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Examining the Geography of the Heart

Pierre Zimmerman leads a meditation

by Rachel McDaniel

One Big Roof Center for Mindful Practices is a retreat and workshop facility that promotes well-being with events and daily classes throughout the year. In operation for eight years, One Big Roof’s is built on the premise that all are welcome. The center provides a continuum of holistic care that includes clinicians specializing in many modalities, as well as body workers and lecturers.

Pierre Zimmerman, organizational consultant for One Big Roof and ordained Buddhist chaplain in end-of-life care, states, “Our goal is to support people making shifts in their lives from ‘dis-ease’ in their body, heart and mind to gain or regain peace of mind, learn methods to balance ‘doing’ and ‘being’, and improve their lifestyle skills to reestablish physical, emotional and spiritual health.”

Diverse presenters from the community and keynote leaders offer support groups and classes in stress reduction, meditation, yoga, energy work, coaching, nutrition and spiritual direction. They also hold movement classes such as tai chi and qigong.

“Classes are well attended, and the population attending comes from about a 40-mile radius, varying from children to adults and beginners to those with ample experience in different disciplines,” says Zimmerman. “One Big Roof has served over 3,300 attendees for the eight-week mindfulness stress reduction program alone.”

In a 1,000-square-foot space, One Big Roof hosts weekend lectures and special one-time workshops o a range of topics, including Buddhist meditations from different lineages, mindfulness practices and other presentations that focus on well-being and flourishing in life, all held by screened and qualified practitioners.

The staff at One Big Roof comprises six yoga instructors, breath teachers, one qigong and one tai chi teacher. Along with classes, there also are weekly meditations, with a teaching session every Sunday morning. Special and longer workshops are scheduled primarily on weekends.

“Our differential edge is that we focus on well-being, which is a step beyond just physical health,” explains Zimmerman. “Also, we have skilled and established, well-trained and longtime practitioners in mindfulness, movement, positive psychology and contemplative practices.”

The aim of One Big Roof is to guide people to look inward to their internal landscape and the geography of the heart in order to practice self-care, gain clarity about their purpose in life and reconnect with their community.

One Big Roof Center for Mindful Practices is located at 538 Maple Ave. (Rte. 9), in Saratoga Springs. For more information, call 518-581-3180 or visit OneRoofSaratoga.com.

Rachel McDaniel is a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.