Meditation has been shown to help practitioners combat anxiety and depression while bolstering mental health and inner calmness. Orange Coast College is offering sessions in guided meditation through Zoom to students who are curious about the practice, or looking to connect with others over the shared interest.
The sessions are led by Linda Salim, an instructor with OCC who previously led in-person meditation sessions from 2010 until the campus closed due to COVID-19 in March. The classes, which had been offered through the Health Center in the past, have been very easy to convert to their new remote format.
“The transfer to Zoom has been wonderful,” Salim said in an email. “I am grateful that [Associated Students of Orange Coast College] can offer these sessions after the lockdown and even extended the invitation to the district. These guided meditation sessions are open to not only OCC but also Golden West College and Coastline.”
Salim strives to cultivate an atmosphere of tranquility in these sessions, which take place from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. It is an hour of soothing music and gentle instruction as Salim answers questions and leads participants through exercises that can easily be done from one’s desk.
Above all, Salim emphasizes the importance of relaxation. The sessions are completely newcomer friendly, but individuals who are already familiar with meditation are welcome as well.
“Sometimes when you have a whole bunch of random thoughts and worries and things you’re looking forward to or dreading — all that kind of stuff — it can be difficult to not think at all. I think the meditation did help me with that,” said Eric Sandler, a part-time student who attended after reading about the sessions on OCC’s website.
Sandler’s interest in the sessions was sparked by earlier experience with another form of meditation called quiet wakefulness that has helped him to cope with severe stress and migraines in the past. These are exactly the symptoms that Salim hopes to combat in her sessions.
“Students reported clearer minds, finding solutions, feeling less stressed, feeling more optimistic, less pain, less physical discomfort, less tension on their neck and lower back, etc. ,” Salim said. “A lot of wonderful things can start taking place when we are more relaxed.”
In a year as packed with stress as 2020, Salim hopes that these sessions will help people center themselves.
“If we could help just one more person find peace and calmness in [their] day, week, year, life, it is all worth it,” she said.
Salim’s sessions are completely free to students and faculty and require no prior enrollment or club membership. More information can be found by visiting the ASOCC events calendar, or by hoping on the Zoom link here.