By Lindsey Turnbull
Mindful of the rise in anxiety and depression the pandemic, lock downs, economic hardship and quarantines have had on people over the past 14 months, two entities have put the community’s mental health at the forefront, with some excellent programmes aimed at helping people to feel a good deal better about life.
Meditation at Pedro
The Tourism Attraction Board has teamed up with a meditation guru to bring to the community a meditation event at Pedro St James, introducing a series of meditation classes in the beautiful outdoor setting at Cayman’s beloved national attraction. The three-part series is set for 15th, 22nd and 29th May and will be held on the Steadman Bodden Lawn. Classes begin at 9:00 am and registration is only CI$15 per person and includes entry to the attraction itself as well.
Mona Meade, Marketing Coordinator with the Tourism Attraction Board, said that they decided to partner with Annikki Hill, owner of Blue Island Oracle to bring people the classes because of the rise in cases of anxiety and depression the world over and even right here in the Cayman Islands. Meditation on the Lawn is an initiative held in conjunction with www.BlueIslandOracle.com to teach people how to harness the power of their minds, she advised, stating that the aim was to build a community within Cayman which seeks the benefits of meditation and spiritual wellness.
“Together, we aim to offer up tools to encourage self-care practices, at a low cost, as well as offer a peaceful outdoor forum for the classes,” she said.
Ms Hill explained: “We believe that meditation is a tool available to every human being with a mind. This tool has been used throughout the history of mankind in different ways and in different parts of the world to different ends.”
The event is geared toward both genders, age 35 and over and there are just limited spaces so people are encouraged to book spots via firstname.lastname@example.org. Three different types of meditation are offered and participants must wear comfortable clothing and can bring along a journal, yoga mat or cushion.
Art and wellness
At the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, they are looking at ways in which they can also be responsive to community needs and present programmes that can help the entire community work through this current crisis, so they have launched NGCI Wellness which encompasses a series of great wellness classes, as well as some useful ideas for ways in which people can enjoy the Gallery and its indoor and outdoor spaces, in a bid to help people work through these difficult times. People will be glad to know that each class and programme is free to participants.
Mindful Mondays began in March, giving people the chance to come and contemplate artwork at an earlier than usual opening time from 9am for an hour in peace and quiet, helped by a mindfulness sheet which gives visitors the opportunity to properly engage with the artwork, either through journaling or sketching. Flexible seating allows visitors to sit and ponder the artwork for longer periods of time in quiet reflection.
The Gallery’s Siebens Labyrinth is a great place in which to walk and unwind, following the winding path that it takes and at the same time calm and focus the mind, while its nature trail is a treasure trove of interesting ad exotic plants interspersed with interesting sculptures. Visitors can pick up a trail map at reception and learn more about what they are viewing on their self-guided tour. They are also welcome to use the garden for picnics or simply to read a book, a great location for some tranquil time.
The Gallery has also teamed up with local practitioners to bring weekly yoga, meditation and mindfulness classes to their lawns and are developing virtual yoga sessions for those who are in quarantine or are otherwise unable to attend. Then on 29th May there is an hour-long drop-in art session beginning at midday especially for teens aged 14 to 18, where the youngsters can work on collaborative art projects, enjoy quality time with peers and work on meditative art projects. A series of nutritional advice aimed at providing information for parents was another important component of the Gallery’s Wellness programme.