ALEXANDRIA, MINNESOTA – Laughing Buddha Meditation Centre, a nonprofit with a mission to bring mindfulness based interventions to vulnerable population groups and the community for peace, healing, and self-care, changed its name to Midwest Mindfulness Meditation Centre, has opened a new location at Easton Place, and announces its Spring 2020 class schedule and formal community partners for outreach.

Laughing Buddha Meditation is now Midwest Mindfulness Meditation to properly and morally address the issue of cultural appropriation in using the name of a recognized Chinese Buddhism deity, Laughing Buddha. “In early 2019, Preeti Yonjon Feist, a first-generation immigrant of South Asian Diaspora from Nepal, and current Alexandrian, sent me a photo of a Laughing Buddha temple,” explains Marcie Wagner, Director of Midwest Mindfulness, “we met for three hours as she educated me on the religious significance of Laughing Buddha and the negative impact acts of cultural appropriation has on those who belong to a non-dominate culture.” It is part of the meditation centre’s core values to create a safe and welcoming space for everyone in our community. The board of directors at Midwest Mindfulness formally approved the transition to the new name and new brand in the fall of 2019.

Along with the name change of the organization, Midwest Mindfulness took over the lease previously held by Edgewater Natural Family Medicine at 510 – 22nd Ave E, Ste 202B at Easton Place in Alexandria, announced a spring class schedule, and formal partners for their outreach programs. Midwest Mindfulness has formal partnership agreements with organizations in the community to ensure our mindfulness interventions reach targeted population groups. Our collaborative agreements also ensure that this project connects partners with each other, using meditation as a bridge bringing unlikely populations together. “We are grateful to embed our mindfulness program within our partner sites at New Visions Center, Nelson Gables by Knute Nelson, and New Hope Healing and Resource Center” says Wagner.

Midwest Mindfulness Meditation Centre is the only nonprofit in Minnesota offering the nationally recognized Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. MBSR is one of the only evidence-based mindfulness interventions in the world, with just a handful of credentialed practitioners in Minnesota. The curriculum was created in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and is backed by 40 years of research through thousands of participant studies. MBSR is proven to transform your brain: minimizing depression, anxiety, anger, pain, grief, as well as maximizing well-being, joy, compassion, and awareness.

Through our Introduction to MBSR classes and the 8-week MBSR course we served 633 students with 75 classes hosted by community business and organizations. Of those students, 378 attended free classes. Dr. Marie Anderson, a Clinical Psychologist who serves as an adviser to the nonprofit and referring healthcare provider says, “Learning how to be present in your life is a significant way to deal with mental health issues and I am so thrilled that Midwest Mindful is here because we have needed this in our community for a very long time.” "Mindfulness meditation can help quiet the mind and release physical distress," explains Marcie Wagner, “The classes aim to help people from all walks of life learn skills to look after their own mental health and to find ease in every moment in life – especially the difficult ones."

Midwest Mindfulness Meditation Centre is a registered Minnesota nonprofit with a mission to bring mindfulness-based interventions to vulnerable populations and the community to find peace, healing, and self-care. In 2019 community members donated over $8,000 to open our doors at Easton place, and challenge statewide foundations to match their gifts with grant funding. Marcie Wagner, Director and Mindfulness Instructor, has over 1,200 hours in silent meditation with nearly 500 hours of mindfulness training and teaching under the direct guidance of the nation's most notable teachers at Omega Institute, Shambhala Mountain Center, Krame Center for Contemplate Studies at Ramapo College, IONS Earthrise Retreat Center, and the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. Interviews available. Follow us on social media: Facebook @alexandriameditation, Instagram @midwestmindful, Twitter @midwestmindful.