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A spirit that is not afraid

Mindfulness-based performance and health optimization sessions offered by Auburn faculty

<p>Reita Clanton and Ford Dyke presenting at the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center in May of 2021.</p>

Reita Clanton and Ford Dyke presenting at the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center in May of 2021.

Auburn University professor Ford Dyke and Olympian Reita Clanton have created Mindfulness-Based Performance and Health Optimization sessions that members of the Auburn community can register for. 

The goal of these sessions is to explain the adverse impact stress has on individuals by introducing mindfulness as a means mitigate these effects and achieve optimal wellbeing.

Individuals in attendance of a session can expect to understand the interdependent relationship between optimal performance and the Pillars of Performance and Health which include: respiration, hydration, nutrition, movement and recovery. 

While an individual can be functioning at a high level, one of their five pillars of health may be suffering in exchange. 

“The intention [of a session] is just to hold space for everyone there, to just receive the information in a way that helps them cultivate more mind/body awareness and draw on their resources to create a more balanced life that supports the vitality of their mind and their body and their spirit,” Clanton said 

The sessions began with a kinesiology basis as Dyke is a professor and Clanton is the Coordinator of Performance and Health Optimization in the school of kinesiology. However, the pair noticed a need for this information to be shared elsewhere. 

“Yes we talk about this from a kinesiology standpoint … but it's all interconnected,” Clanton said. “It’s providing information that is solid, and for everyone to come away with tools and resources that will help leverage their lifestyle for a greater vitality in mind, body and spirit.”

The sessions facilitated by Dyke and Clanton are tailored to fit the needs of each specific group.

“We customize everything," Dyke said. "Every time someone reaches out to us, Reita and I meet and custom craft whatever we think will be the best offering for that group. We don't have a one size fits all approach and, I think if we did, our audiences would know right away."

Session rates are dependent upon the format, duration and frequency of the session.  

Since starting the sessions together in 2017, Dyke and Clanton are rounding out at providing training to almost 4,000 individuals which include local, regional, state, national and international levels. 

Included in that 4,000, are people of all age groups and belonging to all different kinds of organizations. Some of the variety in organizations include elite athlete organizations, k-12 school systems, attorneys and physicians, business personnel, military installations and others. 

“[Mindfulness is] for everyone, and that's not a cliche catch-all phrase when we say that, we really truly mean that from the bottom of our heart, this is for everyone,” Dyke said. 

Any organization interested in learning about mindfulness as a practice to relieve stress is able to inquire at for more information on receiving a personalized session. 

Emily Nagy | Culture Writer

Emily Nagy, junior in sociology and a double minor in counseling and journalism, is a culture writer at The Auburn Plainsman.

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