Best Places for Meditation in Sonoma County
The beautiful thing about meditation is that it can be done anywhere, for any amount of time and in a myriad of different ways. It’s all about finding out what works for you.
Sonoma County offers not only a plethora of beautiful spots to help you find inner peace, but you can also be guided and taught by experts. Here are some of the best spots, whether you are a seasoned practitioner or a beginner.
Mahakaruna Kadampa Buddhist Meditation Center, Petaluma
This is modern Buddhism in Sonoma County. Mahakaruna Kadampa Buddhist Meditation Center offers a variety of meditation classes, ranging from drop-in intro classes to in-depth study programs. Each class begins with a guided breathing meditation, followed by a teaching on a Buddhist topic and a concluding mediation. This is a perfect place to learn to meditate, cultivate the experience of a balanced and peaceful mind, and gain wisdom you can apply as practical advice in your daily life.
If you fancy a full dive into luxurious peacefulness, Ratna Ling offers a variety of wellness retreats ranging from meditation and yoga to self-empowerment. The organization also has a wellness center for day visitors that offers private meditation classes and a variety of treatments such as massage and other bodywork.
Sonoma Ashram, Sonoma
Whether you are already pursuing a path of spirituality or seeking guidance about how to get started, Sonoma Ashram can support you. Incorporating the ancient wisdom of Aghor Yoga, which is rooted in Hindu culture, but is free of dogma and can be practiced by anyone, Sonoma Ashram offers a supportive community and a foundation for personal growth, self-care and service to others.
Sonoma Ashram offers daily meditations from 7 to 8 a.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. and also a Sunday Satsang (gathering) with meditation and teaching, which are open to all.
For a day of full indulgence and peacefulness, a visit to the Osmosis Day Spa is a must. Visit the Zen gardens on the property, which includes the authentic Kyoto-style Meditation Garden. It is ranked among the top Japanese gardens in North America and offers a quiet place for contemplation. Guests are invited to walk, lay, sit, or meditate in the garden, experiencing its ethereal feel that is unmistakably calm.
Start the day with the renowned Cedar Bath experience, getting you ready for stillness and relaxation, followed by sound therapy in the sound garden and meditation.
Osmosis Day Spa also offers an 8 a.m. guided meditation on Thursdays in the garden (bring your own meditation pillow).
Meditation On Your Own
Of course, meditation is something that can be practiced anywhere. A lot of us can find stillness by a meditative walk or listening to the waves on the beach. Sonoma County has an abundance of perfect mediation places.
Set in the beautiful ranchland of Sonoma County, a few miles west of the small quirky town of Occidental, is the Grove of Old Trees. This is a small redwood grove owned by a Sonoma County land conservancy. The grove is on a flat ridgetop, which provides a quiet and serene location.
A small network of trails (apparently in the shape of a peace sign) goes through and around the grove; there are no signs, but the paths are easy to follow.
There are no road signs to the grove and it is well-hidden, but this beautiful place has still managed to become quite popular, and on weekends, the parking lot can fill up.
The grove is open daily from sunrise to sundown and is free.
To get there from Occidental’s town center, take Coleman Valley Road west. Pass Willow Creek Road and continue straight onto Joy Road. Turn right onto Fitzpatrick Lane. Look for a small turnout to your right with a wooden archway leading into the grove.
This gorgeous Sonoma County Regional Park is full of trails going through the Petaluma hills. You will get a good workout, incredible views and plenty of beautiful flora and fauna. Despite the popularity of the park among locals, it is big enough to find a quiet spot for meditation and contemplation, yet very manageable, with clear signage and trails. Find a bench or a picnic table under a quirky tree and feel the breeze as you bring your attention inward.
The park is open from sunrise to sundown, and there are good parking and bathroom facilities, but be aware that parking costs $7 if you don’t have a Sonoma County Regional Park pass (you can pay for parking with a credit card onsite).
Listening to the waves of the ocean is a perfect way to calm the busy mind, and Sonoma County, of course, offers plenty of coastline.