How and Where to Meditate in Pittsburgh
April 10, 2019
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.
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.
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 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.
Holistic Health Studio
Illumepittsburgh.com | 412.573.9642
Downtown | 222 Boulevard Of The Allies, Fl 4
Mon -Fri 7am-9am & 4pm-6pm
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
A rich array of ongoing offerings free to the public including weekly public sitting meditation hours and dharma talks
Pittsburgh.shambhala.org | 412.345.1759
East Liberty | 733 N Highland Ave
Tue 7am-8:30am & 6pm-8:30pm
Wed 7am-8:30am & 6:30pm-9pm
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
A Soto Zen Practice Community
Lawrenceville | 137 41st Street
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
Massage & Wellness Center
Healingroots.center | 724.494.8206
Shadyside | 5829 Ellsworth Avenue
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
Olmoling.org | 412.904.1112
Greenfield | 1100 Greenfield Avenue
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
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
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!