Meditation in Montreal: The Classes, the Research, the Caveats
Stressed out? Overextended? Maybe looking for something to do to ease the strains of urban life while on a shoestring budget? Affordable relief in Montreal -- in the form of an ancient mindful practice -- is much closer than you think.
But Why Meditate?
The benefits of meditation are numerous and increasingly undeniable as a growing body of empirical research confirms anecdotal evidence touting meditation's positive impact in reducing stress, acting like a fountain of youth on the mind and body.
Mind Over Matter?
According to Dr. Herbert Benson, a leading Harvard Medical School researcher, 60% to 90% of visits to the doctor are stress-related complaints that respond poorly to drugs and/or surgery. Yet the regular practice of meditation:
- may reduce symptoms linked to stress such as anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, high blood pressure, chronic pain, insomnia, sexual disorders and fertility problems;
- may reduce the frequency, severity and duration of epileptic seizures;
- may increase empathy or the ability to feel what others are feeling;
- may reduce aggression and violence;
- may induce a sense of calm and happiness;
- may help overcome addictions; and
- does not appear to cause negative side effects.
Is Meditation a Panacea Then?
Not entirely. There are pitfalls and difficulties to overcome. As someone who got an early start in mindfulness and guided visualization training at age 3, I can attest that meditation practice is not a bed of roses.
There is a price to pay and challenges to face. A genuine, consistent meditation practice has a profound existential effect. Anyone considering the incorporation of meditation into their lifestyle should be aware of the dangers of its practice and the serious limitations of existing research claiming meditation is a cure-all before diving in head first.
Meditation is a commitment, a life-altering one. Tread with care, eyes open.
Meditation in Montreal
Meditation classes in Montreal are sometimes free of charge, opening the age-old practice to people of all budgets and backgrounds. And while learning how to meditate is easy, making the practice a habit is more of a challenge. Sometimes joining a group can offer enough motivation to keep going. The centers listed below are all located in and around Montreal and offer free and/or by donation meditation sessions.
Sahaja Yoga Meditation
Teaching a form of meditation called Sahaja yoga, some medical studies have suggested this "style" may be particularly beneficial in reducing epileptic seizures, asthma attacks and menopausal symptoms. Online classes are available as well as in-person classes in Montreal.
Rigpa Canada - Montreal Chapter
Tibetan Buddhist organization offering evening meditations open to all faiths.
Neighborhood: Plateau Mont-Royal
INFO: (514) 490-9092
Yoga on the Park
Guided meditation and Dharma talk hosted by Yoga on the Park in NDG Sunday mornings. Suggested donation $5. All proceeds support charitable organizations.
INFO: (514) 712-YOGA (9642)
Very welcoming Kadampa Buddhist organization offers free lunchtime meditation sessions, open to all faiths. Basic understanding of French is helpful in following some of the light instructions given at the beginning of a session. March 25, 2011 UPDATE: The Centre now charges a small fee for their guided meditations.
Neighborhood: Mile-End / Plateau Mont-Royal
INFO: (514) 521-2529