If you suffer from a chronic condition of any kind, finding some peace of mind and support is crucial. In Arizona, we’ve got some of the best places to find support groups and your center.
Meditation centers in Arizona
If you’re ever wanted to learn how to meditate, but weren’t sure how, a meditation center can be just the place to learn. Connecting with a community of like-minded practitioners might invigorate your practice and help you develop the discipline to sit daily. Meanwhile, highly trained meditation teachers or monks typically staff these centers, supporting your meditation practice with their experience, answering your questions, and guiding your journey inward.
Benefits of meditation include decreased stress, improved levels of happiness, and an overall feeling of peace. Some studies have even found that meditation reduces chronic pain.
There are quite a few meditation centers in Arizona. Try a few and see which community or teacher you most connect with. Many offer free teachings, or with a suggested donation, while others require a fee.
Shambhala is an international community with meditation centers all over the world, including separate facilities in Phoenix and Tucson. The Shambhala tradition, founded by prominent Buddhist monk and author Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, involves meditation and spiritual practice to deepen compassion and extinguish the mental causes of suffering. Although connected to Buddhism, Shambhala is based on separate principles.
The facilities host public meditation sessions twice weekly, along with occasional retreats and events.
Based in Mesa, the Meditation Learning Center offers weekly meditation classes, an eight-week training course, and a variety of community events to connect meditators and people interested in Eastern traditions. One of the teachers, Shane Wilson, also teaches at the Arizona International Buddhist Meditation Center in Mesa, which holds twice-weekly meditation sessions and longer classes.
Based in Phoenix, the Emaho Foundation runs many events, from meditation sessions to book clubs to weekend workshops diving into aspects of Tibetan Buddhism. Many sessions are taught by Za Choeje Rinpoche Tenzin Lobsang Dhamchoe, who studied under the Dalai Lama and other esteemed monks.
Transcendental meditation touts itself as an effortless way to achieve the coveted no-mind state, in which all thoughts cease and a peaceful joy inhabits the mind. This method was pioneered by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and involves silently repeating a mantra for 20 minutes each day.
Transcendental meditation is more secretive than other forms of meditation; it requires paying to attend a course during which an instructor teaches you the method and assigns you a personal mantra, a Sanskrit word. Transcendental meditation gained notoriety because many celebrities, including the Beatles, reportedly practiced it.
Osho was a feisty, often controversial, Indian mystic and author known for his blunt spiritual teachings that acquired a worldwide following. Today, an international collection of meditation centers bear his name and pass on his teachings. The Sedona facility hosts meditation classes throughout the week, along with workshops and private classes.
Phoenix yoga studios
Yogis in Phoenix and surrounding cities will find a plethora of studios to try, each with different offerings and amenities. No matter where you live in the Valley, there’s sure to be a yoga studio to fit your interest and budget.
Probably one of the trendier spots in the city, this yoga studio also offers cycling classes and a healthy food café serving up smoothies, salads, and sandwiches. The MIC, as its known, features vinyasa flow classes in a room heated to 92.3 degrees.
Check the website frequently because this spot sometimes offers special events such as black light yoga punctuated by rockin’ tunes.
Get your flow on at Urban Yoga Phoenix, where sunrise flow classes start as early as 6:30 AM The studio offers a range of styles, including slow, power, and candlelight flows, as well as Ashtanga yoga. Monthly events include drumming, live musical accompaniment to classes, and yoga nidra, also known as yogic sleep. Keep an eye out for a recurring winter yoga series in the Desert Botanical Garden.
This studio offers three convenient locations and hosts one of the Valley’s most comprehensive, jam-packed schedules. Classes run all day long in both locations, and include Level 1 and 2 vinyasa classes, yin, hot yoga, cardio vinyasa, kundalini, and more.
The studio’s signature Healing Emphasis Yoga (HEY) involves classes targeted to certain areas of the body, such as the sacrum, psoas, or shoulders. The goal is to release tension before it causes problems or alleviate existing problems.
Featuring a long list of instructors, this West Valley studio is sure to help you meet your yoga teacher match. Students will find a variety of flows complemented by offerings like healing hypnotherapy and bhakti (devotional) flow. Wellness offerings include massage and reflexology.
Its name pretty much says it all. Hot Yoga University offers three levels of classes for the evolving yoga scholar. Basic Hot 27 classes provide ample time for students to prepare for the more rigorous Level 2 class, Hot Yasa. Once the sweat dripping into your eyes no longer phases you, amp up your workout with Iron Yasa, which combines the rigors of hot yoga with weights.
Afterwards, relax in the sitting area, called the Hot Spot, complete with reading books and a fountain for meditating and soaking up all that knowledge you just took in. Om.
Arizona chronic pain and mental health support groups
Finally, connecting with like-minded people through a support group can be an incredible source of support, helping those navigating chronic pain or mental health issues feel less alone.
Even if you don’t want to meet with people in person, online support is available with our Chronic Pain Support Group. Many people enjoy the ease of connecting with others through their home computer. However, having the support of a qualified facilitator at in-person support groups is invaluable. Facilitators keep discussions on-course and are able to provide perspective to any questions or information that arise. No matter how you connect, reaching out and building connections will help you manage stress and improve overall quality of life.
The national non-profit National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) Arizona chapter runs free, 90-minute, weekly meetings for people with mental illness looking for support. Three different meetings are available, with one in Phoenix and two in Mesa. Members share experiences, encouragement, and coping strategies.
Run by the national non-profit Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), this support group welcomes anybody with a mood disorder. Free meetings are held each Thursday and Sunday, offering ample opportunity to connect. Meetings start with brief introductions followed by an open discussion led by a trained facilitator. All participation is voluntary, and you can just listen if you’d like.
Each Wednesday at 5 p.m., Arizona Pain hosts a support group at its Scottsdale office. Besides talking over any issues that might be on your mind, participants receive information related to nutrition, exercise, and relaxation techniques to help with holistic pain management. Meetings last approximately 90 minutes. We also have a Facebook page, providing people online support in addition to the weekly face-to-face meetings.
Have you ever attended a support group for chronic pain, depression, or anxiety? Has meditation or yoga helped you with your pain?