Whether it’s to practice mindfulness, or part of a religious experience, meditation offers many health benefits.
Meditation, the act of contemplation with the goal of increasing calmness and relaxing the body, is a proven way to relive anxiety, stress, fatigue, sleep disturbances and even reducing blood pressure, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
It’s a practice seeped in Asian, Buddhist and Hindu traditions, and has been around for thousands of years in multiple forms.
Interested in beginning meditation regularly, or simply learning more about the practice? These eight meditation centers in NoVA offer daily, weekly and monthly classes.
Based in the tradition founded by Thich Nhat Hanah, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who promotes mindfulness, the center teaches conscious breathing—being aware that you are breathing, and focusing solely on that. Anh-Huong and Thu Nguyen lead the meditation classes, both of whom were among the first students to be ordained as meditation teachers by Thich Nhat Hanh. Classes include sitting meditation, walking meditation, Tai Chi and Chi Kung. // Mindfulness Practice Center of Fairfax, located at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation: 2709 Hunter Mill Road, Oakton; Morning, noon and movement sessions $10 suggested donation; Evening sessions $15 suggest donation; Workshops $40-$80
A Tibetan Buddhist meditation center, The Guhyasamaja Center follows the Gelug tradition, which is the same as the Dalai Lama. You do not need to be a Buddhist or want to become Buddhist to participate in the meditation classes and events. Classes offered include introductory meditation, mindfulness meditations, silent meditations and meditation classes for kids. The center hosts weekly meditation circles every Wednesday from 7:30-8:30 p.m. // The Guhyasamaja Center: 10875 Main St., Unit 108, Fairfax; $8-410 suggested donation
A Japanese martial arts and Soto Zen meditation center, Heaven & Earth Aikido’s mission is to improve the self and the world through self-defense, harmony and balance. Its Soto Zen meditation group, called Warrior Zendo, is affiliated with the Atlanta Soto Zen Center headed by Hojo TAiun Elliston. All are welcome at the twice-a-week meditation sessions, held after martial arts classes 8:15-9 p.m .on Wednesdays and 12:45-1:30 p.m. on Saturdays. You do not need to be a member of the dojo to participate. // Heaven & Earth Aikido: 688 Spring St., Herndon; $10 suggested donation
A Dhammakaya temple, the Meditation Center of DC offers three types of meditation sessions: beginner, silent and one-day retreats. The center teaches middle way meditation, a technique where participants focus on the center of the body and visualize a crystal ball (or other object of mediation) to still the mind. // Meditation Center of DC: 3325 Franconia Road, Alexandria; Free, but donations welcome
With class locations across NoVA, including Chantilly, McLean, Vienna, Ashburn and Reston, participants are taught self-realization meditation, founded by Shri Mataji. The goal is to “align the chakra” to create a balanced feeling. // Locations vary; Free
The Reiki Sanctuary of Northern Virginia, which focuses on serving women, teaches benefits of meditation, short mindfulness meditation, reiki meditations, moving meditations and how to create your own meditations in its reiki meditation class. Reiki is a healing theory based on the principle that the reiki practitioner can channel energy into the patient by means of touch to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and emotional well-being. // 703-830-8515; Prices vary
A yoga and Tai Chi studio, Namoo’s classes focus on relaxation, energy awareness and core-building. Each class includes core energy breathing and energy meditation, mixed in with traditional yoga and Tai Chi moves. Classes are offered daily. // Namoo Yoga Taichi: 14098 Lee Highway, Centreville; $20-$1,290
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