Meditation at Yantacaw Brook Park.
Tucked in a pristine pocket of Upper Montclair is Yantacaw Brook Park, where paved trails roll over grassy knolls and skirt around a central duck pond. Surveying from atop of the hill at the Bellegrove Drive entrance, the park’s feng shui instantly brings inner peace. The small space resonates with vibrant energy that defies its physical limits and instills a sense of universal harmony. If you are interested in meditation, this is the perfect place.
First things first, get seated! Four benches can be found overlooking the pond from three different views, and a low brick wall borders the eastern path. Or you can spread a blanket near Yantacaw Brook, the stream through the trees that feeds the pond from the northern end of the park and drains it to the south.
Next, nurture your structure. Take a neutral posture, resting your torso on the bones at the base of the pelvis – avoid sitting on the tailbone. Allow your chin to lower slightly so that the head is erect but not stiff. Align ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips. Put your legs in a relaxed but stable position, and remember you can always shift as needed. If you’re seated on the ground, crossing the legs in front will create a stable base.
Final step – focus. Notice your breath without interfering with it. Tune into the sounds of nature. Listen to the running water and focus on your “Bubbling Spring,” the energy that centers in the arches of the feet (Kidney 1 points in acupuncture). You can also listen to tranquil music. Your mind will wander naturally. Acknowledge thought with a gentle word—planning, remembering, thinking, imagining—and return to your point of focus.
Meditate as long as you like. These practices cultivate heightened awareness and build long-term stress reduction. Gradually return to your active state of mind.
If you are too energized to sit, walking meditation is also a beneficial option. It can bridge the tranquility of seated meditation to a more active state of mind and body. Nurture your structure by bending the knees slightly and picking the feet up instead of rolling from heel to toe. Focus on a positive mindset.
To get to Yantacaw Brook Park, turn north off Bellevue Avenue onto Bellegrove Drive or turn south onto Yantacaw Brook Road from Alexander Avenue. Both streets end at the park. Katherine Van Frank is a Montclair native certified in T’ai Chi Chih and Qigong Therapy.