Ask the Expert: Mind-Body Programming


The expert advice to answer your most pressing questions. This month, Mikki Showers, the director of Campus Recreation at Carleton College, shares advice on mind-body programming.

Can you describe your mind-body programming offerings?

MS: Our programming has definitely evolved over the past 17-plus years. We have been able to expand and add programs that focus on the whole person and the many dimensions of wellness.

What mind-body offerings have been the most successful and why?

MS: All of them because of the balance and variety we are able to offer. Our trainers do an excellent job of providing variety, new challenges and accountability, all while keeping it fun. The trainers take the time to know participants by name, know their stories, and make modifications and customize workouts as needed. Over time, we have been able to expand our programming because providing options is very important. Making classes affordable and at varied times of the day also make our programs successful. Our classes strive to provide components that encompass everyday movements that benefit our users beyond the rec center in their daily lives.

Where do trends come into play?

MS: Trends do come into play when we get recommendations from our community because it is usually something they have done elsewhere. I suspect trends also come into play when I work with trainers and urge them to try new things. Yes, we do consider and try new trends if space and the budget allow. Some of our trainers believe they create their own trends which in the end helps all to appreciate a healthier lifestyle. I feel like what is most successful is a combination of new and old because it offers variety and opportunities for everyone. A recent example of a mix of new and old programming is what we called our Friday Fitness Follies. We had three or four trainers lead everyone through 12 to 15 minutes of their favorite workouts. Then the groups rotated through all of the stations, so everyone got to experience all of the trainer’s favorites.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in offering mind-body programming at Carleton?

MS: Know who your resources are. By this I mean know who your advocates are for a healthy campus. Examples: Some of our most successful resources are our students, faculty, staff and alumni. We have students that come to us with training certifications in kickboxing, barre fitness, CrossFit, yoga, etc. We have faculty and staff who want to share their talents teaching meditation, Koru Mindfulness, yoga, etc. We also have two alums who lead salsa dancing and Zumba classes. Recently, we made a connection through our Student Health and Counseling to sponsor a Health Coach Intern through the University of Minnesota. We also have a newly formed Employee Wellness Team which has taken the time to help identify all of the wellness resources on campus. Yearly, Campus Recreation runs a Wellness Challenge with the focus on the whole person and finding a work/life balance in all areas of life.

Anything else to add?

MS: I know we are doing a good job of programming when we are able to witness many of the dimensions of wellness all in a day. In particular, my favorite is how important social wellness is to recreation and recreation is to social wellness.

Heather Hartmann
Heather Hartmann is the editor for Campus Rec Magazine. She can be reached at

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