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Westport Teens Meditate to Beat Test Stress

WESTPORT, Conn. – Toquet Hall Teen Center is helping Westport students turn off the computer, put down their cellphones and learn how to relax.

Last Monday evening, Laura “Lulu” Meisels, a Reiki master and meditation instructor, hosted the first of three free meditation workshops at the teen center.

“They go through a lot of stress and don’t always have an outlet,” Meisels said. “It helps them recharge and regenerate.”

Toquet Hall has begun a series of workshops that aim to help students release energy in healthy ways. Yoga classes are scheduled for this month and the “paint and smash night,” when students broke things for fun and splattered paint, will be scheduled again.

“It’s just important to provide healthy outlets such as sports, arts and games,” said Kevin P. Godburn, director of Toquet Hall. “It’s good to give them a variety of options and techniques to destress.”

As June approaches, students are preparing to take finals, SATs and AP exams. For some, the thought of college looms overhead.

“I have two teens myself and I just see what they go through, even compared to what I went through,” said Meisels. “The social aspect, the homework, the electronics — they’re inundated with all of this. That’s what inspired me to do this.”

Until he was 4, her son had undiagnosed digestive problems that caused him to throw up five to six times a day. After going to specialists, Meisels found an organic healer in upstate New York who was able to cure him in an hour and a half. She began studying alternative medicine and Reiki shortly afterward. Learning how to help others through meditation followed next.

“It’s been cultivated through my own life struggles,” she said. “I’ve benefited so much from it. I’m so happy when I’m in front of people and guiding them to a peaceful place.”

Meisels wants to have her own meditation studio in Westport, but until then she hopes to continue holding free workshops at Toquet Hall. The next two workshops will be held on June 4 and June 16.

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