I recommend meditation frequently here on the blog and in my psychotherapy sessions with clients for many reasons — it helps people reduce anxiety, manage depression, handle life transitions with more ease, improve concentration and focus, and bring more intention into their life and relationships. The first thing many people say is "I've tried meditation and I can't do it!" or "meditation doesn't work for me!" I usually respond to this by saying that meditation is not easy, but anyone can do it if they are motivated to work through the initial discomfort.
I also use the following analogy to describe the beginning phase of meditation — it's like going to the gym for the first time. You don't go to the gym expecting to be strong and muscular. You go to the gym to get stronger over time. Meditation is like weight training for the mind. When you first start out, it's going to be very challenging. But with persistence, you will be able to increase your focus and ability to meditate through practice. That's why it's called a meditation practice. You're never done, it's always evolving.
So now you might say, "I'm on board! How do I start?" You've got a couple of different options, you can try meditation on your own utilizing free online meditation resources, or you could find in-person resources to support your practice. Read on for 12 local Los Angeles resources for learning how to meditate:
1 | Against the Stream Buddhism Meditation Society
Against the Stream — or ATS for short — is an awesome place to learn how to meditate especially if you are a young adult looking for an accessible introduction to Buddhist concepts and practices. No stuffiness here! ATS knows how to create a hip and inviting environment for the beginner or experienced meditator alike. They offer two Los Angeles locations (Hollywood and Santa Monica,) as well as centers in San Francisco, Boston and Nashville. ATS was established by Noah Levine, son of famed Stephen Levine, and has a multitude of offerings from programs, to meditation classes, to retreats, to an innovative approach to addiction treatment — called Refuge Recovery — which utilizes Buddhist psychology concepts as opposed to the Judeo-Christian approaches that most AA or 12-step programs are founded on. For more information, check out my article about resources for addiction recovery.
2 | Shambhala Meditation Center
Shambhala is more than just a meditation center, it is a hub for the local community to find peace and connection with like-minded individuals. They have numerous offerings that I recommend you check out on their website as well as open sitting meditation hours. Like ATS, Shambhala also offers a Buddhist-based recovery support group called The Heart of Recovery. They have two Los Angeles locations, one in Eagle Rock and one in Mar Vista.
3 | The Den Meditation
The Den is an urban sanctuary! It's got an amazing vibe once you walk in. The place is decorated in a mid-century modern feel that makes you want to come in, get cozy and stay a while. The Den offers sound baths, workshops, a Bali retreat and 45-minute classes in a variety of meditation styles including mindfulness and Kundalini. They've got locations in Hancock Park and Silverlake. The Den offers a new student special of unlimited classes and up to three workshops for 3 weeks at a steal for 50 bucks!
4 | Unplug Meditation
Unplug is another private meditation studio, located on Wilshire with a cool, trendy vibe. They've got lots of classes and workshops. One thing that sets Unplug apart, is that they've also got offerings for kids!
5 | InsightLA
InsightLA is a great place to start for those who are interested in a more structured approach to learning how to meditate because they've got some amazing programs such as Mindfulness for Beginners, MBSR — Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion, and others. These are series of classes that are intended to give people the resources needed to develop or deepen one's meditation practice.
6 | BOL Meditation
BOL — or Believe or Leave — is another private meditation studio, located on La Brea. What I'm most excited about with BOL is their new student special which gives their new students 2 weeks of free unlimited classes for only $35! I'll certainly be taking advantage of this offer. :)
7 | UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
UCLA MARC is doing a ton to bring mindfulness meditation into the mainstream through supporting its efficacy through research and teaching meditation to the community through 1) free drop-in meditations, 2) Mindful Awareness Practices classes, 3) meditation resources online, 4) free online meditation recordings, 5) retreats and 6) workshops. There's so much going on over there including Spanish based classes and also options for kids. Be sure to check out what UCLA has to offer for you and your meditation practice!
8 | CompassionLA
CompassionLA is an organization that offers many structured programs, classes, groups and drop-ins for developing mindfulness and self-compassion. Most offerings are held in North Hollywood.
9 | Vedanta Society
Vedanta Temple in Hollywood offers myriad talks and classes to the public to learn about their way of practicing meditation. Check out their schedule of events to find an offering that sounds good to you. They also offer retreats to deepen one's meditation practice further.
10 | Kadampa Meditation Center
Kadampa Meditation Center is great place to learn how to meditate and build a community of meditators. I've attended some of their classes, dharma talks and workshops and have enjoyed them very much. They have locations in Hollywood, Glendale, Pasadena, West LA and Santa Monica.
11 | Transcendental Meditation LA
12 | The Art of Living
Now I'd love to hear from you! Are you curious about meditation and interested in exploring your options for learning how to get started? Let me know if you plan to check out any of the meditation centers I've shared here. Are you an experienced meditator looking to deepen your practice by attending a retreat or longer program? Are you hoping to find more community and emotional support within your meditation practice? Or maybe you know of some great local Los Angeles meditation resources that I didn't include here. Please share in the comments below. Thanks for reading and be well!
about the author
Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.