Guides

How and Where to Meditate in Pittsburgh

April 10, 2019

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Many people feel intimidated by the idea of meditating and give up too quickly when attempting to try it. It’s important to understand the basic foundation of meditation to avoid such pitfalls and misperceptions. Meditation is simply to think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time.

Like anything meditation will require practice to sustain the focus and duration of a meditation session. There is no set standard for the means one must meditate or an intention, but there are various techniques many find helpful.

It’s important to test out various methods to see what works best for you, and to be patient with yourself as you learn to quiet your mind, it may be many months or years before you can quiet you mind for a sustained amount of time, but that does not diminish the benefits of practicing meditation. Thoughts will likely pop up through a given meditation, and with practice you can quiet and dismiss those thoughts easier and easier. Different individuals need different types of meditation to quiet there mind.

Guided Meditation

It can be challenging to begin a meditation practice and quiet one’s mind without assistance. A Guided Meditation is led by an instructor who will gently walk your mind through relaxing visualizations. This guidance will help you let go of your focus on emerging thoughts and focus on the guides voice and their imagery. The meditation can be in the format of a relaxing story, a guiding mantra, or focused on a specific intention and invoke visualizing that intention.

Concentration Meditation

Another way to attempt quieting one’s mind is to focus your concentration on a single thing, whether it be a candle flame, counting beads on a mala, repeating an inspiring mantra (in your native language or Sanskrit), or listening to a repetitive gong or chant. Each time your mind wanders you simply gently remind yourself to resume focus on the thing you are concentrating on. It’s important to be patient and forgiving towards yourself in this process, and ease into only meditating for a few minutes to start and then work your way up to longer durations.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises. Overtime you’ll begin to recognize how your thoughts come and go in patterns. As your practice this awareness will help you to let the thoughts come and go with less judgement and you can develop a more balance inner dialogue.

Benefits of Meditation

There are many physical and mental health benefits to meditation practice

While relaxation may be a general goal for meditating, the impact of making time for that relaxation can improve your body and mental health.

Studies have found the following short-term benefits to the nervous system from meditation:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Lower heart rate
  • Less perspiration
  • Slower respiratory rate
  • Less anxiety
  • Lower blood cortisol levels
  • More feelings of well-being
  • Less stress
  • Deeper relaxation

If you’re seeking other modalities to help improve your mental health, the GRWHealth network offers a wide range of mental health support. From our Harmony Treatment center for psychiatric care, to Transformation Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy, which offers sustained relief from depression, quickly and painlessly.

Meditation in Pittsburgh

There are several meditation centers and venues offering meditation classes around Pittsburgh.

You don’t have to go it alone. Beginning your meditation journey in a class where a meditation instructor can guide you is a great launching point. There are a variety of venues offering meditation classes in Pittsburgh from meditation centers and yoga studies, to local libraries and retailers.

Illume Pittsburgh

Holistic Health Studio

Woman meditating in red light
Image courtesy of @illume.pittsburgh IG Illume offers yoga classes integrating meditation techniques as well as various integrative modalities one can experience while meditating

Illumepittsburgh.com | 412.573.9642

Downtown | 222 Boulevard Of The Allies, Fl 4

Mon -Fri 7am-9am & 4pm-6pm

Facebook | IG

Illume is a holistic wellness center offering a wide range of yoga classes, many of which include meditatie practices, as well as unique integrative modalities like LED Therapy beds, a salt chamber, Cocoon Wellness Dry & Steam Pods, and a Vibroacoustic Sound Lounge, all of which make lovely locations for independent meditation practice.

“The studio as well as every teacher I've worked with, have been warm, positive and so relaxing. This is a beautiful, accepting space to grow and be nourished!” - Chloe E. Facebook Review

Shambhala Pittsburgh

A rich array of ongoing offerings free to the public including weekly public sitting meditation hours and dharma talks

Group meditation at Shambhala
Image courtesy of Shambhala Pittsburgh Facebook Ongoing group meditations, workshops and classes are available at this Pittsburgh meditation Center.

Pittsburgh.shambhala.org | 412.345.1759

East Liberty | 733 N Highland Ave

Mon 6pm-8:30pm

Tue 7am-8:30am & 6pm-8:30pm

Wed 7am-8:30am & 6:30pm-9pm

Thu 7am-8:30am

Facebook

The teachings of Shambhala Buddhism emphasize the potential for enlightenment inherent in every situation or state of mind. Through discipline, gentleness and a sense of humor, the practitioner is invited to let go of conflicting emotions and wake up on the spot.

Mindfulness/awareness meditation is the foundation of all that they do at the Shambhala Meditation Center. This ancient practice of self-discovery is rooted in the simple but revolutionary premise that every human being has the ability to cultivate the mind's inherent stability, clarity and strength in order to be more awake and to develop the compassion and insight necessary to care for oneself and the world genuinely.

“The community at Pittsburgh Shambhala is extremely warm and welcoming. Whether you are are an experienced meditator with an established daily practice or have never tried meditation, you can join their "Open Monday" sessions (instruction for beginners available). Shambhala is founded upon Buddhism but takes a non-sectarian view, i.e., you won't need to learn any Pali chants, but you will be introduced to many Buddhist concepts about the nature of human goodness and suffering. The Center offers weekly group practice (see web site), classes, and retreats. Please check the website for current offerings.  The Center is fortunate have its own high-level "teacher/leader" called an Acharya, and he's a wise and gentle guide. If you are interested in meditation, and you'd like to find the basic goodness in yourself and work to build a better world, give Monday night a try! It just may change your life!” - Amanda W. Yelp Review

Stillpoint Zen

A Soto Zen Practice Community

Meditation cushions and Altar at Stillpoint
mage courtesy of stillpointzen.org In addition to providing a place for Zen practice, Stillpoint is a resource for information on Zen practice and teachings in the Pittsburgh area.

Stillpointzen.org | 412.578.0110

Lawrenceville | 137 41st Street

Wed 6pm-9pm

Sun 9am-1pm

Facebook

Zazen, or seated meditation, is the core of Stillpoint’s practice. In Zen, quiet sitting meditation is seen as the way to profound insight and awakening to one’s true nature. Stillpoint sangha members come from a variety of backgrounds and practice lineages to share this spiritual practice. During more than two decades of Stillpoint practice, many have found a home for their Zen practice at Stillpoint. They offer a beautiful practice space to share your simple Zazen practice with an open heart, welcoming all who are looking for a home where they can develop their practice.

“Great place for sitting meditation, low key,friendly. Not overly structured, I’ll be attending again!” -Shawn M. Facebook Review

Healing Roots

Massage & Wellness Center

Woman in child's pose
Image courtesy of Healing Roots Facebook Healing Roots offers Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra guided meditations

Healingroots.center | 724.494.8206

Shadyside | 5829 Ellsworth Avenue

By Appointment

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This Massage and Wellness Center offers a variety of therapies, energy work and massages in addition to Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra. This guided meditation systematically guides and relaxes you at every level of being including physical, energetic, mental, emotional, and spiritual layers. Through breath awareness, body scanning, and imagery, Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra invites you to become aware of each layer of being, without needing to change or fix anything. Yoga Nidra is a wonderful tool for stress management as well as for helping to heal physical, mental, and emotional pain that has gone untreated. Sessions are $60 for 45 minutes.

“Sarah has one of the most amazing souls. Her desire and ability to help others is matched only by her kind and contagious smile and personality. I recommend Healing Roots to anyone looking to expand their being in a healthy, mind body and soul type of way!” - Alan B. Facebook Review

Olmo Ling Bon Center & Institute

Dedicated to preserving the ancient teachings of the Bon tradition of Tibet

His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizin offering a blessing
mage courtesy of Olmo Ling Facebook Visit of His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizin to Olmo Ling

His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizin

Olmoling.org | 412.904.1112

Greenfield | 1100 Greenfield Avenue

8 Weekly Meditations

Facebook

Olmo Ling offers weekly meditation practice and teachings, prayers, meditation instruction and private interviews, and a study program that includes regular retreats with Tempa Dukte Lama and visiting lamas of the Bon tradition.

“Great Teacher and very friendly people! The shrine room has some really special thankas including a really big Bon Refuge Tree.” - Ian W. Facebook Review

Hippie and French

Luxury CBD Retailer Offering Weekly Meditations

Exterior of Hippie & French
Image courtesy of @hippieandfrench IG Purveyors of luxury cbd products and goods vibes via their weekly Monday evening meditations

Hippieandfrench.com | 412.407.9287

Lawrenceville | 5122 Butler Street

Mon-Sat 11am-7pm | Sun 10am-3pm

Meditations Mon 7-7:30pm

On Monday evenings this luxury CBD retailer stays open late to offer guided meditations. They are free and open to the public. They suggest arriving a little early and bring a towel or yoga mat to sit on.

Pittsburgh Sahaja Meditation

Simple meditation technique offered free at local libraries

Close up of hands during meditation
This simple easy to learn meditation technique is practiced by millions around the world.

Pittsburghsahajameditation.com

Sewickley | Sewickley Public Library | 500 Thorn St.

Meditations Saturdays at 11am

Mt Lebanon | Mt Lebanon Public Library | 16 Castle Shannon Blvd

Meditations Every Other Monday at 7:30pm and 8:30pm

North Side | Allegheny Public Library | 1230 Federal Street

Meditations Every Saturday at 11am

Oakmont | Oakmont Public Library |  700 Allegheny River Blvd

Every Thursday at 6:30pm

Sahaja Meditation is a simple, time-honored technique. It helps reduce stress and increase wellness. It brings better focus and helps people become more centered and better balanced. Anyone can do it. It’s also free at 4 local libraries for weekly meditations.

If you’re feeling stressed or are searching for some guidance to find more inner peace you have plenty of options in Pittsburgh to join meditation classes and communities. Find some peace of mind with any of these amazing organizations!


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