Koru Mindfulness Opportunity at Denison

Phoebe Myhrum Bentley, University Chaplain & Director of Religious and Spiritual Life

In January I joined 30 professionals interested in bringing mindful practices to young people, particularly college students. We gathered at Arizona State University to learn how to teach the Koru Mindfulness® curriculum with the Center for Koru Mindfulness®. Koru Mindfulness is an evidence-based curriculum specifically designed for teaching mindfulness, meditation, and stress management to college students and other young adults.

The curriculum consists of three components: two 4-week classes called Koru Basic and Koru 2.0, as well as a half-day experience called Koru Retreat. In March, I began to offer the first course, Koru Basic, at Denison and I look forward to expanding offerings in the semesters to follow.

Koru Basic teaches participants alongside the book The Mindful Twenty-Something, written by Holly B. Rogers, MD. She captures nicely what’s in it for students when she writes, “Learning to inhabit the present moment is a powerful way to manage difficulties when they occur and to experience fully the more delightful moments of your life.”

One way to do this and a main goal of Koru Basic is to establish a practice of 10 minutes of meditation per day. Classes, which are accompanied by an app, teach various skills that students practice between class meetings. The curriculum boasts the following impact of 10 minutes of practice per day over four weeks: less stress, more mindfulness, better sleep, and less self-judgement.

When Koru Basic registration went live at Denison, the 12 spots in my class filled up quickly. It is a joy to teach these skills to Denison students. Much of the learning takes place when students bring their reflections, questions, and insights from their practice to class. What I have made sure to emphasize so far is that this learning is a journey, one that I am on with them, and one that takes the utmost patience and kindness. I love how The Mindful Twenty-Something and the Koru curriculum frame this journey for the emerging adult.

I get to teach students in really relatable ways about “observing mind” and strengthening its muscles, which might not be as strong as the muscles of our “judging mind.” We are conditioned to evaluate every moment of our lived experience, ourselves, and others; the Koru curriculum helps to “dismantle the trap” of doing so constantly.

So often stress-reduction can be the leading selling point for classes like this, and that is surely a benefit. I think the hidden gem though is practicing self-compassion. Of the many gifts of meditation and mindful practice in my own life, self-compassion may be the most transformative.

If you’re interested in participating in a Koru offering, contact Phoebe and let her know which class type interests you!

  • KORU BASIC: An introduction to mindfulness and meditation. Taught as a weekly, 75-minute class over four weeks by a trained and certified Koru Teacher.
  • KORU 2.0: An “advanced” class for students who have completed Koru Basic and are eager for more mindfulness. This course also consists of a weekly, 75-minute classes taught over four weeks.
  • KORU RETREAT: A half-day silent, mindfulness retreat for students wanting to try a more intense mindfulness experience.
April 17, 2019