By Marj Snape of Fordington Yoga

There has been much recent interest in mindfulness as a technique to improve mental wellbeing and cope with the stressful demands of our busy world. This is a good thing as it gives people more resilience and grounding, but mindfulness is only one aspect of the ancient art of meditation.

Christine Feldman describes meditation as “A direct response to the universal desire for oneness, wisdom and freedom”. It is a timeless pursuit arising out of the human search for meaning and insight. The Yoga tradition is based entirely on meditation, and in its earliest forms was a seated contemplative practice in search for clear seeing.

There are many authentic and well-respected meditation traditions, and they all hold core values of sitting with attention, awareness, understanding and compassion. There are also many misconceptions about meditation and all the different techniques that can be used to help still the mind, but essentially it is the capacity to just ‘be’ – the ability to be as you are in that given moment, with all that is arising and all that you are experiencing.

There is increasing evidence of the physical, emotional and mental benefits of practising meditative awareness, and these are all to be welcomed, but I believe that meditation is also a deeper response to spiritual questioning, longing and yearning.

For me meditation has been, and is, a profound, inward journey and a life-enhancing experience; there is a simplicity and honesty in it that is often missed. Perhaps you, too, could benefit from some quiet contemplative time with like-minded people; some stillness and peace in your busy day?

In the spring I will be offering a five-week introductory course, ‘Exploring Stillness’, at Dorchester Yoga and Therapy Centre – this is suitable for complete beginners. Our regular self-enquiry meditation group will be resuming at the Friends Meeting House, Holloway Road, Fordington on Wednesday evenings, from 6.15-7.17pm from the end of February, and currently there is an early morning meditation group meeting on Wednesdays from 7-7.45am at the Yoga Centre.

Please see the website for further details –, email marjsnape@gmail.

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