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The Coltrane Meditation

Level: Introductory

Duration: 5 - 10 minutes

M. Chatman/University of the District of Columbia

This is a brief practice that has multiple uses.  I often use it to help participants settle into the space before we begin instruction. It can also be used a transitional exercise as you move from one activity to another, or as the backdrop for a period of reflection. Music, I have found, is a sound  way to beginners to breath and body awareness, allowing them just enough time to notice how they feel as the music swells and falls, becomes busy and stills. 

John Coltrane's Welcome accompanies this meditation. The opening of the piece sounds grand and inviting. Expanding on the title of the piece, learners are asked to consider what they are welcoming today. I strongly suggest that you listen to the composition several times so you can have a sense of the quieter moments where you can speak over the music.

Be mindful of the volume so as not to startle people. It's fine to start out mellow because the volume increases to match the music's intensity. if you are using the youtube link below remember to cue the music beforehand so you can skip the ads.

Invite attendees to get comfortable in their seats and bring their attention to the breath.  Questions you may ask as the music plays are:

What is welcome today?

What thoughts are welcome?

What emotions are welcome?

What questions are welcome?

What is welcome today?

What perspectives are welcome?

What surprises are welcome?

What or who is welcome today?

Alternatively, if this practice is being used to ground and connect individuals to their bodies and interior, then following script might be useful:

What is welcome today?

What is welcome in this space?

Openness is welcome. 

Safety is welcome.

Curiosity is welcome.

Joy is welcome.

Friendship is welcome.

Ease is welcome.

Feeling is welcome.

We are welcome.

After the music ends you may invite participants to write or draw their reflections or inspirations and share them in a larger group. Or you may simply invite all to return their awareness to the room, take a final deep breath and close the activity.


John Coltrane's Welcome

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