Take a moment. Close your eyes. Breathe in one, two, three. Breathe out one, two, three.
Tomoko Grabosky, a counselor at the Wellness Center for 14 years, has brought Koru mindfulness to Shippensburg University. She teaches the classes held during the “mindfulness weeks.”
The idea of Koru was co-founded by Libby Webb in New Zealand. According to the book “The Mindful Twenty-Something,” Koru is the New Zealand Maori word for “the spiral shape of the unfurling fern frond.” It symbolizes balanced growth, representing layered growth around a stable center.
Mindfulness is a learned skill. According to Grabosky, who has a doctorate in counselor education, meditation is “paying attention to what’s happening right now without judging with acceptance. It is a mental state of observing and training the mind.”
Grabosky chose to teach Koru because of extensive research and positive results. Koru is a hot topic today, so she found the class as the perfect opportunity to help reduce stress in college students.
Stress is what people think will happen, not about what is happening in the moment. Koru is about noticing these negative thoughts, coming back to the present and paying attention to “the now.” This mindfulness technique has one paying attention to breath. This increases oxygen and activates the parasympathetic immune system, which is the part of the brain that turns on relaxation.
Research shows 10 to 20 minutes per day of relaxation can change one’s brain structure to reduce stress and be more kind to oneself. A major problem in the world today is self-hate. It is said people cannot begin to fully love others until they learn how to love themselves.
The class is 75-minutes and will run for four weeks, and has a maximum number of 12 students. Each week the students will learn two new techniques to help relieve stress.
“The students have shown better sleep, are less judgmental, have less stress and are more mindful,” Grabosky said.
Grabosky is offering another Koru mindfulness class from Oct. 18 to Nov. 8. The classes will occur in the Counseling Center on the bottom floor of Naugle Hall from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. Students may contact Grabosky at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (717) 477-1481 with questions.