Learn to Meditate at Shambhala

Shambhala logoLast week I decided to reinvigorate my meditation practice with a group class. Shambhala Meditation Center, on 22nd Street, offers a one-hour “learn to meditate” class each Wednesday, no experience required. It’s $10 (suggested donation).

Like most public classes, Shambhala is breath-centered meditation. Like New York Insight, it’s mindfulness meditation in the Buddhist tradition. The difference between the two centers, the instructor answered, is that Shambhala includes mantra (a repeated phrase) or mudra (a hand gesture) meditations.

We started with a brief overview of technique, followed by a short sitting. There are big block cushions to sit on, or chairs for tight hips. I tried to focus my attention, and keep my gaze soft. Then, the instructor took questions and answers: What do I do if my back hurts? What does it mean when I get distracted? What’s the point? Finally, we did a brief walking meditation, which stretches out the stiffness of sitting, and provides a transition for taking the meditative mind out into the world.

If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, meditation practice is a great one. Drop into Shambhala any Wednesday at 6pm.