“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” So said comic Lily Tomlin many years ago. Now that that we live in a world in which disruptive technologies are celebrated and non-stop digital pings from multiple devices are the norm, slowing down—taking time for contemplation and inner quiet—may have more value than ever.
Indeed, the empowering value of a quiet, disciplined mind was one of the takeaways from a recent student field trip to Yogaville, a retreat center located about 75 minutes south of UVA. The purpose of trip was to learn about yoga and meditation from an experienced instructor as part of “Cultivating Wisdom and Well-Being for Personal and Professional Growth,” a class taught by McIntire Marketing Professor David Mick.
‘An important goal in the course is to connect the growth of wisdom to the increased capacity for mindfulness, mental discipline, emotional regulation, and stress management,” says Mick. “Drawing on both Western and Eastern philosophy, as well as contemporary social science, the goal of the course is to seek new understandings, self-insights, and useful tools in regard to wisdom and well-being, particularly as to how these concepts apply to a variety of professional and personal situations across the lifespan.”
At Yogaville, students had the opportunity to experience several approaches to meditation and yoga, each of which, says Mick, is designed to “discipline the mind and to mitigate mindless thinking and mindless behavior.”
Students welcomed the firsthand experience. “Personally, I thought the Yogaville trip was immensely restorative and meaningful for me,” writes Andrew Liang (A&S ’15). “I find myself becoming stressed many times throughout the week as I am trying to plan and prepare for the next stage of my life.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the instructor’s presentation, and I think the way she presented it made it extremely accessible to both first-time meditators and experienced meditators. I feel that everyone has their own idea of what meditation and contemplative practices are like, and allowing them the opportunity to experience it firsthand is very helpful in clearing up any misconceptions they might have.
“All in all, I highly urge that this trip remains a part of the curriculum; it’s not only fun but also educational, both personally and academically.”
By Mary Summers Whittle