In the heart of Long Beach State’s multicultural center, members of the Musical Meditation Club sit crisscrossed atop a collection of rainbow saddle blankets. Tranquil music quietly filled the spaces between participants as their eyes creep to a close.
Those who practice have documented the activity as beneficial both internally and externally. Changes in mood regulation, stress management and relationships allow participants to sustainably maintain their mental state.
To the untrained eye, this process may resemble a brief upright nap. The kind that exhausted mothers take throughout the day or the one that students depend on during a 7 a.m. lecture.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Our club aligns itself with the values of community above all else,” Co-President Ashley Torres said.
“In doing so, we have a space for everyone and anyone who is trying to just meet people, build a consistent meditation practice, need a place to destress, improve their mental health or deepen their practice by learning about where meditation comes from,” Torres said.
With Indian origins as early as 3000 B.C.E, the process of meditation, including focused breath work, physical awareness and mindfulness — is regarded in Hinduism as a tool to quiet the mind.
According to Mayo Clinic, meditation can also bring on a host of physical benefits like improved sleep quality, decreased blood pressure levels and a reduction in negative emotions.
Similarly, Bhakti yoga, which consists of various stretches and poses, is viewed as an act of devotion to self-awareness and spirituality.
Derived from the root word “bhaj” meaning to pray or to share, this style of yoga, in conjunction with transcendentalism meditation, is said to ease anxiety and encourage enlightenment.
Aside from holding the sessions in group settings, the club also encourages the use of music and mantras to navigate different moods.
“Our minds are really powerful, and they can start to believe many unhealthy thoughts,” Torres said. “So observing and letting go, or even finding the root cause of those thoughts is incredibly helpful in everyday life,”
In addition to group meditation, the club also hosts various events and workshops led by speakers who discuss college life. They also discuss philosophy and strengthening one’s practice.
“It can be vulnerable, but it brings people closer, and [they] feel a sense of belonging,” Torres said.
CSULB Fitness and Wellness Coordinator Cecilia Guerrero shares the value of students having a wellness practice as it not only relates to oneself but also one’s relationships with others.
“Being mindful of your overall well-being and how to revitalize your overall happiness is the first step in managing that stress,” Guerrero said. “When we’re self-aware of our wellbeing, we can show up better at school, at work, with friends and family,”
As students, it can be challenging to create time for self-care. Amidst the fast-paced academic schedule and part-time employment, remember to advocate for peaceful moments.
“Know it’s ok to step back. Sometimes things might be difficult at the beginning, but [you should] know it will get a little easier in time,” Guerrero said.