Relax. Release. Rest.

Wisdom from the Himalayas


Westerners face a unique set of obstacles when walking the path of meditation.  Our fast‐paced, high‐pressure lifestyle carries over into the way we approach meditation practice, and we often have difficulty achieving genuine relaxation of body and mind. Deep, sustained relaxation is not only the basis for mental and physical health and well-being, but the foundation for spiritual awakening.  

The Discovering Mind program was developed from Dza Kilung Rinpoche’s book, The Relaxed Mind and presents a seven‐step approach to meditation practice designed to counteract the overwhelming distractions of western culture. 

Adapted for the Modern World


Participants will learn the most effective methods to develop authentic calm, clarity, and wisdom; and to achieve deep, sustained states of relaxation.  The course materials have been concisely and practically adapted from the meditation techniques of the most profound ancient Buddhist traditions, as well as modern secular evidenced-based approaches. 

Experienced practitioners, as well as beginning meditators, will benefit from this opportunity to discover what is possible when we release tension on every level—from the physical body, to the heart, to the subtlest energies of the mind--and rest with stability in this natural condition.    

The Discovering Mind Program


• Learn conscious breathing to link body, energy and mind 

• Explore postures and gazes appropriate for different body types and energy levels 

• Practice calm abiding meditation with techniques that anchor the wandering mind 

• Develop clarity, equanimity and non-conceptuality through the practice of insight meditation

• Cultivate the heart of compassion to radiate kindness and inspiration 

• Relax into a deep sense of harmony with your innermost mind

• Transcend dualistic fixation to merge in union with the flow of existence 

• Rest in a fully integrative experience of natural awareness   

Our Seven Step Approach

Step One: Basic Sitting Meditation

To begin our meditative journey, we establish a comfortable meditation posture.  We discover how to integrate physical and mental awareness with energy as we sit.  Finally, we practice bringing mind and body together in relaxation as a preparation for calm abiding meditation.

Step Two: Calm Abiding Meditation

Now that we’ve practiced relaxing and connecting with our bodies and energy, we learn calm abiding meditation to cultivate relaxed focus.  We work with various objects of attention to free ourselves from the disturbances of thoughts and reach a state of calm.

Step Three: Arriving at Clarity

As our focus becomes more refined, it also becomes more relaxed and clear.  Our attention shifts from an external object to single‐pointedness itself— the unity between our mind and the environment.  As our mind begins to open, happiness and inspiration arise naturally. 

Step Four: Insight Meditation

As we move beyond the urge to manipulate our experience, less and less effort is required to explore the subtle qualities of mind and uncover our true inner nature.  As our insight develops, we learn to rest in the clarity and inspiration of our innate wisdom, without dullness or agitation. 

Step Five: Open Heart-Mind

We begin to view our internal and external worlds more widely, creating a foundation for the experience of unbiased compassion.  Instead of grasping at the duality of self and other, we cultivate boundless equanimity which leads to an experience of wide-open, spacious mind.

Step Six: Pure Mind Meditation

We discover that the true nature of mind is vast, uncontrived and free of thoughts and worries.  Through this practice, we open to the space between dualities, transcend habitual patterns and achieve a deep state of resting wakefulness. 

Step Seven: Non-Conceptual Meditation

In this final lesson, we are introduced to our profound innermost nature of non-conceptual awareness, the naturally perfect state of spontaneous arising and primordial purity. We allow the mind to rest effortlessly beyond fixation, beyond manipulation, in our authentic natural condition. 

100 Hour Meditation Teacher Training

100 Hour Classroom Course


 The Discovering Mind Meditation Teacher Training Program is a comprehensive 100 hour classroom course taught for aspiring teachers as well as practitioners at all levels of experience.  The program offers an immersive approach designed to be taught over a full year.  It can also be structured as a 50 hour Level I program in combination with a 50 hour Level II program. 

Course Requirements


Participants will be required to complete 100 hours of classroom activities including lectures, discussion and meditation; periodic quizzes and a final exam; and regular student teaching. In addition to classroom hours, participants will be required to practice a minimum of 30 minutes of daily meditation; complete all required reading assignments; and perform two hours per month of outside teaching or relevant community service.  

Additional Course Material


In addition to extensive instruction on the seven-step approach to meditation, the Discovering Mind Meditation Teacher Training Program will present relevant topics including Basic and Advanced Pranayama; Research on the Benefits of Meditation; History, Philosophy and Ethics of Meditation; the Business of Meditation; and Special Learning Environments including Children/Teens, Trauma, Corporate environments and Prisons.

Upcoming Events


We are currently offering our 100 Hour Teacher Training Program (Level I & II) at Ruah Yoga Studio in Annapolis, MD.  The course began in August 2019 and meets one or two weekends per month for 10 months.

We will be offering an online, module-based 100 hour Teacher Training program beginning in early 2020. 

Price & Payment


The price of the 100-hour Teacher Training Program is $1,700.  We require a $500 deposit to reserve your space and six monthly payments of $200 each.  

We also offer an Early Bird Special price of $1,500.  To qualify, payment in full must be received at least 30 days before class begins. 

About Your Instructor


Michael Hess is a western yogi in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.  He has been meditating for 25 years and teaches practitioners at all levels of experience, including meditation and yoga teachers, individual clients, groups and corporate workshops in the USA and overseas.  He recently completed a one year solitary meditation retreat at a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas. He is authorized by Yoga Alliance as an RYT 200 instructor.

Opportunities for Discovering Mind

Meditation Teacher Training

Our Meditation Teacher Training Program is a comprehensive 100 hour classroom course taught for aspiring teachers as well as practitioners at all levels of experience.  Our 2019 MTT program is in session and will end in  April 2020.  Our  2020 program will be offered online and will be module based. 

Mentoring Programs

We offer personal meditation coaching, either one-on-one, or for small groups of family or friends. Coaching sessions can take place at Discovering Mind  teaching locations or the client's location.   Please contact us to schedule a free introductory call.

Weekly Classes

 We offer weekly individual and group meditation classes at various locations as well as online via Zoom.  We currently offer weekly classes at yoga studios, therapy practices, corporate and government offices in the greater Washington, DC metro area.

Workshops & Seminars

We offer off-site workshops and seminars for participants at all levels of experience, including 90 minute, half-day, full-day and multi-day programs.  Past locations have included yoga studios, wellness centers, therapy practices and non-profit organizations, as well as corporate and government offices.

Online Classes

In early 2020 we will begin offering a weekly online meditation class via Zoom.  The class will follow our Seven Step Approach over the course of a full year, and is available to participants on a drop-in basis.  Contact us for the class schedule and log-in details.

Meditation Retreats

We lead off-site meditation retreats where we present our Seven Step Approach in an intensive, compressed time frame.  Upcoming winter 2020 retreats include:

Cali, Colombia - January 24-26, 2020

Bali, Indonesia - Feb. 1 - March 24, 2020

San Isidro, Costa Rica - Mar. 29-April 5, 2020

From Our Clients

North Star Therapy, PLLC had the pleasure of partnering with Michael Hess to provide a full day seminar on the basics of meditation.  Overall, it was a wonderful presentation.  During the lecture, Michael took the time to show the class the specific techniques and positioning for meditating.  He was patient with the class, and answered any questions throughout the seminar.  I highly recommend Michael to anyone that would be interested in learning about meditation.  He is highly knowledgeable and has extensive experience.  I look forward to partnering up with him again in the near future!

Dr. Arezoo K., Clinical Psychologist

Fredericksburg, VA

The experience of working with Michael Hess  teaching the Seven Steps of meditation to my class of students with diverse background and understanding was a profoundly great blessing. His method of guiding was clear and calming although we had a challenge of translation into German language.  Nevertheless Michael was easely to accomodate to our various needs. We eagerly look forward to inviting Michael again in a few months to our Pema Karpo Centre in Vienna, Austria.  Our hearfelt gratitude for honoring us with your presence.

Tsering C., CEO

Vienna, Austria

I have had the fortunate pleasure of working one-on-one with Michael Hess.  I have had a steady mindfulness meditation practice over the course of a few years, and was feeling the need to go beyond what I already understood.  I realized that I was in need of someone to guide me through that.  Michael has helped me move closer towards that goal.  He has the ability to teach, guide, encourage and share his experiences in a way that is insightful and motivating.  He is compassionate in his teaching style, however he is very specific and direct at the same time, which I find necessary to keeping me on track. The ability to be able to relay that to a student is a testimony to his true embodiment of the Dharma.  I have worked with other teachers, and without a doubt working with Michael has brought me closer to reaching my personal goals in a way that has far exceeded my expectations.

Maryellen T.

Northern Virginia

More Testimonials...

Our staff attended Michael's stress management workshop and we learned several simple techniques to better respond to stress.  Our staff was new to meditation and found his techniques very effective for the type of work we do within the community.  Michael has a wealth of knowledge and helped us understand the big picture of the techniques we were using.  He generously donated his time and energy in helping us learn how to better take care of ourselves and ultimately help us better serve our community! Thank you Michael!!

Micah Ecumenical Ministries

Fredericksburg, VA

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