‘Mindfulness is the key to the present moment. Without it we cannot see the world clearly, and we simply stay lost in the wanderings of our minds’
- Joseph Goldstein
We have started a new donation based Mindfulness Meditation class at Bristol Yoga Centre. This is part of a new programme of community classes that we introduced recently so that more people can come to our classes. It’s our strong belief that classes should be accessible to everyone. There are currently three community classes available and people can pay whatever they can afford. See here for more information.
The profit from my Mindfulness Meditation class goes to Bristol Mind, a mental health charity based in Bristol. Bristol Mind was originally founded in 1965 and aims to promote a positive view of mental health and encourage emotional wellbeing. It was important for me to have a sense of give and take for the community class so that we are not just doing our practice for ourselves but also for others. People will be benefiting from the practice and their money will be going to a really good cause.
The idea developed after I completed a foundation in teaching Mindfulness Meditation earlier this year. I’ve been interested in meditation for some time and studied BWY Meditation module several years ago as well as attending regular weekly classes. I’ve gained so much benefit and wanted to share the practice with others.
When I regularly meditate, I feel connected and relaxed not just during and after the class but also in everyday life. It was quite different experience from my asana (posture) practice. It’s much more refined and subtle but powerful and profound. My mind is clearer and settled yet focused and steady. I am much more aware of my actions and able to be in the present moment. As an Indian Philosopher, Jiddu Krishnamurti said ‘to understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet and still’.
I have been teaching the Mindfulness Meditation class for almost a month and there are now students regularly coming. The atmosphere is really friendly and relaxed, and we have different people coming from yoga teachers to complete beginners. A yoga teacher that’s been coming from the beginning said,
"Naomi's mindfulness meditation classes have given me a new depth which I had not known, or given time to explore, and which I've found extremely beneficial to my every day life. The way she incorporates breathing exercises, sound, sensation and body movement gives my practice an added immersive dimension so I'm excited to come and learn something new each week. Naomi is a profoundly knowledgeable teacher but she keeps the sessions accessible, creative and playful. The classes have given me a sense of spaciousness and sensitivity to my responses to daily life and I have felt able to be more peaceful, focused and in tune with myself and others."
Similarly, another regular student said,
“Naomi creates a calm and welcoming environment where it becomes much easier to switch off from the hectic goings-on of the outside world and really connect with your own inner sensations. She uses a great variety techniques including sound meditation and using energetic movement before settling to find interesting ways of accessing a meditative state. I leave the classes feeling relaxed and centred.”
It’s really fantastic that we are all able to practice together and I’m really happy about how it’s going. Usually we do two short sitting practices, gentle stretches and asanas, pranayama and relaxation techniques. I try and use yoga techniques to settle the mind and body in preparation for mediation. So far, we have been working on different themes every week, from importance of breath to learning how to relax. We also set aside a bit of time to discuss how it’s going so that people can learn and share from each other. I believe that students really benefit from sharing experiences and it helps to create a wonderful communal feel.
If you’re interested in the class, come and join us. My meditation class is on every Wednesday from 10-11am. Absolutely everyone’s welcome.