Students, staff and faculty were able to relax and clear their minds during a well-attended meditation seminar at University Canada West on March 13.

Office administrator Vera Szekely guided participants through the fundamentals of meditation and its benefits. She started by explaining that focus, posture and breathing is an important part of meditation and that it can have many benefits.

“It reduces stress. It reduces depression and it reduces a lot of negative effects,” she explained.

About 21 students, as well as several staff and faculty, took part in the session that coincided with the end of the term and final exams. Szekely said that meditation can help turn off that noise that’s in the back of everyone’s minds.

She guided everyone through the first steps of meditating and told the students to focus on their breathing.

“Let go of your thoughts and let go of all the problems in your life,” she encouraged. Many participants sat on the floor with their eyes closed and quietly focused on their breathing.

She used Tibetan singing bowls to create relaxing harmonic tones. The Singing bowls are often used to aid meditation and are played by creating friction on the rim of the bowl with a padded mallet.

“I think it was a great first step to helping our students learn how to focus and reduce stress during exams and in their everyday life,” said Szekely, who has been hosting meditation workshops for several years in her spare time. “I spoke with a few students afterwards who found it very useful and the feedback I got from them was very positive.”

She said she hopes they adapt the tools they learned in the workshop for their everyday lives.

“As a business university, I think it’s important to give them the tools they can use to cope with stress and improve their effectiveness and focus on work and studies,” she said.

Szekely owns an alternative healthcare and life improvement business called Green Tara Canada and operates the business when she’s not at University Canada West.