Blog Post #2: How Meditation Has Touched Lives in Laramie


About Meditation

Meditation is about bringing your attention to a single point of reference and keeping your mind away from distracting thoughts or ideas. The practice can involve a lot of concentration on your breathing, body and mind, trying to reach a point of mindfulness and peace. Studies have shown that meditation can impact a person’s life, and that is the case for some individuals in Laramie, WY.

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The Lives In Laramie

Leslie Waggener is an associate archivist at the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming. Waggener participates in meditation sessions held at the campus but also practices meditation at home for 30 minutes in the evenings.

“I came in rushed and very distracted, and I already feel calmer and just I can just tell my breathing is a little more eased. I just feel more peaceful,” said Waggener minutes after a meditation session.

Waggener first got into meditation after reading a Southwest airlines magazine article about a father who used meditation to help cope with the murder of his son. Through meditation, the father found himself at the point where he visited the man who shot his son and eventually started doing workshops with him.

After reading this story Waggener saw meditation as a powerful tool and wanted to see how it could help her with the stresses of her own life. Soon she started taking classes at the Shambhala Mountain Center, and eventually just fell in love with meditation.

Miguel Chen is the owner of Blossom Yoga in Laramie, where he is also an instructor. Chen’s mother first introduced him to meditation at a very young age.

“My mother was super into meditation and spirituality and mindfulness. So when I was a kid she would introduce this stuff to us but you know when your young stuff that parents like…your not prone to like it yourself,” said Chen.

Chen did, however, revisit meditation in his early 20s, and now is a trained mediation and yoga instructor. Chen mentioned there are sources that show meditation can have physical benefits for a person such as improving circulation by slowing down breathing. Chen also highlighted on the mental benefits of meditation, and that the practice can help with anxiety and depression.

“For me, I think there is just a lot of benefits that go with calming down and connecting inwards with yourself,” says Chen, “So many of us just spend our lives running around frantically and chasing one thing or another but what we don’t realize is that we have this innate ability to be happy and be at peace no matter what is happening around us.”

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 Toi Geil is a clinical psychologist, the associate director of the University of Wyoming’s counseling center and holds a Ph.D. in psychology. Geil refers to a study that reinforces the belief that meditation can be greatly beneficial for an individual.

“A study done in 2008 found that mindfulness training reduces stress hormones, and so you meditate you are actually engaging a relaxation response often times in your body and then that calms you and that kind of makes it so if you’re stressed it dampens down the stress hormones,” said Geil.

Geil herself has practiced meditation in her free time. She first turned to meditation back in 2008 when one of her family members had gotten into a serious accident. Due to the stress of being in and out of the hospital with the family member and not knowing if said member was going to survive, she started to practice and Geil said that she is so glad that she did.

After deciding to try meditation Geil got out one of her mindfulness books and started practicing. Eventually, her family member did get well, but Geil would go on to keep practicing meditation, and at one point joining a sangha (a type of meditation group) when she use to live in the state of Washington.

“It was really important to have a community to practice with, and to have some really good instruction in terms of how to actually meditate,” said Geil, “It’s one thing to read it in a book and it’s another thing to do it with guidance on how to actually do meditation.”

Where is Meditation available in Laramie

There are opportunities to practice meditation in Laramie such as the Ahisma yoga studio and also there is a Laramie Meditation Group that meets every Wednesday in the Canterbury House from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  Chen’s studio, Blossom Yoga, offers free meditation every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 6:45 a.m.

“And if that’s all they did say come to the free class and one other class they would see a great progression in their health and in their connection with themselves pretty quickly,” said Chen.

Chen’s studio also offers other types of activates such as yoga, pilates and special events. For more information about Chen and his studio, you can visit the website here.

University of Wyoming’s Wellness center offers a drop-in meditation class, some sessions led by Waggener, every Thursday from 12:15 p.m. To 12:45 p.m. The class is held in a room in the wellness center nicknamed the “Zen Den.”

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Blog Post #1: The First of Many…

Well, this is a first for me, I’ve never had a blog before. I did not even really know exactly what a blog was until about a week ago when my professor explained it to me. I know there was a Disney channel show called Dog With A Blog…

dog with a blog

Dog With A Blog (2012-2015)

…but honestly, anything that is post Suite Life On Deck never really grabbed my attention.

Although I am not super confident of my knowledge of blogs, one thing is for sure, I am very excited to learn about a lot of different areas in my Media Production course, for which I am writing this for. Someday I want to create my own media content, and it seems like we go over all the important factors of content creation.

I have some experience interviewing and writing articles, I used to be the high school sports journalist for my local newspaper. So in that area, I am pretty confident in my skills. Unlike the area of social media, I am far from an expert when it comes to that. I mean right now I only have…50 followers on Twitter.

seth meyers

Seth Meyers of Late Night with Seth Meyers (2014- )

I know Seth Meyers, it is kind of sad, I don’t hold a candle to the likes of You, Kylie Jenner, President Obama, or my grandmother who all have over a  million followers on Twitter.

The subjects I am most excited to learn about are photography, audio, and especially video. I want to create films some day and have done some work with video in the past. I even made a trailer for a movie about one of my high school teachers.

And yes that was Me in the starring role as Mr. McHale. I love watching that video because it was so fun to make, especially with my friends. However, it does also remind me that I put on just a little bit of weight…


Gary Cole as William “Bill” Lumbergh, Office Space (1999)

…okay, maybe I put on a lot of weight since then Mr. Lumbergh from Office Space! But the point is that I really enjoy working with video and I can’t wait to learn more about it.

Hopefully, the more I learn about these different areas the better content I can create, and the better blogs I can post. I can’t wait to be reporting on certain issues, events, and people this semester.

The type of issues and subjects I plan on reporting on will most likely deal a lot with the entertainment industry, entertainment on campus, and peoples opinions on those areas. I study a lot about the entertainment industry in my spare time, and I am very interested in it.

bill murray.gif

Bill Murray as Carl Spackler, Caddyshack (1980).

Well for the first blog post I’d say…it was not the worst, which is most often the best compliment I receive. I can’t wait to write more blogs and learn more about content creation in my Media production course.

And Hopefully, I can go from a “…it was not the worst” to a weird lighter thumbs up “thing” that BB-8 does.

BB8 thumbs up

BB-8, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

I hope you enjoyed my post, feel free to comment, and have a fantastic day!