Contributed photo Jenny Morgan and Nathan Zafran of Awakening Indigenous are coming to Terrace as part of a tour to share free breathing and meditation techniques.

Wide awake on a mind- body journey

Free Awakening Indigenous workshops target trauma and anxiety with meditation

Before she began practising breathing and meditation techniques with Awakening Indigenous, Jenny Morgan said she often felt consumed by feelings of pressure and anxiety.

“In my day-to-day life, I have a pretty stressful job,” said Morgan, who is currently the director of indigenous health at the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre in Vancouver.

“I struggled with a lot of compulsive thinking and feeling overwhelmed, with a lot of thoughts coming at me at once. One of the issues I had was emotional eating and not really feeling the toll it took on my body, and that kind of builds momentum for an unhealthy lifestyle,” she said over the phone.

Looking for a better way to cope, Morgan met Nathan Zafran in early 2016, who introduced her to conscious breathing and meditation exercises he had fine-tuned in more than 50 years of practice.

“I had done a little bit of research before I met Nathan, and did try different techniques, but for different reasons they didn’t stick,” Morgan said. “What really drew me into giving this a try was that the techniques were easy to learn and practice right away, and it became part of my lifestyle.”

Morgan is now completing her doctorate in education through the University of Western Ontario and works as a sessional instructor at the UBC School of Social Work.

With daily implementation, Morgan soon discovered how certain thoughts could trigger certain emotions from past experiences. Within the first year of practice, she said she lost 60 pounds of weight by using the techniques to help deal with emotional and trauma-based challenges, tapping into what she calls “the sound of silence.”

“It starts with just a feeling… a sense of peace in your body and mind,” she said. “As I began practising I started hearing the sound of silence, it’s a very deep stillness that you can tune into and it will get louder as you start practising the meditation. And that’s where you place your attention and just let the thoughts come and go.”

Morgan then felt driven to partner with Zafran to create Awakening Indigenous, hosting free group sessions that offer breathing, meditation and self-healing services across the greater Vancouver area. As a member of the Gitxsan Nation, born in Terrace, Morgan wanted to get herself and Zafran on the road to make the group sessions more available to First Nations and smaller, non-Indigenous rural communities, free of charge.

“We really always want to make this free and accessible for everyone. We do pay specific attention to Indigenous communities, but it’s open for anyone to attend,” she said.

In 2018, the two secured funding to organize three trips to other communities in B.C., finishing their first trip in February after travelling from Vancouver to Prince George and Quesnel. In March, Morgan and Zafran visited Tofino and Uculet B.C. for the second stretch of their tour and will soon be embarking on their largest trip yet on May 12 — nine days of group sessions starting in Kitimat, then Prince Rupert, Terrace, Hazelton, Moricetown, Smithers, and Hagwilget.

The group sessions are usually between one to two hours in length and have participants seated in chairs in a circle while Morgan and Zafran co-facilitate. At the end, written and video guides are posted online to their website and uploaded to their YouTube channel, with a newsletter sign-up and links to social media where people can stay connected.

“These techniques can help with high-stress situations, anxiety and depression, and being in a highly stressed environment. It can have an immediate impact on almost everyone who has a group session with us,” she said.

Awakening Indigenous will be in Kitimat on Friday, May 12, from noon to 2 p.m. at Riverlodge Rec Centre and on Friday, May 18 from 1.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. at the Kitimat Public Library.

Just Posted

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

District extends State of Emergency another week

There’s lots of work ahead, but today was a good day: BC Wildfire Service

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Thousands prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice

Northwest B.C. and Cariboo seeing most fire activity in province as crews battle 490 fires

Terrace-area hiking trail closed due to grizzly activity

Closure of Gunsight Lake Trail expected to last one week

Telegraph Creek wildfires merge into one

Wind shift offers chance to secure southern flank of 28,000-hectare blaze

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

Woman missing after car swept away by mudslide near Cache Creek

A search is now underway for Valerie Morris, who has been missing since the afternoon of August 11.

Most Read