Meditation Classes in Bristol
Our meditation classes in Bristol are deeply integrated with the other exercises that we practice within our school. Through the gentle movements of Tai Chi and Qigong we can wash away many of the stresses and strains that are accumulated in daily life. Then, in order to cultivate this practice on a deeper level, it is also very common to use seated, standing, or lying down meditation exercises. As our mind becomes quieter, we learn to appreciate the peace and well-being which naturally emerges from the still centre of our being.
Note: The word 'mindfulness' has recently become an important part of scientific discourse around the benefits of meditation practice. It is used to describe the awareness that can be developed through focusing the mind on a given object. The NHS website recognises Tai Chi as a useful exercise for developing mindfulness, and acknowledges that mindfulness can help mental well being. For more research on mindfulness and its benefits you can also visit the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.
In everyday life our minds are usually jumping about like a wild horse, or tossing and turning like waves on the sea. In meditation practice, we endeavour to bring our minds back into our own body, and observe what is happening there in order to develop insight into our current state. Each time that our mind wanders away we simply bring it back and over time we start to cultivate a feeling of deeper stability. Then, just as muddy water settles after being left still, our mind too can settle and become more clear. As we quieten our mind, we come to find the still centre of our being, and to explore its connection with the world around us.
Within our school there is a very strong emphasis on sitting with good posture so we more often than not choose to sit in a chair to practice these techniques. This allows us to stretch and open our spinal columns, and makes it much easier to sit without slumping or leaning to one side. This method of sitting can then carry over into our sitting habits in everyday life.
What to Expect
We generally start our meditation practice by bringing awareness to our body – stretching and opening our spinal column in order to cultivate good posture. This helps to prepare our body to sit for longer periods of times, and we can always return to this if our mind wanders too far afield. Next, we bring awareness to our breath, refining our outward-breath so that it gradually becomes longer and gentler. Working with the breath in this way helps to calm our mind and body, and can naturally bring us to a state of deep stability. Then, we let go of body and breath, and allow ourselves to simply rest in the natural state at the centre of our mind. Here, we can come to understand how our thoughts arise and can develop insight into the ways that we interact with the world.