• No previous experience necessary.
• No Fee. Suggested voluntary donation to cover the studio rental: $8. No one turned away for lack of funds. Smaller amounts (and larger) are welcome.
• Facilitated by James Martin and Kevin Williams of Mindful Somatics Institute.
• Please wear clothing which allows for free movement (bring layers to regulate body temperature if necessary). Also bring a water bottle for thirst.
We gather in a circle of sitting cushions (zafus, zabutons) for a brief (five or six minutes) "settling in" sitting meditation, followed by a brief personal introductions period for the sake of newcomers. Then the facilitator (usually James) will explain the nature of our approach to our unique form of movement meditation. This is generally followed by a guided walking or laying down meditation, or some other guided embodied mindfulness practice -- which we like to keep changing and varied. After this, we open things up to an "open space" of practice, in which you are encouraged to explore movement (and/or sitting, standing, laying down ... whatever appeals to you).
Our approach to walking meditation is not the familiar, largely ritualized form seen in most Buddhist meditation halls. It's more like normal walking, but with a twist, as you shall see. The "twist" is the special way we pay attention to our walking.
Our approach to movement meditation, which is really at the core of these sessions, is to bring mindfulness to moving, breathing and sensing --, each of these independently at times and at other times any two or more of these together.
Rather than following a fixed or choreographed form of movement, as in yoga, tai chi, chi gong and the like, our approach to movement is improvisational and spontaneous. We "allow" our movement to arise however it will, trusting it to emerge and change as it naturally does. There is therefore no right or wrong way to move, and there is no expectation that the movement be dancerly or graceful. It can be, if it wants to. But we do not expect or demand that it does. Underlying our approach to movement as meditation is our profound trust that the body (or soma) simply knows how it needs to move in order to unfold its unique process of discovery and ... well, homecoming.
Our approach to embodied mindfulness practice draws inspiration from the teachings of Will Johnson (of Institute for Embodiment Training) and Reggie Ray (of Dharma Ocean) as well as from a diverse array of embodiment and somatics practices and wisdom traditions. As with all mindfulness meditation practice, we have found a paradox right at the center of what we do. The paradox here is that our practice is always about the present moment of practice, which is the only moment there is at that time. And yet, this is very much a developmental learning process. It therefore takes time, patience and repeated practice to receive the many healing benefits. We therefore encourage and support a commitment to "hang in there," trusting that whole new vistas will open up in time.