San Diego provides a great opportunity for enhancing health and wellness. During a recent trip to Manhattan and Washington, D.C., I was surprise to learn how many friends and acquaintances relate such ideas to L.A. So, I thought a story on health and wellness in the San Diego area was in order.
On a Sunday morning…
Meditation is about connecting with your emotions, Courtney Kimpo, our instructor tells us. About a dozen people, some seated on blankets resting on the bamboo floor and others seated in chairs, prepare to practice meditation (on Tuesday evenings that number jumps to 50 people or more). Flickering candles line the floor before Courtney.
Today, we will go into relaxation, followed by concentration, and heart-centered meditation, she says.
Sounds easy enough.
But sitting in my chair, I am thankful that we are commencing with some stretches at the top of this hour-long session. Having practiced meditation before, I can tell you that well-intentioned surrender to these gentle directives can ignite a misfiring of synapses.
A melodic flute charms the space, and we flow into part one: Relaxation. Relax the muscles in your forehead, your face, Courtney coaxes with soft ease…
Open your eyes slightly and focus on the candlelight or the darker shades of bamboo on the floor, she suggests as the class transitions into concentration. She guides our breath and our attention like a thread. We end the session with a vibration of sounds that crest into a concert of “Om.”
I do not see colors or shed tears of joy, but I feel my heart beat. I sense my spirit. I brush something pure.
After the session, I ask Courtney if she has any suggestions for those of us for whom meditation does not come easy.
“Begin slowly. Begin with patience. Begin with a positive reading — something that brings you inspiration. Try to connect with the joy of your heart center and know that everyone has challenging moments with meditation.”
A few minutes later, back out on Adams Avenue, I see Courtney again. “Do you know what I really want to say?” she asks.
“What I really want to say is if you are having a hard time getting into meditation, come to a Pilgrimage of the Heart meditation.”
I smile, and think to myself, see you next week.
Located in Normal Heights (10 minutes from downtown), Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga studio offers free meditation on Tuesdays and Sundays.