Jan 15 2024
Stepping into Meditation + Community - Namchak

Stepping into Meditation and Community 8-Week Course (Mondays)

Live Online Zoom Course - Meets Every Monday

In our busy lives, sometimes it is challenging to prioritize a meditation practice. We are not taught to “just sit there.” Many of us are constantly on the move with a never-ending to-do list.

But just think— how would your life change if you did make a shift into more intentional stillness? What would it feel like to experience the joy of just being? How would your relationship to yourself and others change if you were able to cultivate more presence and compassion?

Starting in January, we are offering an opportunity to support you in exploring these questions through our “Stepping into Meditation and Community” course. This is an online, interactive, eight-week course that will guide you to the most present, compassionate, and connected aspects of yourself. Through inner exploration and engaging with community, you will learn accessible, time-tested Tibetan Buddhist practices that will allow you to awaken into deeper peace, joy, compassion and balance in three spheres of engagement in your life: personal, community, and the world.

The content covered in this course will provide a foundational framework for Namchak practices, culture, and sangha (community) skills. This course is a great starting point for those who are just stepping into meditation and Namchak and want to create the habit of a daily practice, supported by others doing the same. This is also a great place to start for the more experienced practitioner who is looking for connection with the Namchak Sangha.

If it is possible, we also encourage you to invite local friends, family members, partners, neighbors, and co-workers to take this course with you. We are hoping to support you in cultivating a local sangha and creating a weekly ritual of joining this class together in a shared space!

Course Overview

The purpose of this course is to support us in coming home to our truer selves—the most present, compassionate, and connected parts of ourselves. We will learn accessible, time-tested, and lab-tested Tibetan Buddhist practices that will allow us to awaken into deeper peace, joy, compassion, and equanimity in three spheres of engagement in our life: personal, community, and the world. The content covered in this 8-week course will provide a foundational framework for Namchak practices, culture, and sangha (community) skills. 

Course Outline

  • Week 1: Course Overview, Intention Sharing & Community Foundations
  • Week 2: Four Noble Truths, Intention Deepening & Mindful Body Scan
  • Week 3: Introduction to Shamata & The Six Perfections
  • Week 4: Shamata Review, Mind of the Meditator & Working with Obstacles to Our Practice
  • Week 5: Loving Kindness Practice Starting with Ourselves
  • Week 6: Introduction to Tonglen- A Compassion Practice of Giving and Receiving
  • Week 7: Engaged Bodhicitta: Exploring our Work in the World
  • Week 8: Bringing it All Together & Carrying the Gems Forward (Course Conclusion)
  • Week 9: Optional Learning Circle Transition



Details – Online via Zoom:

We will meet for eight consecutive 90-minute weekly sessions on Monday evenings. Each session will be led by Namchak facilitator Rachel Ashley.

  • Jan 15, 2024 05:30 PM MDT
  • Jan 22, 2024 05:30 PM MDT
  • Jan 29, 2024 05:30 PM MDT
  • Feb 5, 2024 05:30 PM MDT
  • Feb 12, 2024 05:30 PM MDT
  • Feb 19, 2024 05:30 PM MDT
  • Feb 26, 2024 05:30 PM MDT
  • Mar 4, 2024 05:30 PM MDT
  • Mar 11, 2024 05:30 PM (Optional Learning Circle Transition) MDT


Login Info

The Zoom link will be provided upon registration and a reminder email will be sent out each week with the login info. Please note: Confirmation emails from Eventbrite often end up in spam/promotions tab. Please check there if you do not see the confirmation email with the Zoom info.

Tuition: Our intention is to make this workshop financially accessible to all, so we offer a tiered fee structure. Please choose whichever level works best for you.

If program costs present a financial barrier or you are interested in a stipend to offset the cost of childcare, please contact [email protected].

Invite a friend! 

Sangha or community, is one of our favorite elements of the Buddhist path. That’s why we’re happy to share that when you register for the Stepping into Meditation and Community course, you can bring a friend, family member, or loved one to the course for free!

Upon registering for the course, you’ll receive a discount code via email for your guest to use for complimentary registration. They simply have to register for the course through our website and use the promotional code that you received in your email. We look forward to seeing you and your friend at our next course! Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Course testimonial:

“Connecting with others who were, just like me, wanting to learn more about the Dharma, develop a daily practice, and be a part of something special has made this tumultuous and overly uncertain year a lot more enjoyable and gratifying. I loved the weekly conversations, the learning about Tibetan Buddhism and meditation methods, and the camaraderie that grew in spite of and because of our differences. I hold the greatest gratitude for Namchak for hosting these events and I’m looking forward to being a part of many more.” – Laura

“This is an awesome human experience. At the end of the course I could feel my difference and see amazing changes in others. A weekly session is so nice to keep the pace up. Rachel is extremely authentic and I can’t say enough about her professionalism and representation of Namchak’s philosophies.” – Sandy

About Rachel:

Rachel has been working with Namchak since 2017, serving on the Community Advisory Board before moving into her current position as the Community Steward. Before her role with Namchak, she worked as an educator in a variety of settings for over 15 years with elementary through college-aged students teaching English, Language Arts, dance, movement, mindfulness, and meditation. Her enthusiasm for teaching inspired her Education degree from Ithaca College, her Master’s degree from Northern Arizona University, as well as her training in various mindfulness and meditation programs over the years.

Her exposure to spiritual practice and Buddhism started at a young age from the inspiration of her mother and time spent in nature. It wasn’t until after college that Rachel attended her first Buddhist retreat, which completely changed the direction of her spiritual path. Since then, she has been studying the Dharma and considers herself a devoted Vajrayana Buddhist practitioner.

What students are saying about Rachel:

“Rachel was wonderful. Her calm and reassuring demeanor made for a perfect leader for this group. She was available and open to questions. Great job 👏 “- Amy

” This is an awesome human experience. Participants change in front of us. After 12 weeks, I could feel my difference & see amazing changes in others. A weekly session is so nice to keep the pace up. I did another 12-week session & felt a lot more comfortable with the material. All the students are people I want to know! Our presenter Rachel, is extremely authentic & is perfect in her career. I can’t say enough about her professionalism & representation of Namchak’s philosophies. She walks the talk as well as talks the walk. I am always happy to see her!” – Sandy

Our Community Commitments

In order to co-create a brave, inclusive, anti-oppressive, and learning-centered space, in our community, we each agree to:

  • Be inclusive of diverse opinions and backgrounds through treating each other with respect and appreciation.
  • Commit to words and actions of non-harm within our group interactions.
  • Learn by immersing in and committing to the practices at hand.
  • Hold personal sharing in confidence.
  • Be present, practice mindful listening, and not offer unsolicited advice.
  • Allow and invite for equal sharing of voices as well as the right to pass.
  • Take care not to speak for others in the group.
  • Assume good intent and come from a place of curiosity and care.
  • Come as we are with permission to be “raggedy.”
  • Be mindful of and take personal and collective responsibility for our own biases including the use of language that may “other,” “cancel,” or dehumanize any person, groups of people, and/or their experiences.
  • Ask for consent before hugging or initiating physical contact during in-person gatherings.
  • Use the “Ouch/Oops” tool to address hurtful comments and language in the moment and to allow space for repair.*

We aspire for this sangha to be a place of refuge

*Ouch/Oops . This is a tool for addressing hurtful comments/language in the moment. If someone says something hurtful, anyone can bring attention to it in the moment by saying “Ouch” and then explaining what was hurtful. If it is a word choice issue, be sure to give the first speaker the chance to rephrase and try again (remember, it’s okay to be raggedy, and we are all assuming good intent!) When someone says something that comes out wrong or hurts someone else, they should start with “Oops” – first, acknowledge the impact of their words, and then try again. This can also be done outside of the event if someone feels an “Ouch,” but does not feel comfortable sharing it with the group at that time. We aspire for this sangha to be a place of refuge.