Mindful Mason Moments

mindfulness meditationTake a well-being break on weekdays for Mindful Mason Moments mindfulness sessions. Facilitators hold space for you to slow down and reconnect with yourself, so you can move through your day with more awareness, connection, and ease. By taking good care of yourself, you can contribute more to your friends, families, colleagues, and community members. These daily opportunities give you the extra push to build an actual break into your day that is focused on self-care.

During the spring 2023 semester, Mindful Mason Moments sessions will take place online via Zoom. Access them at: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/99323443897

Join us from February through April, at these days and times:

  • Mondays from 4 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.
  • Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 4:20 p.m. (No session on April 25)
  • Wednesdays from 12 noon to 12:20 p.m. (No session on April 12)
  • Fridays from 12 noon to 12:20 p.m.

Please note that there will be no sessions during Mason’s spring break (Monday, March 13 through Friday, March 17).

For more information about Mindful Mason Moments, please contact Katie Clare at kclare@gmu.edu.

Koru Mindfulness

If you’re looking for more than a Mindful Mason Moments drop-in practice, consider enrolling in a Koru cohort. Koru Mindfulness was developed over the course of 10 years by practitioners at Duke University. This evidence-based curriculum teaches mindfulness, meditation, and stress management in ways you can integrate into your busy life. Studies suggest that Koru training leads to significant well-being benefits, such as better sleep, less perceived stress, and more self-compassion. Koru cohorts are offered on a regular basis and meet once a week for 75 minutes for four consecutive weeks. These cohorts provide participants with the opportunity to learn more about the variety of skills and meditations that can support a mindfulness practice. Learn more here.

Well-Being Benefits of Mindfulness

Research shows that practicing mindfulness meditation can lead to many significant well-being benefits. Those benefits include:

  • Less stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression
  • More resilience, concentration, and peace
  • Improved physical health
  • Greater academic success and job satisfaction

These drop-in sessions are meant to encourage and guide you. They will not give you a full introduction to mindfulness practices or meditation. They will not cover any particular curriculum from start to finish. However, a benefit is that if you miss a session, you can jump right into the next one. This drop-in approach does require flexibility on your part to experience different practices from one session to the next. Sessions may include meditation, gentle movement, sound, silence, or breath work.

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” – Jack Kornfield

Facilitator Bios

Jana Abutayeh is an undergraduate student studying psychology and well-being at Mason. She finds great opportunities from taking a holistic approach to health, with a focus on the mind-body-spirit connection that can be strengthened with mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga. Jana’s primary passion is using sound as a tool for healing. She is working toward becoming a sound bath facilitator, often using crystal singing bowls to help guide people through the meditative experience.

Claudia Borke

Claudia Borke is an Academic Advisor for Mason’s Department of Bioengineering. Her interest in the mind/body connection started in her teenage years and has continued ever since. While studying abroad in Russia she received training in Transcendental Meditation and then continued to incorporate different mind-body techniques into her daily life to help with stress reduction and health management. Her daily routine includes meditation, and exercise combined with healthy nutrition. She received her Positive Leadership Certificate from GMU, is a certified Reiki Master Practitioner, and received her certification as a Student Coach this year by InsideTrack. Her meditations begin with relaxation exercises and brief guidance focused on breathing and intention setting. Claudia believes that through meditation we find inner strength, balance, and increase our empathy for others. It is one of the most underrated exercises for every age and it is free. 

Katie ClareKatie Clare is Associate Director for Resilience Programs at Mason. She oversees the Resilience Badge and also collaborates with the Mason Chooses Kindness initiative. Through graduate school, marriage, and parenthood, Katie has leaned on mindfulness and meditation to remain focused and to engage her body and mind awareness. She developed a silent meditation practice through Don Gallehr’s informal training. Her practices benefitted from formal training with Tara Brach, Anand Mehrotra, Karen Maezen Miller, Mark Thurston, and Mary Elizabeth Lynch. She has attended the Summer Institute for Educators with the Greater Good Science Center, the Summer Session on Contemplative Practices with the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, and Mindfulness Fundamentals through Mindful Schools. Trained as a Mental Health First Aid facilitator through the National Council for Behavioral Health, she brings self-care and mindfulness into the mental health conversation. Her Mindful Mason Moments sessions often include guided meditation and breath work.

Sharon Doetsch-Kidder

Sharon Doetsch-Kidder, Ph.D., is an Instructional Associate Professor in the English department and Affiliate Faculty with Women and Gender Studies. In addition to training in several forms of meditation, she practices Shinshin Toitsu Aikido and is an Assistant Ki Lecturer with the International Ki Society. She has a special interest in tailoring mindfulness training to different communities and has taught children, parents, early childhood educators, and incarcerated teenagers, as well as students, faculty, and staff in higher education. Her current research is investigating the interconnection of diversity, inclusion, and well-being work through Healing Justice activism.

Aditi GoelAditi Goel is a Mason alumna. She began exploring mindfulness in 2016 and has continued her journey with the Meditation Museum in Virginia. During her first two years at Mason, she was a member of the Well-Being LLC where she was inspired to explore diverse practices to support her well-being. Her experience led her to found the student organization, Dare 2 Be Wise, which aims to expand the awareness of mental health and encourages Mason students to live a more positive life. In her meditations, she incorporates elements from different kinds of meditations like loving-kindness, body-scan, focused breathing, and raja yoga. Her favorite quote is “The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting your thoughts control you.”

Julia MorelliJulia Morelli is President of the George Mason University Instructional Foundation, Inc. Her passion for the internal arts began many years ago after training with the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, and taking yoga and qigong classes through Peaceable Dragon. She incorporates practices learned through Health Advantage Yoga (RYT 200), the Strozzi Institute/Embodied Leadership, and the Institute for Zen Leadership. She considers it an honor to work with those who seek to develop and enhance the physical, emotional, and spiritual condition. Julia’s sessions focus on conscious breathing and gentle movements to improve flexibility, decrease stress, cultivate chi/ki/qi (universal energy), and enhance somatic (body) awareness. Her understanding of the importance and power of self-awareness and compassion deepened through the work done with her horse, Dahnaan, who had been abused and became one of her greatest teachers.

Mark Thurston, Ph.D., is a term associate professor in the School of Integrative Studies at George Mason University. From January, 2009 to June, 2018 he was administrative faculty for Mason’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, serving most recently as the director of educational programs. With an academic background in psychology, Mark worked for 35 years before coming to Mason in adult education related to consciousness, holistic health, and personal transformation. He is the author of numerous books related to personal spirituality, dream psychology, meditation, and the transformation of consciousness. He is the faculty coordinator for Mason’s undergraduate minor in well-being, and he teaches one of the required courses in the minor: INTS 355 “Mindfulness, Meaning and Well-Being.”

Participant Testimonials

Here’s what some participants have to say about Mindful Mason Moments sessions:

“I have loved coming to these sessions, especially the mindful movement ones. It is super helpful for grounding as it is a perfect combination of connecting with silence as well as connecting with the body.”

“These are the go-to sessions throughout the semester. Awesome community, unique, distinct practices by wonderful facilitators! It’s always just what I needed at that time. It’s super refreshing and is a good change of space from the regular tasks.”

“Mindful Mason Moments allows me the time and space to take a pause and re-center myself in the middle of everything. I’m especially grateful for these opportunities now, when all the work-home boundaries are blurred.” 

“I started attending because I was (and still am) going through some stressful times at home and thought that learning to meditate could only help.  It did.  That is a big reason why I continue to come back.  But another reason that is just as big for why I keep attending is the friends I have made and the warmth and care that I get from them.”

“My mind moves a mile a minute and slowing down is not something I do easily. Having a structure and space to help me practice mindfulness has been helpful and something I want to do more often. I am grateful for this program that helps me to become more present and mindful.”