During these uncertain times, finding peace of mind can be tricky. In honor of World Meditation Day, we’d like to introduce three nonprofits supporting meditation and mindfulness in their communities.
Anyone who’s tried meditation can tell you that finding the time, space, and focus for quiet contemplation is no easy task—even when the world feels relatively calm.
Today, the added stress and uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic brings to all of our lives’ makes the countless benefits of mindfulness and meditation practices—including lowering anxiety levels, increasing self-awareness, and amplifying empathy—more vital than ever. Thankfully, nonprofits supporting meditation across the globe are serving their communities through online classes and socially-distant mindfulness sessions, helping individuals hone their ability to find refuge within, no matter what their circumstances might be.
Take a nice, deep breath in—and learn how a few of our partners are spreading inner peace worldwide!
1. Replacing COVID-19 anxiety with peace and dignity
Community members will tell you that life in Nomathamsanqa, South Africa is challenging under normal circumstances. Individuals face widespread poverty and unemployment, high HIV and addiction rates, and poor healthcare systems. The many uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic have added astronomical levels of anxiety, especially since many residents are unable to afford recommended hygiene supplies.
Universal Promise offers meditation and yoga courses at a local high school, providing invaluable space for teenagers in the area to turn inward while remaining physically distant. Founder and president Martha Cummings says: “Open spaces to practice and to breathe come at zero cost. In solitude, residents pause, reflect, and leave behind COVID-19 terror. In those moments and after, mindfulness and meditation affect emotional and physical well-being by inculcating coping mechanisms, nurturing calm and control, and diminishing disease fueled by fear. In a culture still plagued by apartheid, mindfulness and meditation grant all the peace and dignity they so richly deserve and have long been denied.” Learn More.
2. Building sustainability through mindful education
For the 203 kids who study with Fundacion Gaia in high-risk communities in Costa Rica, mindfulness means even more than tuning into your breath: it also means a sustainable lifestyle in harmony with nature—and plenty of free pizza!
The holistic course taught by Fundacion Gaia offers a refuge where children learn about ecology, personal health, yoga, and meditation. By honing healthy coping mechanisms and building a conscious lifestyle, these students unlock their potential to thrive in the face of the uncertainty of COVID-19 and become leaders for their families and communities. Their lesson for all of us? “La paz empieza en mi: Peace begins within.” Learn more.
3. Supporting self-awareness for incarcerated individuals
People who are living in prisons and jails must cope with cramped conditions, separation from their loved ones, and high stress levels each and every day. Across the U.S., Yoga4Change offers yoga and mindfulness courses which give these communities tools to build emotional balance and physical wellbeing. While social distancing is in place, the organization has switched to offering courses virtually, ensuring that no one loses the opportunity to cultivate contentment.
After observing a class at the Montgomery Correctional Center in Jacksonville, Florida, a corrections officer wrote to the organization, sharing: “Some of these young folks have not invested in themselves in years. Yoga4Change is affording them the opportunity to reinvest in themselves through healthier behavior choices, self-evaluation, and so much more….Yoga4Change is truly making a difference in the lives of their students.”
Curious about mindfulness now that you’ve read all about nonprofits supporting meditation? We thought you might be! Find a comfortable seat and join us in celebrating World Meditation Day with this virtual moment of mindfulness: