BEGINNERS: ‘Joy of Meditation’ courses & group (Sundays & Tuesdays)
Tuition for beginners consists of monthly courses on Sundays dovetailing with a permanent practice group on Tuesdays.
‘Joy of Meditation’ courses consist of two parts, both separate workshops 11am – 4pm on Sundays. Part 1 covers the basic theory and mechanics of Bhakti-Dhyana meditation, broadly following the Raja Yoga system laid down by the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: techniques taught include the systematic use of breathing, chakras, devotional visualisation and mantra. Part 2 inclines towards Self-Enquiry/Jnana Yoga, using more refined chakral techniques to develop Self-attention (Atma Dhyana), but also adds enhancements such as mudras, pranayama, kundalini and absent healing.
The ‘Joy of Meditation’ group (Tuesdays 7pm – 8pm and/or 8pm – 9pm) is a permanent class and practice group for beginners and is open to all those who have attended at least Part 1 of the Sunday course. No booking is required; participants may come for either or both parts of the session.
ACCESS: Part 1 workshops are open to all but places need to be booked in advance (see here for details and booking). It is not possible for newcomers to join the Tuesday group or attend Part 2 without completing a Part 1 session. If unsure about when to come along, please email the Centre for guidance.
INTERMEDIATE: Ramakrishna Group (Fridays and Saturdays 7pm)
Following on from the introductory sessions is the Ramakrishna Group, named after the famous 19th century Indian saint who was the living embodiment of religious harmony (as in this photograph, left: a contemporary of Sri Ramakrishna was Lahiri Mahasaya, the archetypal householder yogi, pictured a few paragraphs below. These two great souls are the principal inspirations behind the Dhyana Centre). The Friday session is open to the general public but the Saturday class is for Centre members and associates only, and those graduating from the introductory course who are automatically invited to join. It is not open to members of the public, even if they have prior yogic experience.
Friday – Meditation & OM Healing (open to all)
The Friday session is from 7pm – 9.30pm with a break between 7.50pm – 8.10pm to enable participants either to arrive or leave. The first half of each Friday is silent meditation for 40 minutes: the second half is an OM Healing chant session. This whole evening is open to all, there is no restriction and newcomers are welcome for either or both parts (but need to be punctual).
Saturday – Intermediate meditation class (registered students)
The Saturday session is a drop-in tuition group from 7pm – 9pm with two periods of silent meditation, both around 40 minutes. There is a break at 8pm allowing participants either to arrive or leave. As an on-going class, this session is open to Centre members and associates only plus those who have recently attended the beginners’ course (no booking is required).
ACCESS: Friday open to all, Saturday registered students only.
ADVANCED: Lahiri Group (every Monday 7.30pm)
The Lahiri Group meets every Monday evening in Crystal Palace, south London. This is open only by invitation to experienced members of the Ramakrishna Group. Meditations are a straight two hours.
ACCESS: DC members by invitation.
OM HEALING GROUP: every Friday 8.10pm
OM Healing takes place every week on Friday and consists of 45 minutes of audible chant. These sessions start promptly and there is no late admittance: they are open to the public but first-time attendees may wish to email the Centre in advance. The chant session commences at 8.10pm after a silent group meditation of 40 minutes which starts at 7pm. Visitors for the healing are also welcome to participate in the meditation or may come solely for the healing, in which case they should arrive between 7.50pm and 8.10pm (not before or after).
ACCESS: these healing sessions are open to all, no booking required, but visitors coming also for the meditation are expected to be able to participate in a silent and still group sitting for up to 40 minutes (it is possible to join the session just for the healing. Participation in the meditation is entirely optional). Those coming to the OM Healing for the first time must attend the introductory briefing which takes place at 8.10pm (late-comers will not be able to participate).
RETREATS: Sundays 12 noon – 6pm, three times a year
One day silent meditation retreats are held occasionally on Sundays at the Theosophical Society’s premises in London’s West End. Participants may attend for either the whole or part of the day.
ACCESS: DC members, associates and current students only.
MULTI-FAITH DEVOTIONAL SERVICES: Saturdays 7pm – 9.30pm
These participatory services are held three times a year as part of the Ramakrishna Group and involve multi-faith prayers, devotional singing (bhajans/kirtan), arati, readings, meditation and absent healing [click here to view some of the prayers and chants used by the Centre in these services].
ACCESS: open to all, no booking required.
Free of charge: the Dhyana Centre is run as a community service and all its activities are free of charge. It is funded entirely by voluntary donations from its members and students, and attendees are invited to contribute according to their means.