Koru Mindfulness, Meditation Training offers dive into overall mental health wellbeing

Melissa Celko, director of the Kent State of Wellness program at Kent State University. 

Kenzie Johnston Reporter

Kent State of Wellness offers Koru Mindfulness and Meditation Training to faculty and students as a way to learn mindfulness and meditation in just four weeks.

Koru Mindfulness delivers an evidence-based mindfulness and meditation training specifically developed for college-aged adults, according to its website. The program was designed over the course of a decade by Holly Rogers and Margaret Maytan, who are both trained psychiatrists at Duke University. 

The four-week training program offers 75-minute sessions once per week, with a new program offered every month. All sessions are currently being held virtually.

Classes are free to Kent State faculty, staff and students. During the sessions participants are guided by instructors through meditations and breath-focused work. 

Throughout the course students learn a total of nine tools and techniques such as guided meditations and breathing practices. For each class, instructors will guide participants through meditation and mindfulness practices while focusing on at least two skills.

The training program was brought to Kent State by Melissa Celko, director of Kent State of Wellness. She said she wanted to bring the program to campus for many years because it has been such an important part of her life personally.  

“I have been meditating for over 25 years personally and it is a huge part of my life,” Celko said. “Koru is something that I wanted to bring to Kent State because I believe it can teach people valuable meditation and mindfulness techniques that they can use in their everyday life.” 

Roughly 750 to 800 people have completed the program at Kent State since the program was started, Celko said.

Celko is one of the 10 certified teachers of the course. The course has two versions: Koru Basic and Koru 2.0, but participants must complete Koru Basic to be able to take Koru 2.0.

Throughout each course, participants are guided through multiple different techniques.

“We offer a buffet style of mindfulness and meditation techniques,” said Mary Ann Raghanti, a Koru instructor, professor and chair of the Kent State anthropology department. “Many people that try meditating often haven’t tried the right techniques for them. We offer a bunch of different things to people so they can take whatever works best for them and use that.” 

Many benefits are associated with the training. Positive benefits include less stress, less anxiety and better sleep, Celko said.

“I’ve had a remarkable journey with meditation, and Koru has been a big part of it,” Raghanti said. “It has allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and also get out of my head and into the moment.” 

The program has been especially important during the pandemic by offering ways to improve overall mental health.

“We’re lucky to be able to help people during this time,” Celko said. “We know the pandemic can be a lot on mental health so we are happy to help the community during this time.” 

Anyone who is interested in the program can register through the website. The next Koru Basic courses are scheduled for April 5, 19, 26 and May 3; the Koru 2.0 courses are scheduled for March 30, April 6, 13 and 20.

Kenzie Johnston covers health and fitness. Contact her at [email protected]