The Buddhist Dharma Center is a traditional option for learning mediation in Cincinnati. The beginner’s classes are an hour and half long and are divided into sitting and walking mediations, and short conversation. All classes are free, and donations are welcome to support the Center.
Health Improvements for Free
If I told you that with just a few minutes per day, you could drastically improve your health (at no cost!) would you be intrigued? While this may sound too good to be true, millions of people across the world are experiencing the benefits of daily meditation, and that number is growing. With multiple claims including the promise of improved memory, lower blood pressure, better sleep, and overall heightened clarity, it’s no wonder that the trend has exploded.
If you’re anything like me, all of this sounds great, and easy enough, right? Typically, I will sit down in a quiet spot at home with the intention of meditating for a few moments, and depending on the day, I’ll have success, or I’ll wind up feeling a bit frustrated, unable to quiet my mind.
What is the Buddhist Dharma Center?
When I stumbled upon the Buddhist Dharma Center and learned that they offer Beginner’s Meditation classes, I was pretty excited to check it out. When I learned that their Beginner’s Meditation class is an hour and a half long, my excitement quickly turned to skepticism… if I had trouble sitting even for just a few minutes in the comfort of my own home, how was I going to meditate for such a long period of time, surrounded by other people?
I am here to tell you that I, a meditation-beginner, found success in this class… and if you’re looking to gain a sense of balance and clarity through the art of meditation, I can’t recommend the Buddhist Dharma Center enough!
A 1.5 hour long meditation broken down
Our instructor’s name was Carlos Nazario, who, by the way, had the perfect voice and demeanor to lead a meditation instruction. At the start of the class, Carlos briefly explained the breakdown of the hour and a half ahead of us. Knowing what was in store was extremely comforting; while it may appeal to some, I was relieved to learn that I would not be sitting in complete silence for an hour and a half straight.
The first twenty minutes of the class consisted of silent, seated meditation. Carlos gently brought us back to earth simply by saying “breath” at the end of the twenty minutes, at which point many of my classmates chose to transition into walking meditation. This was something that I had never tried before, and Carlos made sure to mention that beginners are encouraged to try it out. For someone like me who struggles to quiet the mind during meditation, you may find walking around the room to be quite helpful.
At about the halfway mark, Carlos shifted our focus back to the class. We took turns introducing ourselves and sharing a bit about how the meditation was going for each of us individually. While many attendees seemed to be regulars, I was not the only first-timer, and I was relieved to find that I definitely was not the only person who struggled to quiet their thoughts.
Through listening to everyone share a quick remark about their meditation journey, I realized that I actually loved meditating in a group setting. It was energizing yet still serene, and very validating to hear that we all struggle to get comfortable, or to let go of that “thing” that happened at work… but we are all trying to become better – better meditators, and better humans.
The remainder of the class consisted of more meditation, again broken up into smaller time increments. At the end of the class, I truly felt more at peace, even if my practice wasn’t perfect.
Attending your first class
The Buddhist Dharma Center is located in the heart of Northside. Upon walking into the building, I was greeted by a quiet calmness that I hadn’t experienced in days… quite possibly even longer than that. The meditation hadn’t even begun, and I already felt more connected with my thoughts, clearer, and calmer.
The main room is set up to offer a variety of options for seated meditation. There are chairs, cushions, stools, and mats, and class members are encouraged to find what position is most natural and comfortable for them in true “choose-your-own-adventure” fashion. If you need help, ask! It’s a really non-judgmental zone and most everyone there wants to help the newcomers.
Wear comfortable, loose clothing and don’t eat a huge meal before or you may be uncomfortable. Go easy on yourself, it can be hard to sit in silence at first, but as I mentioned the benefits are amazing.
Jaime is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist from Cincinnati, OH who specializes in Women's Health. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon, where she is completing her Master's degree in Nutrition at the National University of Natural Medicine. In her free time, you can find Jaime looking for the best new restaurants and yoga classes in town.