Club Chronicles: Mind, Body, Spirit

by Will Li (’23) | February 3, 2023

Photography by Rachel Safier

From daily sports practices to a never-ending stream of tests and projects, high school life can feel overly demanding at times. But the remedy to an overwhelming and hectic schedule is simply some time designated for mindfulness. Saint Francis’s Mind, Body, Spirit club offers just that with its Friday afternoon meetings, where members partake in various well-being activities ranging from sharing personal stressors in a group to loosening muscles with foam rollers.  

The club aims to provide “a welcoming environment where people can learn how to be mindful of their bodies, health, and mental health,” explained board member Sudeepthi Ravipati (’24). 

Initially part of the #LancersConnect student engagement initiative during the summer of 2020, the club is currently preparing to host a series of mindfulness activities in the Innovation Center this month, such as origami and Zentangle art (abstract black ink drawings on palm-sized pieces of paper using various patterns), according to moderator Ms. Rachel Safier. 

With this series, “we want to show people what we’re about,” said board member Anton Ivanov (’24). “We’re hoping to get a lot of people interested.” 

Typically, the club’s weekly meetings include a meditation or relaxation activity, such as a guided mental body scan to promote greater bodily awareness and breathing exercises. Another staple activity during meetings is social games (namely board or card games) to facilitate greater club interconnectedness. Often, meetings will also incorporate mindful movement, such as yoga and Tai Chi, as well as special forms of art designed to promote mindfulness and reduce anxiety, such as the aforementioned Zentangle drawings.

“The club teaches you skills you can implement into your own life that are really valuable for situations where you need to be more centered and calm,” explained board member Annika Gupta (’23). “People can pick and choose [which ones] they feel most align with their lifestyle.”

But even with the benefits reaped from meditation, games, movement, and art, many members’ favorite segment of the meetings is a discussion circle where conversation surrounds a certain wellness theme, such as body image, academic pressure, and personal issues that members wish to share. 

“It’s a safe space,” said Liana Cabael (’24). “Everyone usually shares a little something. When everyone is willing to be vulnerable and share something about themselves, the space makes me personally more comfortable with sharing stuff as well.” 

In the circle, “everyone’s heard and respected for who they are no matter what,” added Ivanov. “It’s nice to have people to talk to about how you feel in a judgment-free zone, and, [the circle] is a good way to meet new people.” 

Board member Georgina America (’23) noted that the group discussions allow her to speak to people she “probably would have never gotten close with otherwise.” She also added, “[The discussions have] really made me appreciate being able to sit and listen rather than being the one to talk.”

Similarly, Myra Malhotra (’26) mentioned that the circle allows her to “get a view of what other people are dealing with.” Ravipati described the discussion environment as “inviting” and replete with laughter, and Gupta sees it as a “haven” for people to share “whatever they want.” Aside from the assortment of activities already offered at the weekly meetings, the club is also considering organizing a nature walk at Cuesta Park.

Regardless of what the future holds, Mind, Body, Spirit will continue to be a source of tranquility and social support in an otherwise chaotic high school environment. “When I’m leaving [a meeting], I feel fulfilled,” said Ivanov. “Not only have I gotten stuff off my chest, but I’ve also been able to hang out with people and friends. I’m content, and I’m happy.”

Categories: Column, Features

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s