Seattle is a vibrant city with so many breathtaking views and a unique culture for urban living, but one thing that makes it really great is how it embraces mental health and fitness through meditation. There are so many avenues of expression that you can find in and around the Seattle area, but meditation has become an integral way of promoting mental health.
Meditation comes in many forms and we are lucky enough to have access to its varieties from local places right here in Seattle. Looking for something specific? We’ve put together a guide for you so you can find a meditation practice that fits into your own life.
Loving-kindness meditation (also called Metta meditation) involves developing compassion for others and directing positive thoughts towards them. Often, you sit in a peaceful place, close your eyes, and think about people in your life that you want to send feelings of health and wellness towards. These can be guided sessions or something that you pick up on your own. This form of meditation has been shown to help people with PTSD in particular, but will give some respite anyone who practices it.
For more instruction, there are plenty of places in the area that offer Loving-kindness meditation practices. Meetup has a specific group in Seattle that meets to practice this form of meditation. You can also find guided recordings online to practice on your own time. SeaWay Mindful Stress Management is located in Washington, but they have a catalog of meditation recordings that you can access to practice this form on your own time.
The progressive relaxation form of meditation (also known as body scan) involves people becoming in-tune with their own bodies and locating areas and specific sources of tension. The meditation session then works to relieve these tension sources by intentionally relaxing their muscles. This form of meditation helps to relieve chronic pain, but it also promotes general relaxation and clear the mind.
The Breath Space located on NE 125th Street offers progressive relaxation techniques in their meditation classes. They offer a variety of meditations so make sure to call ahead if you are looking for a specific course.
This meditation form might be one of the most well-known. Since guided meditation sessions can be found online, this form of meditation can really be done from anywhere and on your own time. What does guided meditation actually involve? This practice uses visualization and guided imagery to help you form mental pictures encouraging you to relax. It really focuses on your senses and encourages you to see, hear, smell, and feel.
Seattle Shambhala offers weekly meditation sessions and these often include aspects of guided meditation. With many locations, you can probably find a Shambhala center near you. They are in Ballard, West Seattle, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Issaquah, Edmonds, Tacoma, and Port Angeles. Lotus Prana is another option where you can participate in guided sessions via Skype if an in-person meditation session is not possible.
Mindfulness meditation helps train people to become present in the moment. We spend a lot of time worrying about things that have happened in the past or things that might occur in the future. Mindfulness encourages you to embrace the moment and focus on your surroundings. This can be practiced almost anywhere and at any time. If you are feeling anxious about something or can’t seem to gather your thoughts, it can be very helpful to practice mindfulness meditation to clear your mind and relax your spirit.
Mindfulness is not necessarily something that has to be taught in a meditation center. Even therapists often teach mindfulness to their clients as it can help them through the therapy sessions. Finding a counselor that teaches mindfulness is easy. We have a list for you here of practitioners in various Seattle locations. If you are looking for a meditation center to join instead of a therapist, Seattle Insight Meditation Society practices mindfulness techniques in their Fremont and Kirkland centers.
If you are looking for a more active version of meditation, Kundalini Yoga is going to offer you just that! In this form of meditation, you will learn specialized movements combined with breathing exercises to clear the mind and strengthen the body. Often, Kundalini Yoga is associated with reducing pain and bringing about a greater sense of energy and mental health. Yoga is very commonly practiced in classes, but it is possible to learn the movements online in your own home.
Yoga itself has become a broad field and many different variation exist. If you are looking to learn traditional Kundalini yoga though, Guru Gayatri Yoga and Meditation Center would be a great place to learn. If you live nearby Denny Park, you can’t miss this center and should definitely go check it out!
If that location doesn’t work for you, 8 Limbs Yoga also offers a Kundalini series in their neighborhood classes. You can find their studios in Capitol Hill, Phinney Ridge, Wedgewood, and West Seattle.
Zen meditation practices can be traced back to Buddhism and involves specific postures that are learned through a Zen teacher. The posture and breathing methods might require some practice, but once you find comfort in the posture, you can focus on breathing and relaxing. Zen often goes alongside mindfulness practices as you concentrate on each moment to reach complete relaxation of the mind and body. When people think about meditation, usually the Zen form and posture is what will immediately come to mind. Practices for hundreds of years, Zen meditation has become a staple for meditators all over the world.
Seattle is quite fortunate to have meditation centers specializing in the Zen form. Seattle Soto Zen can be found on Nickerson Street in the downtown area and it is a popular place to learn the meditation practice. Just across the water in Fremont is another Buddhist meditation space, Nalanda West. They have open meditation sessions every Tuesday evening and Sunday morning if your schedule permits. Nalanda West welcomes everyone whether or not they have experience in meditation so it’s great for beginners.
The purpose of transcendental meditation is to enter a state of awareness that transcends your current physical state. It is typically spiritually driven and uses an assigned word or mantra that the practicing individual repeats until they achieve complete relaxation and inner peace, but without relying on their own thoughts. These sessions usually last for 15-20 minutes and are performed daily.
Seattle is home to Transcendental Meditation Seattle located on University Way in University District. You can sign up for classes and experience this form of meditation first hand. Many celebrities have promoted this meditation technique and because of this, the popularity has grown.
Did You Find What You Were Looking For?
Depending on what you are looking for, there are many different types of meditation that you can learn. If you really take the time to find a type that speaks to you, you will feel the calming, stress-reducing mental health benefits. This list is not extensive as there are many more meditation categories out there, but we hope it helped introduce you to some new types and helped you find some local centers to try out.
Have any more questions? Don’t hesitate to contact Mindful Therapy Group and we would be happy to help!