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;
- can 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;
- is likely to induce a sense of calm and happiness;
- can help overcome addictions; and
- does not appear to cause any negative side effects.
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 so why not join a group for some motivation? 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.
Joy of Yoga Meditation
Walking and sitting meditation courses offered at no fixed price. While not advertised as free, donations of any size are welcomed. Suggested donation $10.
Neighborhood: Downtown Montreal
INFO: (514) 569-7652
Rigpa Canada - Montreal Chapter
Tibetan Buddhist organization offering weekday morning and 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