How does it work?
Presence works a lot like any other yoga or fitness studio, except that we focus exclusively on meditation. Meditators (or aspiring ones!) can pay for a single drop-in, pre-purchase a pack of classes at reduced rate, buy an introductory pass, or become monthly members with unlimited access.
Do I have to reserve ahead of time?
You don’t have to, but we prefer it! You can book and pay for your class directly ahead of time either via the website or our app. This helps us know who’s coming to class and reserves your spot for you, but if you don’t get around to booking don’t let that stop you from dropping in. You can sign-up and pay on-site.
Do I need to bring anything or wear special clothes?
Nope, just bring your positive intention. The studio is equipped with meditation cushions, benches and chairs. There is a bathroom for changing, but most people simply come and practice in their everyday clothes.
Do you offer private classes?
Yes, a number of our instructors are available for private instruction. Please get in touch directly to inquire about rates and availability.
Do you offer workshops?
Yes, in addition to our regular ongoing classes, the studio hosts limited series and workshops that focus on specific themes or techniques, giving practitioner’s the opportunity to go deeper and wider with their practice.
Do you offer on-site classes or programming for organizations and companies?
Yes, we also offer on-site workshops and classes for organizations who want to bring meditation and mindfulness to their staff. Please get in touch directly for rates and to customize an offering to fit your needs.
Why a studio? Can’t I just meditate at home by myself or with an app?
Yes of course you can, and we encourage it! Meditation works best when done regularly, and if you have a reliable, quiet space, and/or an app that works for you, all the better. For those of us without the discipline, space, or just the peace and quiet that are necessary to support a regular practice (especially at the beginning) we felt that a studio space dedicated entirely to meditation was the best solution. All you have to do is show up. And while we don’t think it’s particularly useful to demonize technology outright, we also believe that we’re clearly living in a time when reliance on, and even addiction to, digital devices can be a problem. We like to think of Presence as an opportunity to disconnect from these distractions, and to genuinely connect with our own minds, and with each other.
How long are the classes, do we really meditate for an hour straight?
Drop-in classes at Presence are either 30, 45 or 60 minutes long, though how the time is spent will vary according to the class and instructor. A typical 45 minute class might include a 5 minute introductory talk, 25-30 minutes of meditation (guided and unguided), and a 5-10 minute open discussion to close the class. Individual schedules permitting, session leaders will also make themselves available for direct questions after class. Workshops or special events can run from 1 to 2 hours, to a full day for an in-studio retreat.
I’ve never meditated before, do I need to take an introductory class?
One of the nice things about meditation is that anyone can do it, any time. There is no better time to begin than now, and no obstacle to doing so other than our own habitual minds putting it off to a later day. All the more reason to begin! Unless otherwise stated, all of the classes offered at Presence are suitable for beginners and experienced meditators alike. There are no prerequisite ‘Levels’ to master before moving on to senior classes. That said, there are many different types of meditation, and practitioners may find that they resonate with certain styles and instructors more than others. We encourage our members to explore what appeals most to them, and then to deepen that practice however they can. For those who still want a primer before diving in, we regularly offer introduction to meditation sessions.
I have an existing meditation practice, can I use the studio by myself?
Not yet. Presence seeks to support and encourage independent practice and we hope to offer this service in the future, but our scheduled classes are the only way at the moment to use the studio space. For those who prefer unguided meditation we suggest to try some of our silent classes.
Is this a religious space?
No. Presence is a secular organization with no official religious affiliation or status. Its instructors come from a variety of backgrounds, and meditation practices from a number of traditions are likely to be featured in guided classes. Presence has respect for, and sees value in, both the contemporary secular mindfulness movement, as well as the long-standing wisdom traditions from which it arose, including various Buddhist and Hindu lineages, and contemplative Western traditions. We seek to be a space that facilitates dialogue between these approaches, and allows members to learn and deepen the type of practice that they find most appealing and useful.
Is meditation safe?
For the vast majority of individuals, meditation is a perfectly safe practice to engage in. Indeed it’s hard to think of anything more benign than sitting quietly in a safe space paying attention to one’s breath. That said, the mind is a powerful thing, and meditation can cause difficult thoughts, emotions, or psychological states to come to the surface in a small percentage of individuals. While we believe that these experiences, while they might be difficult, are usually ultimately of benefit to the health of the individual, it’s also important to be aware of these possibilities, and that meditation isn’t always for everyone. Just like one should take caution with the body when exercising at the gym or practicing yoga, so too should we practice meditation with similar awareness. Presence is fortunate to be partnered with Montreal’s MindSpace Clinic, a team of certified therapists and doctoral-level psychologists that helps to provide a safety net and support network both for our approach and for anyone who might experience these kinds of challenges on their path.
Are your spaces available for rent?
While most of our space is used for classes and our programming we do occasionally host other events. Get in touch if you’d like to inquire about renting one of our studio spaces.