Asbury teaches six week meditation course, ways of coping with stress

Illustration by Maya Winshell

With the stress from classes, jobs, a pandemic and political discourse, many Lewis & Clark students may be overwhelmed. There are a number of things students can do to decrease stress, from going on a walk in Tryon Creek State Natural Area to getting more sleep; however, a less practiced method is meditation.

Greg Asbury, the husband of LC Law Assistant Dean of Communications and External Relations Judy Asbury, is currently teaching a six-week course open to all LC staff, faculty and students, on practicing mindfulness and meditation in our busy lives. The course includes one 45-minute class every Wednesday at 8 a.m.; the first class was on March 3 and the last class will be on April 7.

Asbury started practicing meditation 20 years ago when the stress from his corporate job was making him sick. He primarily learned the techniques of the Q’ero people in Peru, who are known for engaging in meditation and mindful healing.

So far, Asbury has held two sessions. He began both with a dedication to community building, before leading the group through a couple of breathing exercises. There were about 15 attendees, a group not too small where you would feel uncomfortable closing your eyes on Zoom, but also not too big where you would miss out on the connections.

The core purpose of this program is to provide a safe space for people to learn ways of managing stress and anxiety.

“All we are looking for in our time together (on) Zoom is to give you some tools so you (can) create a pause, so you don’t go automatically into (an) activated state,” Asbury said.

This “activated state” is what most students are in, going from class to class, class to work and work to homework. This lack of a pause and the resulting build-up of stress is why many of the participants decided to sign up for this program, including LC Graduate School Registrar Courtney Whetstine.

“(The program) gives me time to be more intentional about my day and (with) what I want to accomplish,” Whetstine said. “What kind of employee I want to be, what kind of parent I want to be, what kind of coworker, what kind of person I want to be.”

Not only is this program a constructive way to start the day, but it is also a great way to connect with new people.

“It is not like meeting in person, but I do still feel like this methodology (Zoom) is valuable. We are able to feel connected to each other,” Whetstine said.

While meditation can be beneficial at any point in one’s life, some participants, including Rachel Greben, LC Graduate School finance and operations specialist, feel it may be particularly effective for our current situation.

“(This program is) something right now that seems very important to deal with the kind of stress I am feeling,” said Greben. “(I am) trying to use this time as an opportunity to build some new skills before going back out to the real world.”

There are only three sessions left in the course, to be held on Mar. 24, Mar. 31 and April 7. While Asbury encourages participants to attend the full sessions — as he believes that those who only drop in or begin halfway through the course will not develop the same skills — any person dealing with stress would still benefit from attending even one session. For more information, go to the Human Resources Events on the LC website and click on “Mindfulness and Meditation w/ Greg Asbury” or email chau@lclark.edu to register.

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