Amid the hustle and bustle of Bethesda’s Elm Street, an oasis of calm offers insights to restore your emotional balance. Exercise to stretch body and mind is the focus of The Mindfulness Center. Plus massage and bodywork that’s on a par with the best spas and retreats.
The Mindfulness Center has an unimpressive location atop a Wells Fargo Bank. But the light-filled studio dispels concern about claustrophobia. Thankfully, no religious symbols or statue of Buddha is in the sparely-furnished reception area. Arriving early for my massage appointment, I observed a meditation class in progress. About 20 participants sat cross-legged, breathing deeply, Mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation in which you relax your mind and become peacefully mindful of the moment. Breathing deeply anchors the mind in the present; when thoughts arise they are recognized without judgement…and released.
The group included a number of seniors, as well as young practitioners. All seemed blissful and refreshed as the hour-long session ended. Having a quiet place in the middle of Bethesda obviously serves a need. Fees for group meditation classes range from $20 to a three-class sampler for $30, and an unlimited month of classes for $49 when you enroll in a monthly auto-pay program. Open, un-led sessions on Mondays at 2 p.m. are free.
Benefits of breathwork are taught in workshops. July 13th from 2 to 4:30 p.m. instructors from the Quintessence Institute will show how Qmeditation increases your focus and concentration. The goal: optimizing your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Membership is not required to register.
Founded by Dr. Deborah Norris, a member of the American University faculty in psychology, the Mindfulness Center in Bethesda is empowering people to heal themselves. In her practice, Dr. Norris integrates lifestyle elements, from diet and herbalism to meditation and spiritual development,
This integration of mind, body, and spirit reminds me of the program at the famed Miraval resort in Arizona. Miraval’s integrative wellness rules are the subject of a new book by Dr. Jim Nicolai, M.D., director of the program with Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. There’s also a Miraval cookbook for mindful eating, that I’ve enjoyed at the desert resort near Tucson.
Massage and bodywork are aspects of wellness that enhance the Bethesda Mindfulness Center at affordable fees. Despite a smallish space and lack of showers, 20-year veteran therapist Terry Sankar practices sports massage, prenatal and post partum pregnancy massage, infant and juvenile massage and lymph drainage massage as well as geriatric bodywork and care giving. His book “The Handbook of High-level Wellness” is dedicated to the proposition that good health and well-being is largely a matter of deliberate choice and consistent habit – small investments on a daily basis. His goals in his practice are to soothe, heal, educate, motivate and empower his clients towards an improved quality of life in the here and now.
The Mindfullness Center in Bethesda, MD., brings it together. Yoga, massage, acupuncture, Tai Chi, aerobics, and meditation. A rare find, the array of workshops, classes, and personal services brings mindfulness to all dimensions of community life.
Contact: The Mindfulness Center, 4963 Elm St., Bethesda, MD 20814.