join Meditation Club because I feel calm and relaxed when I’m meditating, and it allows me to connect with my inner self and express myself through thought,” he said. “I think others should join. It gives you a chance to relax and a chance to get away from reality.”

The benefits of meditation have been proven by many scholars, including Harvard Professor Herbert Benson, who found it useful in combatting the fight-or-flight response: When those with severe anxiety feel as though they are being attacked, sitting and focusing on breathing can allow them to come out of their panic state. Additionally, Robert Sapolsky, neuroscientist and professor at Stanford University, found that when people stay in fight-or-flight for too long, it breaks down their immune systems. They become sick more frequently and experience shorter lifespans.

Meditation Club is also a place to share the process of self-discovery with others.

“It’s just for people to come as they are, to experience love and acceptance and a practice that in my life has been incredibly beneficial in improving my well-being and my interactions with other people,” Lewis said. “So it’s an opportunity to share that.”

Lewis says Meditation Club is considering doing beach days, hiking for mountaintop meditations, and even some yoga.

Lewis first began meditating as a Freshman in high school and has since been honing his practice. He first began meditating as a way to seek insight into his own spirituality.

“I grew up with a very religious upbringing,” he said. “As I grew I started questioning more and more things to the point where I couldn’t necessarily agree with that belief system for me personally in my own heart. But I still sought that spiritual meaning that I think every single human being holds.