I accidentally went to a meditation class

Ashley Chang
3 min readOct 1, 2023
Photo by Zoran Kokanovic on Unsplash

Walking into a mediation class

I left work last Monday pumped to go to my I knew I messed up when I went to go change out of my work clothes into my workout clothes, and the instructor was like “Wait! You don’t have to change”.

At first, I was disappointed since this meant that I had to work out after this class at my home gym. But it actually turned out to be a worthwhile experience.

Walking into the class, we were greeted by an instructor wearing an all-white robe surrounded by blankets laid out around the room and a mystical restaurant of some sort. The room was dimly lit, and there was a warm and barely present, calming, and consistent noise coming from the speakers.

The class itself

First, our teacher gave each of us a chant book while we sat criss-cross applesauce on our respective blankets.

He talked about how these Sanskrit chants were very difficult to understand and their meaning was gatekept from the general public for centuries. Only in more modern times have they been more widely accessible. He spoke about this personal experience with yoga and the meditation practice, and about the history of the type of meditation we were about to practice.

We read through some of his interpretations of the chants and discussed some topics to help us focus our minds for the meditation. Some of the teachings translated to lessons like focusing on the present and letting go of hatred, jealousy, etc. He told us that he liked to start his classes with these teachings because it helped to set intentions for the meditation.

It felt sort of reminiscent of church and the teachings you learn there, though I could be wrong since I have very limited exposure to the church and religion in general.

Then, he taught us how to focus on our breathing in a simple way. He counted to 10 slowly multiple times while we inhaled (10 count) and exhaled (another 10 count).

Inhale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Exhale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Then he stopped and we continued on our own for fifteen minutes.

Halfway through, he returned to tell us to focus our breathing. It was helpful for me because I was indeed not focusing on my breathing.

When we ended the meditation, I was reminded of how good meditation used to make me feel. I used to be even more anxious of a person than I am these days and meditation helped me a lot with that.

At the end, he asked us what we thought of the meditation and as it turned out, we all let our minds wander quite a bit. We ended up having a few minutes where we just talked about our experiences, how we wound up here, where our minds wandered during the fifteen minutes. Listening and sharing with strangers with whom I randomly shared this meditation class was strangely therapeutic. We talked about how desire is not inherently bad, life is more fun when we can take things less seriously, and debated the credit we give ourselves when we call a human brain a monkey brain. It was pretty cool to talk about these things with people who were in so many different places in life but had similar outlooks on some things because we all ended up at this meditation class that one day, no matter how we got there. And all because I accidentally signed up for meditation instead of yoga!

My final thoughts

I had signed up for a spontaneous post-work yoga class in the midst of a particularly stressful workday, so this meditation class actually turned out to be exactly what I needed.

I probably won’t be going back to a meditation class soon if I’m being honest. But it was such an unexpectedly nice surprise and break from the hustle and bustle of modern life. I will definitely be bringing back meditation, breathing exercises, and mindfulness into my daily life.



Ashley Chang

22-year-old NYC-based software engineer | Writing about the life lessons I'm learning along the way.