Guided meditation classes are offered at the Vail Athletic Club
Creating a consistent meditation practice has been shown to reduce stress and improve physical health. The Vail Athletic Club currently offers five 20-minute guided meditation classes per week, as well as workshops and teacher trainings.
Karen Anderson is the Yoga Studio Director at the Vail Athletic Club. In the spring of 2007, Anderson attended a 30-day silent meditation retreat in India and she says it changed her life.
“Since then I have practiced daily and attended 10 additional silent retreat months, as well as numerous shorter retreats,” she shares. “I started teaching a few years into practicing, as requested by my teacher at the time. I later pursued more formal training, after realizing how much I enjoyed teaching.”
Anderson says meditation has improved her relationships to others and to herself.
“I feel more relaxed about the ups and downs of life, and more connected to those around me,” she shares. “I feel more and more able to stay grounded in love, regardless of circumstances.”
To help with the practice, Anderson recommends finding the right kind of meditation.
“The first thing to do is to choose what practice is appropriate,” she explains. “This could be done through consulting a teacher, or reading a book, or trying some different online guided meditations to see what feels right. For most people, mindfulness is going to be the foundational practice, but feel free to find your own way!”
The next thing is to decide if you want to work with guided meditations to get your instructions, or to get your instructions from a book or online source.
“A great book for mindfulness instructions is Bhante Gunaratana’s Mindfulness in Plain English,” Karen recommends. “Or I offer a by-donation online course that is twenty-one days of 15 minute guided meditations https://www.yogavail.com/mindfulness.”
Then, it’s up to you to actually practice! Anderson says this requires making it a habit.
“Set up a dedicated space if you’re able, even if it’s just a corner of your bedroom,” she says. “Decorate the space a little if you like, to make it feel special. Then try to practice at roughly the same time every day, so that it starts to feel normal.”
Pick a length of time to practice that works for your schedule.
“There is no correct amount of time, but you want it to feel doable,” shares Anderson. “Then engage with your instructions until you know them. Once you know how to do the practice, stop reading books and listening to recordings, and just engage in the practice for a while!”
It can be helpful to check in with a teacher from time to time, to feel confident that you’re on the right track.
“Any of our instructors at the Vail Athletic Club can be helpful for this, and anyone is welcome to email me at email@example.com,” she shares.
And don’t constantly judge your progress.
“The Dalai Lama recommends checking in once every 10 years to see how you’re doing,” Anderson says. “That being said, if after a couple of years you don’t see any improvement in your life off the cushion, you should either check with a teacher to see if you’ve misunderstood the instruction, or try a different practice, or move on to something else!
“I was a generally happy person before I started practicing,” she adds, “so I didn’t expect to find so much value in it. But I have to say that the fruits of practice inform and improve my daily life without exception.”