Oklahoma State University has created two walking labyrinths for people to use to meditate and study. While one labyrinth provides a peaceful place on campus grounds, the other provides an opportunity to enjoy the beauty in the Botanic Garden at OSU.
Unlike a maze that is meant to confuse the participant, a labyrinth is typically defined as a path with one entry and one exit point. David Brown, OSU Landscape Design Supervisor, designed the labyrinth on campus to create a peaceful yet, practical space for students to unwind.
“We wanted to provide a space that is restful for people,” said Brown. “Where people can stop, take a breath and use the labyrinth as a walking meditation to relieve stress.”
Sara Hills, student grief counselor and advisor for Actively Moving Forward, wanted to create a similar space that was accessible to the Stillwater community. She worked with other departments on campus in order to create another labyrinth in the Botanic Garden at OSU.
Throughout history, different cultures and religious groups around the world have used labyrinths in order to find peace. While walking labyrinths in the middle ages could have significant religious meaning, today, science supports the idea of using labyrinths as walking meditation to improve mental and physical health.
“What we are finding in the research is that there is a functional health component that’s the same as vigorous exercise,” said Hills. “So you can actually become physically fit by walking mindfully in a labyrinth and also have the mental health benefits that go along with that.”
The grand opening for the campus labyrinth located between Morrill Hall and Bartlett Center will be held Friday, Sept. 23, noon-1 p.m.
The Labyrinth in the Garden grand opening will be held Sept. 24 at 10:45 a.m. at the Botanic Garden at Oklahoma State University.
Story by Cassidy Williams