Hello Newcomers - you are all welcome.

orientation: first Monday of every month, 6:15PM EST

CIRCLE YOGA 3838 Northampton St., NW, Washington DC

Orientation is optional for newcomers. No registration required. Just come as you are.

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS MEDITATION?

Mindfulness is the ability to be present without any judgment. The breath is a powerful tool that helps us become present. Simply by noticing how our breath feels in our body or even counting our inhales and exhales, we are present! When our thoughts wander away from our breath – which is completely normal – we gently bring our thoughts back to our breath. At that moment when you notice your mind has wandered, you are also being present. This is the practice of mindfulness. When we sit, or lie down, and spend any period of time – 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 20 minutes - focusing on our breath, this is mindfulness meditation.

When practiced often, the benefits of mindfulness meditation include creating the space and freedom we need in order to choose how we respond to the events in our daily lives. We practice to strengthen our ability to be present when we are in a safe and calm environment, which makes a difference in reducing levels of stress and anxiety. Then we really start to cultivate a life of well-being and understand our unconscious motivations when we face difficult times or difficult people. Rather than immediately going to a place of fight or flight, we use our mindfulness practice and remain present, which allows us to manage the stress much more effectively.

Opening Heart is committed to curating mindfulness meditation sittings that are open to all. We created this Sangha – which is simply a group of people who wish to practice together as a community – to give people a venue where they can practice in a safe and comfortable environment among like-minded people. It is especially designed to be easy, gentle and relaxing. We welcome you to come and give it a try.

MONDAY EVENING SCHEDULE:

7:00-7:20 sitting meditation

7:20-7:30 walking meditation

7:30-7:45 sitting meditation

7:45-8:00 introductions and topic

8:00-8:30 weekly topic discussion

WEDNESDAY MORNING SCHEDULE:

6:30-6:50 sitting meditation (facing out of circle)

6:50-7:00 walking meditation

7:00-7:10 sitting meditation (facing out of circle)

7:10-7:20 introductions and reading current book

7:20-7:30 sharing

FRIDAY NOON SCHEDULE:

12:00-12:20 sitting meditation (facing out of circle)

12:20-12:30 walking meditation

12:30-12:40 sitting meditation (facing out of circle)

12:40-12:50 introductions and reading current book

12:50-1:00 sharing


Our intention as a community is to be open and welcoming to all.

The Open Heart Mindfulness Community (OHMC) seeks to foster understanding and compassion by providing vibrant and generous opportunities to practice mindfulness within a diverse community in the Plum Village tradition, founded by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh.

We highly value the diversity of racial and cultural identity and background, nationality, sexual and affectional orientation, gender identity and its expression, religious background and belief, marital status, family structure, age, mental and physical health and ability, political perspective, and educational and class status. 

We recognize that in supporting racial and social justice equity within our sangha and throughout the mahasangha, we support the work of transformation individually and collectively.

In consideration of those who have chemical sensitivities, we ask that you do not wear any fragrances (including essential oils) while attending Opening Heart meditation events.  

Please contact us if you have a challenge that might prevent you from attending meditation at Circle Yoga so we can support your ability to join us.  We meet on the second floor, but are able to move to the first floor when needed.

Here is what you need to know before getting started:

  • There is no one right way to meditate. Listen to the instructions , find a comfortable way of sitting, follow what others are doing, and relax. Sitting and walking meditation become second nature with practice.

  • All those who meditate have difficult moments emotionally and physically. It’s perfectly normal. When you notice any discomfort or strong emotions that arise, take notice and then return to focusing on the breath.

  • Busy thoughts are also common. Again, take notice and return to the breathing.

  • If you have any questions or concerns please chat with the group facilitator after the meditation period.

  • Sit or walk with us and simply tune into the sitting or the walking . There is a lot to learn from those simple acts.

Walking Meditation, as described by plum village

Walking Meditation with Thich Naht Hahn

Wherever we walk, we can practice meditation. This means that we know that we are walking. We walk just for walking. We walk with freedom and solidity, no longer in a hurry. We are present with each step. And when we wish to talk we stop our movement and give our full attention to the other person, to our words and to listening.

Walking in this way should not be a privilege. We should be able to do it in every moment. Look around and see how vast life is, the trees, the white clouds, the limitless sky. Listen to the birds. Feel the fresh breeze. Life is all around and we are alive and healthy and capable of walking in peace.

Let us walk as a free person and feel our steps get lighter. Let us enjoy every step we make. Each step is nourishing and healing. As we walk, imprint our gratitude and our love on the earth.

We may like to use a gatha as we walk. Taking two or three steps for each in-breath and each out-breath,

Breathing in “I have arrived”; Breathing out “I am home”
Breathing in “In the here”; Breathing out “In the now”
Breathing in “I am solid”; Breathing out “I am free”
Breathing in “In the ultimate”; Breathing out “I dwell”