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Meditation group helps URI students relieve stress

By Farah Casalini
On March 23, 2012


A student organization at the University of Rhode Island has dedicated itself to the art of relaxation, meditation and decompression.

The Seekers Meditation Group does just that for URI students every week, providing an outlet for stress relief that seems necessary on a college campus.

"In a world full of distraction, [meditation] is a way to practice focus and get some perspective," club president Daniel Guedes said.

The senior civil engineering and geology major founded the club three years ago after being approached by one of his professors, and has been president of the club ever since. Guedes said it was the first time in 15 years that a meditation club existed on campus.

Guedes said the club differs from other organizations on campus because it strays away from a classroom feel and takes on a more laid back approach.

"It provides a space to practice techniques to de-stress," he said.

The club meets on Tuesdays to practice yoga and Thursdays to practice meditation, giving students an opportunity to learn different forms of stress-relieving techniques and different yoga and meditation practices. At a typical meeting, Guedes said students mingle for approximately 20 minutes so they can become comfortable, and then they go on to learn two to three forms of meditation or yoga.

"[The meetings] are short and sweet," he said. "[Meditation] is something you take home with you. It takes some doing."

Anywhere from seven to 30 people attend the weekly meetings, with hundreds of people on the mailing list. Guedes said the meetings are open to any students on campus who are interested.

"It provides a place for people to learn," he said.

The group relies on word-of-mouth for new group members, but Guedes said recruiting members isn't the main concern.

"We want to provide [yoga and meditation] to anyone," he said.

Last spring, the club held a slam poetry reading called "Poetry for Peace," where different local slam poets came to the Galanti Lounge to read their work. While Guedes said the event was successful, he doesn't believe hosting events to be the most important aspect of the group.

"Events I've seen on campus are sometimes discouraging," he said. "They lack a sense of community, a sense of cohesiveness."

The true focus of the group is the personal aspect, Guedes said, where students can learn one-on-one how to "live in the moment" and practice their "well-being."

"We want to bring a positive light to life instead of a stressful, dark environment," he said.

Guedes said a meditation-specific space for students is currently in the making, but he hasn't received any updates on its progress.

The group meets on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Catholic Church Center and Thursdays at 5 p.m. at the Watson House.

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