For some students, zazen is an important element of Aikido training. Often students seeking only technical perfection forget that Aikido is fundamentally about internal transformation; zazen becomes a vehicle to remind us to look within and awaken to a deeper understanding of the self.
The Japanese word “zazen” is a composite of two words—za means “sitting” and zen is derived from the Sanskrit term “dhyana” or meditation.
Zazen heightens focus, mindfulness, relaxation and concentration, essential qualities sought by the martial artist. But most importantly, zazen is a method to cultivate the self through the unification of body, breath and mind.
Unlike other forms of meditation that focus on a particular image or thought, the Japanese method of zazen emphasizes the cultivation of “no-mind,” learning how to sit with great composure without dwelling on any particular thing.
The student simply breathes with complete awareness and mindfulness, sitting on a zafu (circular cushion) in cross-legged (“Burmese style”), half lotus, or full lotus position. People with knee problems can also sit in a modified seiza (kneeling position) or if necessary, in a chair.
We offer zazen periods and brief introductions to sitting every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30pm. Training sometimes includes yoga asana and breathing exercises that help the student understand proper body alignment and increase flexibility.