Contributed photo Jenny Morgan and Nathan Zafran of Awakening Indigenous are hitting the road for the third time to share free breathing and meditation techniques in facilitated group sessions across BC.

Wide awake on a mind- body journey

Free Awakening Indigenous workshops target trauma and anxiety with meditation

Before she began practising breathing and meditation techniques with Awakening Indigenous, Jenny Morgan said she often felt consumed by feelings of pressure and anxiety.

“In my day-to-day life, I have a pretty stressful job,” said Morgan, who is currently the director of indigenous health at the BC’s Women’s Hospital and Health Centre in Vancouver.

“I struggled with a lot of compulsive thinking and feeling overwhelmed, with a lot of thoughts coming at me at once. One of the issues I had was emotional eating and not really feeling the toll it took on my body, and that kind of builds momentum for an unhealthy lifestyle,” she said over the phone.

Looking for a better way to cope, Morgan met Nathan Zafran in early 2016, who introduced her to conscious breathing and meditation exercises he had fine-tuned in more than 50 years of practice.

“I had done a little bit of research before I met Nathan, and did try different techniques, but for different reasons they didn’t stick,” Morgan said. “What really drew me into giving this a try was that the techniques were easy to learn and practice right away, and it became part of my lifestyle.”

Morgan is now completing her doctorate in education through the University of Western Ontario and works as a sessional instructor at the UBC School of Social Work.

With daily implementation, Morgan soon discovered how certain thoughts could trigger certain emotions from past experiences. Within the first year of practice, she said she lost 60 pounds of weight by using the techniques to help deal with emotional and trauma-based challenges, tapping into what she calls “the sound of silence.”

“It starts with just a feeling… a sense of peace in your body and mind,” she said. “As I began practising I started hearing the sound of silence, it’s a very deep stillness that you can tune into and it will get louder as you start practising the meditation. And that’s where you place your attention and just let the thoughts come and go.”

Morgan then felt driven to partner with Zafran to create Awakening Indigenous, hosting free group sessions that offer breathing, meditation and self-healing services across the greater Vancouver area. As a member of the Gitxsan Nation, born in Terrace, Morgan wanted to get herself and Zafran on the road to make the group sessions more available to First Nations and smaller, non-Indigenous rural communities, free of charge.

“We really always want to make this free and accessible for everyone. We do pay specific attention to Indigenous communities, but it’s open for anyone to attend,” she said.

In 2018, the two secured funding to organize three trips to other communities in BC, finishing their first trip in February after travelling from Vancouver to Prince George and Quesnel. In March, Morgan and Zafran visited Tofino and Uculet BC for the second stretch of their tour and will soon be embarking on their largest trip yet on May 12 — nine days of group sessions starting in Kitimat, then Prince Rupert, Terrace, Hazleton, Moricetown, Smithers, and Hagwilget.

The group sessions are usually between one to two hours in length and have participants seated in chairs in a circle while Morgan and Zafran co-facilitate. At the end, written and video guides are posted online to their website and uploaded to their YouTube channel, with a newsletter sign-up and links to social media where people can stay connected.

“These techniques can help with high-stress situations, anxiety and depression, and being in a highly stressed environment. It can have an immediate impact on almost everyone who has a group session with us,” she said

Awakening Indigenous will be in Terrace on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Knox United Church on Lazelle Avenue.

Across BC Group Sessions in 2018:

May 18, 2018, 1:30-3:30pm, Kitimat, BC 1:30-3:30pm, Kitimat Public Library, 940 Wakashan Ave.

May 17, 2018, 2:00-4:00pm, Hagwilget, BC, Hagwilget Gathering Place, Hwy. 62.

May 16, 2018, 6:00-8:00pm, Smithers, BC, Smithers Public Library, 3817 Alfred Ave.

May 16, 2018, 2:00-4:00pm, Moricetown, BC, Moricetown Health Centre, 204 Beaver Rd.

May 16, 2018, 10:00am-12:00pm, Hazelton, BC, St. Peter’s Anglican Church, 4390 Government St.

May 15, 2018, 2:00-4:00pm, Terrace, BC, Knox United Church, 4907 Lazelle Ave.

May 14, 2018, 2:00-4:00pm, Prince Rupert, BC, Nisga’a Hall, 860 3rd Ave W.

May 13, 2018, 1:30-3:30pm, Prince Rupert, BC, Nisga’a Hall, 860 3rd Ave W.

May 12, 2018, 12:00-2:00pm, Kitimat, BC, Kitimat River Lodge Rec Centre, 654 Columbia Ave W.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

More fencing installed along CN tracks

City using federal grant to help pay for cost

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Illegal dumping pushes BC Conservation to the tipping point

Terrace office may bring violators to court to seek higher penalties

Eden Robinson talks Trickster Drift in Terrace

More than 160 people packed into the Art Gallery to see the award-winning author

UNBC ranks second on Maclean’s Magazine’s list

The Prince George university has regional campuses in Quesnel and Terrace

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Man surrenders after Terrace drive-by shooting

Police say shooting was targeted, public not at risk

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Most Read