At the Y, we believe in providing opportunities for everybody to live healthier and happier lives holistically. While we have numerous programs and classes for physical fitness, mental fitness is also a priority for us too.
Mindfulness is the awareness of being in the present moment, along with two other elements: doing so in a non-judgmental way, and doing so with kindness.
Mindfulness has developed a strong interest in the modern world through the science and research supporting its many benefits. Just some of these benefits include an improvement in quality of sleep, energy levels, weight loss, and can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
We live in a society that encourages us to ‘do’ more which means we are busy most of the time. This may have a negative impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. So what can we do about it? By simply dedicating some time out for ourselves, we are able to improve our productively and create more peace in our lives.
“Mindfulness is more than just meditating, it’s taking it in with everything you do,” explains Health and Fitness Project Director Fiona Kriaris.
Fiona has led the way forward for Mindfulness at the Y, first introducing it to YMCA-managed Macleod Recreation Centre back in 2013.
“Back then people still hadn’t really heard of Mindfulness but at my first ever Full Moon Meditation session at MacLeod we had 45 people attend! And it’s still going strong today.”
Mindfulness sessions have since entered many other Y-managed sites, with plans for more to run sessions soon.
“The best thing about Mindfulness is that it is so accessible, you don’t have to be fit and strong to take part and what we’re now seeing is more people coming into our centres, people who perhaps wouldn’t usually which is just amazing.”
Mindfulness at the Y truly is accessible for all – we’ve had a nine year old girl attend because she wanted to spend time with her mum and a 71 year old coming to take a break too – it’s for everybody.
Research on Mindfulness shows that it has many health benefits beyond just feeling more mentally healthy.
"It helps with so many different things - there was even a study on psoriasis where Mindfulness helped treat people more quickly,” says Fiona.
If your centre doesn’t yet offer Mindfulness sessions, you can still apply the basic principles to your workouts too and other areas of daily life. Being present, focusing on your body, letting go of negative thoughts or stresses, and enjoying the workout is all part of Mindfulness. Give it a try!