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Welcome to the Duke Health & Well-Being Programs website!

Meditate to Wellness

Mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness meditation have been shown to modulate stress response, reduce anxiety, depression, physical discomfort, and increase focus, positive emotions, and social connection. There is growing evidence that yoga, mindfulness meditation, and loving-kindness mediation alleviate immune responses and increase heart rate variability, both of which have a positive impact on inflammation control. This program uses mindfulness meditation (awareness of breathing and body scan focused on the skin), gentle yoga-style movement, loving kindness meditation with an emphasis on skin, mindful touch, as well as a workbook with background information and ideas for home practice.

Meditate to WellnessLearning Objectives:

  • Lessen stress/suffering and increase well-being through movement and meditations offered in the course.
  • Encourage kindness, patience, and
    compassion to facilitate self-care.
  • Strengthen one’s natural aptitude for mindful presence.
  • Deepen one’s capacity to live/be anchored in the moment
    through the body sensations.
  • Learn about the role of touch in forming one’s connection with self and the world at large.

Upcoming Dates and Deadlines

  • Program Schedule: Tuesdays; April 23 – June 4, 2024, 5:30 – 7:30 PM
    • Early Registration Deadline: March 24, 2024
    • Registration Deadline: April 20, 2024

Instructor: Riitta H Rutanen Whaley, MS, MSPH

Riitta H Rutanen Whaley’s meditation journey began in 1987, with four months of yoga and meditation training at the Himalayan Institute in the US and India, and she have maintained a regular practice since then. She completed three professional Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) intensives from University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness (by Jon Kabat-Zinn and others); Mindfulness Yoga Teacher Training by Zen Buddhist teacher Frank Jude Boccio; and numerous silent meditation retreats. Since 2011 Riitta has taught mindfulness classes and workshops at Duke Integrative Medicine and produced mindfulness practice CDs.  As the founder of Yoga for Life LLC, Riitta’s work is informed by her intensive yoga therapy training at Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (India), Himalayan Institute (USA), and Auroville (India). Her expertise includes yoga for cancer patients, yoga for seniors, eye relaxation, and mindfulness training for children.  Currently residing in the U.S., Riitta has also lived and worked in Europe, South Asia, and the Middle East, serving in various capacities, including as a technical officer of various governmental and international organizations.

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