RADFORD – Across the New River Valley on Wednesday, quiet mobs of people spread stillness and mindfulness to their surroundings, garnering curious glances.
InStill Mindfulness SWVA, a non-profit organization based in Floyd, organized three mindfulness flash mobs on Wednesday – one each in Blacksburg, Radford and Floyd – to increase awareness of its mission and in conjunction with GiveBigNRV, the Community Foundation of the New River Valley’s annual fundraiser for area nonprofits.
According to its website, InStill Mindfulness SWVA “creates increased self-awareness, greater life satisfaction, and healthier communities by helping people experience a deeper understanding of themselves and the world.”
“This is achieved through mindfulness-related education, resources, clubs, and retreats,” the mission statement continues.
Flash mobs “can often be quite raucous affairs, with people dancing, singing, or otherwise expending plenty of energy,” but Wednesday’s InStill Mindfulness SWVA’s flash mobs were designed to “turn that concept around,” according to organizer and InStill executive director, Jamie Reygle
“What does a mindfulness flash mob look like?” stated Reygle. “Well, if you were a bystander you would first see people walking very slowly, in a focused, deliberate manner. Then, you would notice them all converging on one location, where they all sit down and meditate. Sure, it may not be the most exciting flash mob ever created, but certainly intriguing.”
“While InStill is not expecting to raise a great deal of money through these flash mobs, like any good mindfulness organization the nonprofit is in the business of raising awareness, and it is hoped these flash mobs will raise awareness about the practice of mindfulness and the existence of InStill,” Reygle continued.
The flash mobs were held at the Blacksburg Farmers Market, the fountain in the Quad at Radford University, and the seats and benches along South Locust Street in Floyd.
Radford’s flash mob brought together about 50 people at the university fountain at the center of campus, The attendees included Dr. Alan Forrest, who teaches a mindfulness class at the university, and several of his students.
Forrest is a professor in the Department of Counselor Education at Radford.
“In addition to his personal mindfulness meditation practice, Alan has led, and co-led, mindfulness retreats for college and graduate students, medical students, human service and mental health professionals, educators, young adults and others,” according to his bio on the Radford University website. “He is actively involved in infusing mindfulness into both his counseling practice and into the college classroom and facilitates weekly mindfulness practice groups at Radford University for faculty and staff.”