Although meditation was once viewed exclusively as a spiritual practice, times have changed.
Did you know that most medical websites provide information on its health benefits?
Major newspapers, such as the New York Times and Huffington Post have reported on the scientific research. Meditation is now being incorporated into many inter-disciplinary fields and across the world, from standardized testing methods to pain management. Even the U.S. Marines are learning techniques.
You probably know that meditation reduces stress and promotes emotional well-being. The practice helps one gain perspective, calm, peace, and balance, as well as increase self-awareness and reduce negative emotions.
But even if you agree with its benefits, where do you begin?
In New Orleans there are about a dozen options for mediation classes, which is why it might be best to research what is available in your neighborhood.
In Mid-City, New Orleans, Balance Yoga and Wellness is offering a new meditation class, taught by Natalie Kaharick. Natalie has been teaching yoga, pranayama and meditation programs for over a decade and loves sharing the techniques with others. She uses a guided meditation method used by the Art of Living Foundation, which explores the connection between the breath, emotions and mind. The one-hour class includes breathing techniques, a twenty minute guided meditation, and time for discussion. The class is held on Sundays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. and you can offer a donation or use your membership or class card (No class May 17th or 24th; pre-register for meditation class here).
Here are few other meditation classes in Mid-City, New Orleans.
Mid-City Zen Center
Mid City Zen has its roots in the Soto school of Zen Buddhism as taught by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. The MCZ is a neighborhood Zen center, meaning that they are housed in the priests’ residential home. Their method includes two periods of thirty minutes of silent sitting meditation, which is broken up by a short walking period. If you are new to the center, the MCZ recommends visiting on a Sunday for instruction. A study group is also held on Sundays.
Teachers: Zen Priests Koji and Michaela
Cost: Donations welcomed but not required, Paid membership available
When: The center has almost a daily schedule which can be found on their website.
More info: http://zmcneworleans.org
Mindfulness Community of Greater New Orleans
The MCGNO practices in the tradition of Thich Naht Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King. Group participants volunteer to lead the meditation comprised of two periods of twenty minute silent sitting and a short walking period in between. In the second hour, a member reads from a book by Thich Naht Hanh and then participants volunteer to share how the reading relates to his or her meditation practice.
Cost: Donations welcomed but not required
When: Wednesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
More info: http://mcgno.org (Can also be found on facebook and meetup)
Swan River Yoga
The teachers lead a meditation, which is then followed by discussion. The techniques come from a tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and are often visual. Subjects include compassion, investigation of the absence of self, gratitude, death awareness, and emptiness.
When: Sundays, 4:00 – 4:45 p.m.
More info: http://www.swanriveryoga.com