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The Mindfulness Community at Arizona State University hosted the M2 Mobile Mindfulness Studio on March 22 as part of the Graduate and Professional Student Association's Grad Week in an effort to help students de-stress in the midst of midterms and to introduce them to the importance of mindfulness practice.
The M2 Mobile Mindfulness Studio is cross between a food truck and a meditation studio. The truck is simple, meant to offer a calming space to focus the mind free from outside distractions. Low-seated chairs face the front of the truck where the session leader can sit and guide attendees through their mindfulness practice.
“As odd as it is, the idea [for the studio] came to me while driving past a food truck after getting my hair done,” said Susan West, founder of the M2 Mobile Mindfulness Studio. “I thought, ‘I could put a mindfulness studio in a truck.’ So I did.”
The M2 mobile studio launched in January, making the ASU event one of its inaugural trips. Additionally, this was the studio’s debut on a college campus. It attracted around 100 students across eight hosted meditation sessions.
“One of the main goals of our group is to build a community of contemplative students at ASU, and I saw this opportunity to collaborate with Susan as a unique way to work toward that goal,” said Jason Papenfuss, president and board member of the Mindfulness Community at ASU.
Throughout the year, the Mindfulness Community at ASU offers special events that work toward the group’s mission. Additionally, each week the Mindfulness Community’s board of student leaders facilitates mindfulness mediations on the Tempe and Downtown Phoenix campuses that are free to all ASU students.
“We provide a safe, unintimidating space for students to learn the practice of mindfulness during their lunch hour,” said Tamara Rounds, a clinical associate professor in ASU's School of Social Work who currently serves as the faculty adviser for the Mindfulness Community at ASU.
While all of the Mindfulness Community’s events are open to students, the organization is in a partnership with stress management tools class, SWU 250. The events hosted by the Mindfulness Community, including the M2 studio, can be used toward class credit. However, this event garnered attendees outside of the class as well.
“I think that is one of the beauties of this particular collaboration because the community-building efforts we are interested in are really catalyzed by the uniqueness of this venue,” Papenfuss said.
In addition to hosting the M2 Studio, the Mindfulness Community also offered a workshop on nonviolent communication earlier this year and has plans to conduct a three-course silent meal in April.
Mindfulness has many proven health and wellness benefits such as reducing stress and improving self-awareness, memory, attention, immunity and sleep.
“There is tons of research on mindfulness that has to do with de-stressing and regulating, so [mindfulness] is really the perfect fit for students who are over-stressed to come and use the space to decompress,” Rounds said.
Written by Rilee Robinson