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Where to Meditate for Free in San Diego

At these nine public places of zen, you can "om" away from home almost anytime, plus five workshops this month


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Meditation Gardens Encinitas | Photo: Emily Kkaszton

Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens in Encinitas

Breathe in the salty air off of Swami’s State Beach amid lush greenery, koi fish, and sounds of nature in one of San Diego’s most sprawling public places for reflection.

Open Tuesday–Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; 215 West K Street, Encinitas

...and in Bankers Hill

A downtown counterpart to the Encinitas center, these gardens in Bankers Hill provide a smaller landscape for contemplation.

Open daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; 3072 First Avenue, Bankers Hill

 

Shambhala Meditation Center

The San Diego chapter of this international Buddhist belief system is open for public meditation sittings on Sunday 9–11 a.m. and Thursday 6:45–7:45 p.m. Farther north, there are off-site meditation hours every Wednesday 7–8:30 p.m. at Anahata Yoga in Encinitas.

6727 Flanders Drive, Sorrento Valley

 

The Spirit of Silence

Catch some serenity before you catch a flight from San Diego International Airport in Terminal 2’s nondenominational meditation and reflection room, with two benches and water-print glass panels by artist Norie Sato to keep you feeling grounded before takeoff.

Open 24/7

 

Dharma Center

Like a flash sale or surprise album release, this charming sanctuary located above Lighthouse Ice Cream announces its free meditation sessions sporadically with signage on the sidewalk and on Facebook and Twitter, with the hashtag #randomOM.

5059 Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach

 

The Chopra Center at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

No need to be a resort guest to get into the meditation rooms at the headquarters of this world-renowned practice. Drop by in between the guided classes, which are also open to anyone free of charge, Tuesday–Friday 7:45–8:15 a.m. and Monday–Friday 6–6:30 p.m., for some inner reflection and relaxation.

Open daily 6 a.m.–10 p.m.; 2100 Costa Del Mar Road, Carlsbad

 

Satsang House

Discuss, then destress. That’s the agenda for the free community meditations at a cottage near San Dieguito County Park on Tuesday and Thursday 6:30–8 p.m. and Sunday 2–3:30 p.m. Feeling generous? Donations are accepted and go directly toward the International Campaign for Tibet.

4523 Sun Valley Road, Del Mar

 

The Dharma Bum Temple

It was founded by Buddhists, but this serene gem in University Heights welcomes visitors of all backgrounds and beliefs to use its main hall for free morning and evening classes or individual meditation throughout the day.

Open Monday–Friday from 8 a.m.–9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; 4144 Campus Avenue, University Heights

 

Sri Chinmoy Peace Garden

Part of an international group of centers that follow the Indian spiritual leader’s teachings, this little oasis, with a statue of Sri Chinmoy and three benches, is meant for you to sit and “om” awhile.

Open 24/7; 2520 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights

 

Events This Month

 

December 1

Brain researcher Jim Cahill teaches muscle tension and breath awareness to improve your daily regimens in Extending Mindfulness at Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Opt for just the teaching at $50 or the full retreat for $125, which concludes with a lesson on the healing powers of water.

 

December 8

Spare 90 minutes for a $20 Mindfulness & Meditation Introductory Workshop at UCSD’s Center for Mindfulness, limited to 20 people every other month in University City.

 

December 9

Attend Waking Up Into the Truth Body at Kadampa Meditation Center, a $12 entry or refresher course on the meditative practice of tantra.

 

December 14

All you need to do is lie down and listen during Pilgrimage of the Heart’s one-hour Crystal Singing Bowl Meditation at its Normal Heights studio, starting at $20.

 

December 17

Break for lunch at Liberty Station Lunchtime Meditation, held for $10 every Monday at the park across from ACE Hardware 12:30–1:15 p.m.

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Where to Meditate for Free in San Diego

At these nine public places of zen, you can "om" away from home almost anytime
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