Did you know that you can meditate for free at The Brunswick Center in Jersey City?
The former school at 189 Brunswick Street has transformed into an educational health and wellness center, where classrooms have been converted into dance studios, cardio and weight-training rooms, and the yoga & meditation center.
Volunteers run the meditation classes at 7pm on Mondays (or Tuesdays, depending on attendance availability in the meetup group) and at 5pm on Saturdays.
On my particular visit, Kushal Choksi, who works in hedge funds, was the instructor. We removed our shoes before entering the studio and sat on our mats. First, we did breathing exercises to open up our air passages. Then Kushal led us in a guided meditation that he said would be 10 minutes but when we finished it turned out to be 22 minutes. Time was irrelevent. In meditation, you are so focused on your inner body that you are not concerned with the outside world.
Kushal explained that most of our daily lives involve things pulling us in different directions and that both external and internal forces control our thoughts. But there is one way we can control our thoughts…through breathing. I certainly felt clear-headed and centered after the session, at peace with myself and my surroundings. We were living in the present moment.
I spoke to Amit Haryani, who often leads the classes at The Brunswick Center. He has studied yoga and meditation for 20 years and has taught for 15 of those, finding that it gives him inner peace from his day job as an environmental engineer.
Earlier in ilfe, when Amit was stressed out during exams, his classmate introduced him to “The Art of Living” happiness program, started by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The Brunswick Center location offers that as a paid program, once a month. Details here.
“The happiness program is about leading a lifestyle where you can truly be happy,” says Amit. “It gives you the ability to actually be the expression of happiness, rather than be in the pursuit of happiness.”
If anything can be determined from the demeanor of these men and other organizers, it is that they have an inner-peace that radiates positive energy and joy to all of those in their presence.
- Community Meditations: Monday 7-8pm and Saturday 5-6pm
- Community Yoga: Tuesday 7-8pm
- Happiness Program Schedule: Aug 27-31, Sept 24-28
- Meditation program: Aug 7-9, Sept 11 – 13