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Mindful Meditation Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Washington Hospital Class is Open to Women and Men

Vanessa and Juan Campos look forward to Monday evenings. That’s when the couple takes time to focus on themselves and learn ways to cope with some of the stress and anxiety they are facing by participating in Washington Hospital’s Mindful Meditation and Yoga class.

Being able to reduce their stress and be more present in the moment is important to the couple. That’s because Vanessa was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects the lymph system.

“The class makes me feel calmer about my situation,” Vanessa said. “We learn different techniques to calm our minds every week and it’s such a supportive environment. You can definitely feel the warmth from everyone in the room.”

The Mindful Meditation and Yoga class is held every Monday evening from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Washington Women’s Center Conference Room, suite 145, located at 2500 Mowry Ave. (Washington West) in Fremont. The class costs $40 per month (four sessions) and registration is required by calling (510) 608-1301.

“Meditation is a gift you give yourself,” said Laura Constantine, RN, coordinator of the Washington Women’s Center. “It is one of the most grounding things you can do for yourself. Meditation allows you to be fully present in your own life, and supports you in being your best self.”

The class incorporates mindful meditation techniques with gentle yoga poses and is appropriate for women and men of all physical abilities. The different poses are completed while sitting in a chair, standing, or lying on a yoga mat.

Mindful meditation is a form of meditation designed to develop the skill of paying attention to our inner and outer experiences with acceptance, patience, and compassion, Constantine explained. Participants learn how to withdraw their attention from distracting thoughts and redirect it to the physical sensations of breathing.

Finding Peace

“My husband and I feel so much better afterward,” Vanessa said. “I think it’s something everyone could benefit from."

Vanessa was surprised when her husband said he wanted to go with her. They found out about the class when they were looking through some brochures to see what types of services were available after one of her oncology visits at Washington Hospital.

“I told him he didn’t have to come, but he wanted to do it with me,” she said. “I thought he just wanted to be there for me, but then I realized it would be good for him. My diagnosis has been hard for him, too.”

It turns out the class has been great for Juan. Not only is he dealing with his wife’s recent cancer diagnosis, but he has a stressful job as a construction foreman.

“It’s definitely helping me with my own stress,” he said. “I wanted to go with her to be supportive, to be a strong back for her. But the class is good for me, too. It helps me put everything else aside, my stressful life, and just concentrate on me. I’m under a lot of pressure at work with constant deadlines.”

Juan said that while the class is held at the Women’s Center, it’s also a very supportive environment for men. He encourages other men to give it a try.

“You can take what you learn and use it outside the class,” he added. “One Saturday morning, I decided to relax my mind and listen to my breathing. I could hear the birds singing outside. I felt like I was floating that day.”

Vanessa agreed, “It’s teaching me skills I can use. I feel at peace, more relaxed. My diagnosis was hard to accept, but I want to live my life to the fullest and enjoy it. This has helped reduce my stress and anxiety. I’m just so glad Washington Hospital offers something like this, and it’s affordable.”

For more information about other programs and services offered at the Washington Women’s Center, visit