Best Urban Meditation Spot

Siddha Yoga Meditation Ashram

The main hall of this Oakland ashram has gotten quite popular lately, with its day-long intensives, yoga classes, and community events. Less well-known is the center’s smaller hall in the back. Officially called the Bhagawan Nityananda Temple, the Breezeway earned its informal title because of its predisposition to drafts. Still, the temple is inviting, with its soft lighting, lush, flowering foliage, trickling rock fountain, and faint sitar twang continually wafting in the background. The structure’s most striking feature is the life-size black statue of Nityananda, sitting in the lotus posture under a canopy in the middle of the altar. Nityananda is a Siddha yoga guru and modern Indian saint. Just inside the front door are blankets and cushions for communal use. A nearby sign gently reminds aspirants to enter shoeless and with reverence, and to sit in the appropriate place according to gender. Overall, the Breezeway is a consistently welcoming setting to become still, alert, and open to spirit.

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