Got 30 minutes a week? It’s all you need for these ‘stress busting’ seminars

A half hour, once a week, is all you need to learn techniques and practices that will help in managing stress, which we all encounter in our daily lives – especially during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Faculty of Health Professor Harvey Skinner will teach how simple Qi Gong practices can empower us to care for our health and well-being during the 10-week series Stress Busting: 30 Minutes of Magical Practices beginning Jan. 18.

Professor Harvey Skinner
Harvey Skinner

Students in Skinner’s Global Mental Health fourth-year undergraduate course found Qi Gong and mindfulness practices very helpful for calming down and managing stress, and, at the end of the course they raised a challenge for him: to open the practice to everyone at York.

Last fall, Skinner led a nine-week series of ‘Stress Busting’ practices delivered online via Zoom. Each 30-minute session features Qi Gong, which combines the calming and insight benefits of a meditation session, the flexibility and balance of a yoga class, and the strength and endurance building of a bodywork routine. Starting with 12 participants on Oct. 19, 2020, interest in the series rapidly grew by word of mouth, and resulted in 73 registered participants by the final Dec. 17, 2020 session.

For Winter 2021, the initiative has been expanded to run over 10 weeks starting Jan. 18 from 12 to 12:30 p.m. and running until March 25 with three programs:

  • Qi Gong (Mondays and Thursdays) –  a typical 30-minute session involves breath work, energizing movements, purging exercises, flowing movements and meditation.
  • Mindfulness Meditation (Tuesdays) – a typical 30-minute session involves mindfulness of breath, awareness of body sensations, loving-kindness and self-
    compassion practices, RAIN meditation for strong emotions.
  • Capacitar Healing Practices (Wednesdays) – a typical 30-minute session involves meditation and mindfulness, finger holds and other body holds for managing emotions, Tai Chi – Qi Gong movements, emotional freedom technique, acupressure points.

These programs are offered for free to the York University community. Details about the series and registration are available from the Stress Busting website or by contacting Skinner directly by email at harvey.skinner@yorku.ca.

Skinner is a professor of psychology and global health and was founding
dean (2006-16) of the Faculty of Health. His daily wellness routine includes: Qi
Gong energy and movement practices, mindfulness meditation and body work exercises.