By Sarah McGlinchey
A meditation studio opened its doors in Lafayette Hill eight weeks ago as the first modern meditation studio to hit the Tri-state area.
Since its opening, more than 200 residents of the greater Conshohocken area have “held space” for each other by taking one of its weekly classes or workshops.
What does it mean to “hold space?” It doesn’t mean to save a parking spot or a place in line!
Owner Jason Blau says this means encouraging others to come as who they are – to be yourself and in doing so, encouraging others to do the same.
“We ask students to come with no expectations, which is really what the practice of meditation is – it’s non-attachment, or letting go,” said Blau.
Blau, a trained yoga and meditation teacher who spent years suffering from stress and anxiety until finding the most effective relief was meditation, is breaking into a very untapped market, with only a few meditation studios nationwide and in North America. Currently, there are three studios in New York, one in Texas, one in California, and one in Canada.
In two studios, or spaces, students can take weekly classes in the areas of guided meditation (Guided Space), beginner meditation (Sit Space), kundalini (Creative Space), and yoga nidra (Rest Space). On Saturday mornings, Sit offers a community, donation-based, guided meditation class that is often held at a nearby park.
Though there is a beginner’s class, Blau emphasizes that all classes can accommodate all levels. To ensure that all levels could be accommodated, Blau worked with Whitemarsh Township to build the space as completely handicap accessible. “We didn’t want anyone to be excluded from the practice,” he said.
Most classes are 45 minutes, with 30-minute classes offered during lunch hour.
“With meditation, you can really just drop in,” said Blau. This means that students can come to class in their work clothes, which is an advantage for those practicing before, after, or during work.
Rachel Girman is a regular student at Sit who often drops in before work.
“For me, just starting my day this way keeps me focused,” she said. Girman, a resident of Chestnut Hill, is a full-time teacher. She credits the practice for making her less reactive and better able to manage stress.
Two of Sit’s most widely-attended classes or workshops are Family Meditation (Family Space) and Meditation for Kids (Mind Camp). Meditation for Kids is a workshop with the theme of “Be the Boss of Your Brain,” and is offered for children ages 5-8. Children participate in mindfulness-based activities led by Amy Wine, Certified School Psychologist for Central Bucks School District. Wine is credited with bringing mindfulness to the district.
“This [workshop] has been an incredible experience,” said Blau. “Because the children are getting to know each other.” Children learn simple breathing exercises, such as bumble bee breath, which is breathing in through the nose and buzzing out the lips, and bunny breath, which is three short breaths in through the nose followed by one breath out the nose.
Family Space is offered weekly on Sunday mornings for children of all ages, who are accompanied by their parents. The class is free for parents.
“What’s been really great about the Family Class is that during the week, the kids go off to school or camp, and the parents are coming back on their own,” said Blau.
Sit has formed partnerships with local schools, businesses, and places of worships to offer meditation off-site. In a few weeks, the studio will introduce a corporate meditation program called Your Space, during which a Sit teacher will come to a place of business and offer guided meditation there.
“People say to me, ‘I don’t have time to meditate,’” said Blau. “And my response is, ‘Do you have time to be stressed?’”
Blau and his team invite the entire community to experience Sit Meditation Space with a new client special of $45 for one month of unlimited classes.