Midday Meditation at Within Meditation SF
CLASS: Midday Meditation at WITHIN Meditation.
Wednesdays 12pm - 12:30pm
TRAINER: Ani Bular
Ani really knows her stuff when it comes to meditation. She practices what she calls “feel good” meditation, which focuses on feeling lighter, calmer and happier. Sign us up!
This is a mental workout, not a physical one. You’ll be sitting motionless for 30 minutes.
LEVEL: This class is great for those new to meditation as well as advanced meditators.
APPROX CALORIES BURNED: 0 (well, not completely zero since the body burns calories at rest, but you get the point.)
TOP 3 TAKEAWAYS:
Waiting to exhale: Ani’s classes are all about breathwork. She’ll remind you to bring your awareness back to your breath throughout the session. If you’re struggling at first: Inhale for 4, hold your breath for a count or two then exhale for four counts.
Let the thoughts creep in: The worst thing you can do when it comes to letting go of your thoughts is to fight them. It will only agitate your mind more and frustrate you. When you come across a thought, just note it and move back to the breath. It should be less of an action and more of an observation.
Sharing is caring: At the end of class, feel free to share your experience — whether it was positive or negative. Ani has so much knowledge in meditation that she will help you find a solution or offer advice to improve your practice.
MUSIC: There is no music other than the gong at the end that Ani uses to bring people back to the present moment after the session is over. Otherwise, it is completely silent aside from occasional guiding from Ani.
BRING: An open mind!
Pro Tip: It’s ok to move a bit during practice. You’ll likely find parts of your body tensing and getting sore. Ani advises to make necessary adjustments to calm your mind. She says if your body is not relaxed, your mind won’t be either. Once you make an adjustment, just take a couple deep breaths to slow the mind back down to where it was before.
Once you arrive, you’ll remove your shoes, place them on the marked shelf and check in at the front desk. If you need to change, there is a restroom to the left of the front desk as you walk in. Then sit on the benches outside of the studio to wait for the room the open. The meditation classes are always in the left, smaller studio.
There will be circular cushions set up around the room. Find one and sit either cross-legged or with your shins on the ground on either side of the cushion — whatever is most comfortable for you. Ani just asks that you keep your head, neck and spine stacked and upright.
The class starts with Ani asking about past meditation experience and what to expect. Then she will jump right in and have everyone close their eyes and begin to focus on the breath.
Ani likes to keep the class quiet so as not to distract the mind. She will occasionally jump in with advice along the lines of forgetting about the thoughts, letting them pass and to focus on the breath. This will continue for the entire duration of the session.
The most challenging part of the class for us was maintaining a cross-legged position for 30 minutes and by the end, some pain was accumulating. After the class, Ani mentioned that moving and changing positions is encouraged, to prevent the mind from getting too distracted by discomfort. It was also a bit challenging to suddenly jump straight into the meditation after rushing over to class through the rain and SF lunch hour hustle and bustle. It took about 20 minutes to really settle and get focused, so we really only got in a few minutes of real meditation. That said, those few minutes were pretty nice and set the tone for the rest of our day.
Ani will close the practice with three strikes of a gong, followed by a discussion about everyone’s experiences, to which she follows with valuable insight and tips.
WITHIN Meditation shares a physical location with Satori Yoga at 110 Sutter Street. So if you see signs for Satori, don’t worry. You are in the right place. The space itself is fairly small but efficient, with a small studio used for some yoga and meditation on the left and a larger yoga-specific studio on the right. The front desk is straight ahead and you’ll need to check in there before class.
There is a restroom but there are no showers. However, they do provide hot towels for those who like to freshen up after any of their classes. For those with valuables, take them in to the studio with you for class as there are cubbies inside. They also provide massage services as well.
The employees are all very kind and are work/trade volunteers, so they have a passion for the studio as well as yoga and meditation. They are willing to answer any questions about their policies, best practices and tips on any of the classes.
No matter if you are a beginner or experienced meditator, having a regular in-person, guided meditation class to supplement your meditation practice is a great idea. Classes are only 30-minutes (and there’s multiple lunchtime and midday options) so it’s easy to find time in your schedule to focus on your mental well-being.
A regular meditation practice is a must-have for anyone interested in health, fitness or wellness and can either be completed alone, with the assistance of apps like Headspace or in-person at classes like WITHIN.
WITHIN Meditation | 110 Sutter St. Suite 100 San Francisco | (650) 746-4470 | website
Pricing: Drop-ins are $20, Packages range from $59 - $149.
Monday evening classes take place at WeWork Montgomery Station (44 Montgomery St. 3rd floor San Francisco).