When you think about meditation, do you envision sitting cross legged in a candlelit space, breathing deeply, maybe with a mantra, (trying) to let the thoughts float away?
While a traditional seated meditation practice undoubtedly offers many benefits to those who love to practice this way, it’s important to note that it is not the only way to go. And, it’s not necessarily the best practice for everyone.
The benefits of meditation, which include feelings of relaxation, groundedness, clarity, inner connection, and peace can be received in many different meditation practices, including dance and music mediation.
As you explore your options, the key is to remember that whatever you’re drawn to and however you show up is 100% perfect. There’s no need to bring any judgements into your spiritual and wellness activities.
Here are some of the beautiful alternative meditation practices popping up around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. If seated meditation just isn’t working or you’re wanting to add an additional meditation practice to your wellness routine, here are the dance and music meditations that await you in and around Vancouver. Enjoy!
- The Drum Yoga Chant group led by Lyle Povah at Bridge and Enrich meets quite frequently to chant together and explore drum rhythms in a way that helps bring the body into alignment. By combining the sacred disciplines of drumming, yoga and chanting, you will experience a felt connection to your deeper self. Drop in cost: $15 – $20
- Every sunny Tuesday at Third Beach in Stanley Park a gathering of drummers meets up, open to everyone who wishes to join. This group meets loosely after work until the sun goes down. You can discover more on their website here.
I recently spoke with the president of the Yasodhara Ashram, Swami Lalitananda, who explained to me that there is a rich history of dance in the yogic tradition, both as a devotional practice and a way to experience oneself fully alive.
Dance is said to offer a more fully embodied form of meditation, and there are quite a few interesting and diverse dance meditation options around Vancouver.
- This upcoming event, called Dancing into the Temple, happening at Bridge & Enrich, will give people a sense of the meditative dance practiced at the Yasodhara Ashram, in the Indian tradition. There’s a rich mythology around dance, not surprisingly given that Shiva is said to have danced the world into creation. To try one of Swami Lalitananda’s simple dances at home, click here.
- The Kundalini Dance™ offered by Martine Kleissen of Heartpreneur is described as a “sacred, tantric, shamanic practice” where you can authentically express yourself through movement, breath and sound. In Martine’s classes, dance becomes a transformational process, where each person is encouraged to practice deepening into presence and self-healing. She works with the energy of movement to support each dancer to align with joy, love, peace and freedom. It doesn’t matter if you are super awkward or have no rhythm, nobody will notice – these events are truly all about your own personal journey. Click here to see what’s coming up.
- 5 Rhythms Dance is another popular form of dance meditation, which you can find all around the Lower Mainland and beyond. Designed to “awaken body, mind, movement and soul through movement meditation” the purpose of 5 Rhythms is to help each dancer explore the vast territory of body, heart and soul in motion.
- Bhangra Dance can mean many things depending on the teacher. We’ve got our eye on this upcoming dance class with Guru Anter at Yoga West in Kits, where you can find quite a few beautiful movement-based classes and workshops to support a meditative lifestyle. Click here to learn more.
The vibration of sound is a beautiful way to help us drop out of the mind and into presence.
From Kirtan with Enchant Vancouver and Kirtan for the People, to Sound Meditation with West Coast Shamanic, to Sound Journeys with Matthew Kocel, there are many sound meditation experiences to explore across the Lower Mainland.
We’d recommend starting here to see all your options, and then reading up a little on each teacher to see what resonates. Check out this article for an in depth look at sound meditation teachers around Vancouver.
Ultimately, with any of these experiences, it’s best to come with a clear intention and open mind. If one of these movement or music meditations doesn’t connect, try a few more! And please let me know what you tried and what resonates; I’d love to hear about your experience or meet you at an upcoming meditation.