January 11, 2017 Healthy Living

Group Meditation in the Capital Region

For more than 2,500 years, people have used meditation as a means of promoting mindfulness and focusing on the present. Today, in a fast-paced world of increased stress and stimulation, what began as an Asian spiritual practice has snaked its way into everyday life. From corporate executives and professional football teams to busy parents and college students, a widening demographic is choosing to stop, sit, and breathe.

There are four common elements among the many types of meditation: a quiet spot free of distractions; a comfortable posture; a specific focus on thoughts or breathing; and a willingness to let go of fear, anxiety, and judgement. Meditation can be done alone, of course, but like yoga, another popular mind-body practice, it can also be experienced in a group setting – including many locations here in the Capital Region.

Benefits of Group Meditation

While meditating alone has its own merits, there are many benefits to group meditation, including:

Strength in numbers

Like many other activities, meditation can be enjoyed on its own, with a friend, or even surrounded by a group of likeminded strangers. Group meditation can provide a sense of community and a connection to the world around you even if you’re enjoying peace and quiet together rather than actively communicating.

Developing healthy habits

Home is a place where we feel comfort and security. It’s also a place with myriad distractions and responsibilities. We all know someone who bought a treadmill but used it exclusively as a clothes hanger and didn’t develop a fitness routine until they joined a gym or took their exercise outdoors. Home meditation can have the same pitfalls. Finding a meditation group can be the motivation some people need to cultivate a consistent practice and focus on inner peace without laundry beckoning from the dryer.

Feedback and support

Meditation groups typically include practitioners with varying levels of experience. If you’re new, knowledgeable members of the group can answer questions about different types of meditation and provide tips for creating a positive experience. Remember, everyone was a beginner once.

Meditation and Health

The health benefits of meditation are the same whether you’re alone in a mountainside cave or lost in a sea of people in a sun-drenched park. For thousands of years, meditation has been celebrated for promoting calmness, reducing stress, increasing self-awareness, and cultivating mindfulness. In recent years, however, what was once a practice rooted in spirituality – both secular and religious – is now supported by scientific data.

According to the National Institutes of Health, research has determined that meditation may reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, pain, insomnia, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and more.

Ready to try?

If you’re new to meditation and want to start in a group setting, or are an experienced practitioner looking to try something new, the Capital Region offers a range of options. Local meditation groups include many different styles and locations, so you can choose a group that’s convenient and in line with your interests.

In addition to the list below, many libraries, gyms, and yoga studios offer meditation classes, so keep your eyes open for community bulletin boards.

Albany Complementary Health

2021 Western Ave.

Albany, NY

(518) 333-0506

American Meditation Institute

60 Garner Road

Averill Park, NY

(518) 674-8714

Albany Karma Thegsum Choling

Doane Stuart School

100 Washington Ave.

Rensselaer, NY

(518) 872-1629

Diamond Way Buddhist Center

265 Morris St.

Albany, NY

(518) 250-6441

Grafton Peace Pagoda

87 Crandall Road

Petersburgh, NY

(518) 658-9301

Kadampa Meditation Center NY

19 Roosevelt Dr.

Saratoga Springs, NY

(518) 290-0330

Kingfisher Sangha

Still Point Interfaith Retreat Center

20 Still Point Lane

Mechanicville, NY

(518) 793-7501

Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church

943 Palmer Ave.

Schenectady, NY

(518) 374-7925

One Big Roof

58 Henry St.

Saratoga Springs, NY

(518) 581-3180

Shambhala Meditation Center of Albany

747 Madison Ave.

Albany, NY

(518) 632-1921

Shambhala Meditation Group of Troy

Sage Colleges

65 First St.

Troy, NY

Stram Center for Integrative Medicine

90 Adams Place

Delmar, NY

(518) 689-2244

The Sai Maa Community

596 New Loudon Road

Latham, NY

(518) 362-6136

The Tai Chi Center

36 Phila St.

Saratoga Springs, NY

(518) 260-1287

David Filkins
About the Author

David joined CDPHP in April 2016 and is the chief writer and creative lead. He writes and edits content and develops messaging and strategy to support internal and external communications. David has won multiple national awards as a newspaper reporter and served as a publicist for everything from small nonprofits to global brands. He graduated from the University at Albany with a degree in philosophy. In his spare time, David enjoys the outdoors, reading, cooking, live music, Boston Celtics basketball, spending time with his children, David and Daisy, and searching for exciting and unusual experiences with uncertain outcomes.

8 Responses to “Group Meditation in the Capital Region”

  1. gleda baldini

    Please expand the group meditation to locations south of Albany. Coxsackie or Ravena would be nice

    • David Filkins

      The Sadhana Center and Karuna Shakti offer meditation classes that may be more convenient for you. Also, check community bulletin boards for meditation classes at places like your local library or yoga studios.

  2. Diane Walsh

    I am interested as I struggle with many medical diagnosis’s and also take care of my Mom who lives with me.

    • David Filkins

      We’re glad to hear the blog sparked your interest in meditation! Start by talking to your doctor about what’s right for you based on your medical conditions. Good luck!

  3. Diane Walsh

    I would be very interested about learning more on meditation.

  4. christina

    Nice Post. Thanks for sharing the information 🙂

  5. yash

    Super awesome post! Thanks for sharing with us.

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