On Wednesday, May 27. the eight-week mindfulness workshop held through Falmouth Human Services and led by Sang H. Kim concluded with applause.
The number of initial enrollees (320) required human services personnel to scramble and find a larger space at Falmouth High school and also attested to the interest in mindfulness in the community.
“There has been interest out there for a while,” said Karen Cardeira, director of human services. “But it has been difficult to get people together. That’s what happened here.”
During the last class participants went through 12 movements called MBX-12, which combine mindfulness, deep breathing and stretching, for one last time together.
Dr. Kim drew from his martial arts experience and research studying mindfulness to develop MBX-12.
By this final session the participants were experts moving together, eliciting the peacefulness of yoga, the power of martial arts, and the flow of dance, especially when they concluded the evening practicing to Beethoven. At points the only sound was their synchronized breathing.
People of all different ages, both male and female, were part of the group, which included students.
“I think it is life-changing,” said Joan E. Dwyer of Falmouth about the class. “My life is pretty old, too.”
Family members and friends did the class together. Diane C. Freitas of Kompass Drive was part of the group who signed up early and her son Michael was able to join her when they found the larger space.
“I had my heart broken the week before and I was looking for something to help me in the transition,” Ms. Freitas said “At the first class I felt a connection, and it has had a profound impact on me as well. I am very thankful.”
For some taking the class was a step out of their regular routine.
“I usually can’t sit still,” Shirley R. Conley of Homestead Lane said. “At the first class I thought that we should be doing Zumba.”
Now she practices regularly at home and plans to continue now that the class is over.
Others commented on how they felt healthier after doing the class.
“I am sleeping better and taking less medications and I feel more confident,” said Gayle D. Starratt of Carriage Shop Road.
She and others talked about how this mindfulness practice could benefit children and students with handling stress.
“I wish we could take it to the schoolchildren,” Ms. Starratt said.
Husband and wife Douglas F. and Lisa D. Garland of Seaside Lane did the class together and, looking back, wished that they had encouraged their daughter to join them.
“Kids really need to hear that it is okay to take care of themselves,” Ms. Garland said.
Each person’s experience with the class was different.
One woman who did not want her name published said that she did not reach the calmness her friend in the class experiences by practicing mindfulness.
“I am just too stressed,” she said.
But now all the participants have the tools to continue practicing if they choose.
“You are all on your way for self-practice,” Dr. Kim said as the evening came to a close.
Dr. Kim will not be holding any more sessions in the near future because of family obligations.
Ms. Cardeira said that some participants have talked about meeting up and practicing together on the beach.
After the class many people came up to thank Dr. Kim and gave him gifts.
“They think I am the teacher,” Dr. Kim said. “They teach me about life, too. It’s mutual.”