THE IDEA OF sitting still and silent, clearing the mind of thoughts, might send some active Marinites — especially those of us who carry running shoes in our car and a running “to-do” list in our heads — into a small panic attack. But settle into one of the comfy floor seats for Gina Vance’s “Guided Journey” meditation class at Soulstice Mind and Body Spa in Sausalito, and the worries drift away; follow her clear, comforting instructions and somewhere along the way you’ll realize that not only are you meditating, but — shocker! — you are enjoying it.
According to Kayse Gehret, founder of Soulstice, a wellness center offering a range of meditation and mindfulness
classes, type As have no reason to worry. “People are hard on themselves and think they have to be sitting and completely
devoid of thought to be meditating,” she says, “and that is absolutely not true. Whether you’re silent or using mantra and
sound, seated or doing a walking meditation in nature, it’s the clarity of awareness that you’re looking for.”
The growing understanding that there is no set-in-stone way to meditate may explain why a growing percentage
of the population, not only in Marin but across the nation, is integrating some form of meditation into daily life. From
hospitals to schools and churches, from remote mountain retreat centers to the conference room at work, the number of
local mindfulness support groups and meditation classes is a testament to the popularity of the practice in the county.
“The great thing about Marin is that people are extremely open and very curious here,” Gehret says. “So we can offer
this wide variety of approaches and meet people where they are in their practice, whether they have an existing practice
or are absolutely brand new.”
Why meditation? Transitions, financial or medical hardship, anxiety and depression, or simply a desire for personal
growth and a deeper sense of well-being: the circumstances that draw Marin residents to meditation classes and retreats
vary widely. “We’ve had people come in and they are in a crucible in their lives — moving, changing jobs, going through
More and more Marinites are reaping the many benefits of meditation.
BY KIRSTEN JONES NEFF • PHOTOS BY JACK WOLFORD