Rice University Complements Students’ Health with ‘Nirvana Sessions’

Nirvana Sessions

While it’s inevitable that things will go wrong in life, one thing you can control is the way you handle that stress. Overall health and wellness goes further than just being physically active — and to complement students’ health, many schools also offer ways for students to relax mentally.

Rice University understands the importance of relaxation and revitalization techniques, and offers many services under their “Wellness” program at the University’s Recreation Center. One service that is offered to focus on mindfulness and wellness is the Recreation Center’s “Nirvana Sessions.”

“The Nirvana Sessions are a bit of mindfulness meditation practice for the Rice community to come relieve stress and be more present,” said Alex Faris, the Assistant Director of Fitness and Wellness at Rice University.

Faris leads the Nirvana Sessions ­­­­and described a typical class:

  • Participants arrive and sign in.
  • Attendees then find their space — choosing between the option of sitting in the pews or grabbing a meditation cushion that is provided to sit on the floor.
  • An inspirational quote begins the session.
  • A meditation podcast recording begins playing, guiding the class sequentially through a meditation with multiple components, including a relaxation component and a breathing component.
  • The topic is introduced — and the topics vary from self-acceptance, to gaining a higher perspective, and everything in-between.
  • After 20-25 minutes, the session is over, and participants resume their daily activities.

Faris said the classes range from five to 15 people in size, and that they are consistently growing in attendance. The sessions are free for all Rice students, faculty and staff and take place year-round. They are marketed around the University with flyers and also on the Recreation Center’s website.

Expert Advice: “It’s all about the approach. A lot of times when people start they want to bring this energy and excitement into their program and then it ends up being a really complicated program. Focus on your one or two goals, and keep it simple.” — Alex Faris.

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