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Meditation begins at WSU Planetarium

Instructor Jordan Wrigley discusses positive reasons to meditate under dome of constellations.

Yoga+teacher+Jordan+Wrigley+explains+the+benefits+of+meditating+and+doing+yoga+under+a+sky+of+stars.+
Yoga teacher Jordan Wrigley explains the benefits of meditating and doing yoga under a sky of stars.

Yoga teacher Jordan Wrigley explains the benefits of meditating and doing yoga under a sky of stars.

MATT ESTABROOK | The Daily Evergreen

MATT ESTABROOK | The Daily Evergreen

Yoga teacher Jordan Wrigley explains the benefits of meditating and doing yoga under a sky of stars.

AUDREY HUDDLESTON, Evergreen reporter

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This semester, the WSU Planetarium will host weekly meditative yoga sessions under the stars.

The program is called Stellar Meditation and Jordan Wrigley, a local yoga teacher-in-training from Aloft Studios in downtown Pullman, will lead the sessions. Wrigley was recruited by Dr. Guy Worthey, an associate professor of physics at WSU.

“The interesting thing about Stellar Meditation is usually one meditates with the eyes closed, and in Stellar Meditation we’re actually going to have our eyes open,” Wrigley said. “We’re going to be seated and leaning backwards, looking up into the dome of the planetarium. So instead of focusing inward we’ll have a focus on the stars projected on the planetarium roof.”

Wrigley has been actively leading meditation for about three years. She got started through friends who were interested in the practice. While an undergraduate environmental studies student at Western Washington University, Wrigley said she used meditation as a stress coping mechanism.

Wrigley also spent time in Japan studying Japanese culture, Buddhism and meditation while attending Rikkyo University, one of the oldest schools in Japan. After her time there, Wrigley traveled to Beijing, China and studied in temples there. She also spent three summers in India in the Himalayas.

Cecilia Richards, a yoga teacher at Aloft Studios and professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at WSU, is training Wrigley in mindfulness meditation, Wrigley said. Richards began practicing meditation in the ‘80s.

“She’s an incredibly impressive woman, and has just opened my eyes to different ways to meditate and the value to learning all those ways in order to help people help themselves,” Wrigley said.

When describing meditation, Wrigley said it can be personalized; the practice looks different to the person meditating. In America a popular meditation style is mindfulness-based stress reduction. This style helps people with issues like trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder cope with their anxieties, Wrigley said.

Traditional meditation is usually silent as it’s meant to be a quiet safe moment in your own head, but Wrigley allows some talking at her sessions and encourages attendees to ask questions.

Wrigley said the benefits of meditating include reduced anxiety and stress. She said there are studies that show reduced stress helps with overall well-being and health, while  also helping you make healthier lifestyle choices overall, such as eating more nutritiously.

Wrigley said one has to start meditating on their own. She suggests setting up a regular schedule and says mornings are usually the best time.

For further reading on meditation, Wrigley recommends picking up books by Tiffany Hu, Jack Kornfield or Tara Brach.

According to WSU Planetarium’s website, Stellar Meditation is free, but a $3 donation for operating costs is encouraged. The meditation sessions will begin at 12 p.m. every Wednesday afternoon in the WSU Planetarium.

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Meditation begins at WSU Planetarium