MEDITATION AT WOODSIDE | RISE™ + REST™
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we are sharing a few of the many ways you can use the Club to support your mental health. We talked with Jona Genova, creator of REST™and RISE™ meditation programs currently taught at Woodside. Jona brings more than 25 years of devoted study and practice to her work as a Focus + Flow Coach and Intuitive Healer. Here is what she had to say.
WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE MEDITATION PROGRAMS YOU CREATED FOR WOODSIDE?
Currently, you can experience REST™ and RISE™ at Woodside. We’re making plans to introduce RADIATE® soon. These formats developed over the past eleven years that I’ve been teaching meditation at luxury health clubs.
When I was first hired to teach at mainstream meditation studios, I realized they wanted a conventionally pretty, young, white body, without a deeper awareness or understanding to hold court for a fifty minute, shallow yet pleasant experience. Ever since I was told I could not orient what I was teaching by using words like Buddhism, Tibet or names of my precious teachers, I realized that modern meditation is being shaped by people who have no business dictating how it should be experienced and used.
Most people don’t realize that due to the commodification of meditation, it has become transactional rather than transformational. When this happens, it can become a reification of a false sense of an individualistic self. This perpetuates the very conditions which underlie the discomfort guiding us to a meditation class. Often what we see offered as meditation has been stripped down and diluted.
It frustrates me when people try to use meditation as a tune up or happiness hack and that the people who are shaping our cultural understanding of meditation like doctors and psychologists are unaware of their own implicit bias interfering with their perception of meditation.
I believe that meditation is more than a self-centered pursuit for better health, to ease stress or enhance performance. Meditation is more than that. Meditation is a path to recognize our dependent nature and relieve the suffering of all beings. That’s why I’m on a mission to shift meditation back to its original power.
The formats build on each other and work together. Members can attend all formats regularly or stick with one and still gain benefit. I don’t want to reveal too much about what’s happening because the intention behind the formatting is to allow for self-discovery.
REST™ is hugely popular because it’s magical. Beautiful, high vibration crystals intuitively selected for Woodside support you with your meditation. It’s peaceful, connecting and regenerative.
RISE™ is a little more active. This format uses sound to cultivate attention and presence.
RADIATE® blends with a yoga class as a guided meditation for savasana. So many people don’t really know what to do during savasana, they’re wiggling around, thinking about all the things they need to do later or even snoring but this time is an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted. RADIATE® directs those key moments after a yoga practice to be powerful and intentional.
I’m deeply committed to maintaining the integrity of traditional meditation practices. We can create an “open secular space” and one that is intentionally and skillfully inclusive of all people and their unique experiences. It’s my view that this is richer. This can be transformative.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE TO SOMEONE WHO IS JUST STARTING TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION PRACTICES?
These days, it’s more complicated because meditation has been commodified. The consumer/meditator should ask themselves a few questions:
Why do I want to meditate? Am I merely looking for temporary relief of physical pain and/or relaxation and perhaps some support with emotions?
MBSR and general mindfulness practices could be a good fit as well as Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT) and Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT)
Is my primary motivation for meditating to manifest material riches?
Vedic meditation, some chanting practices and law of attraction approaches are great for this
Do I long for comfort plus something deeper? You don’t have to know what the deeper thing is, this can be a hunch or a feeling. Do I have a sense that it’s not just about me, that my well-being is connected to others and the natural world?
Explore Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist practices, Sustainable Compassion Training (SCT)