A circular-patterned, stone-lined labyrinth path may have raised curiosity for some folks driving by the east side of John Day.
At the top of the driveway leading to the labyrinth and a new building is a sign: “Canyon Mountain Center.”
Jim and Sandy Bay of Mt. Vernon recently opened the center, which is a place for meditation, yoga and wellness, at 767 E. Main St. in John Day.
Sandy said she’s found healing through meditation and other methods since 1987, which she said has allowed her to heal herself and re-create her future.
“I’m letting go of the past and living in the moment,” she said. “It’s been quite a journey.”
Jim has been practicing meditation since 1970.
“When you start taking care of yourself physically, it carries over to other areas,” he said.
The couple bought the property, which used to be home to the Rock Garden Nursery, two years ago. On Jan. 20, 40 visitors dropped in for their open house.
The couple started a meditation group with friends in 2010 at a location on Hillcrest Road in John Day, but the Bays felt it was time for a more dedicated spot.
“We built this facility because there was no central location large enough to support a focus on complementary health practices,” Jim said.
He described the center as a space for people to focus on their health and wellness, stress reduction techniques and personal growth.
The center, an olive green building, has a multipurpose room for meditation nights, yoga classes and lectures. A few geode crystals and cast-stone art decorate the minimalist 28-by-32-foot room. An adjacent room is for group meetings, discussions and consultations.
West of the facility is the labyrinth path. Sandy said it’s modeled after one built in the 13th century at Chartres Cathedral in France.
“There are labyrinths all over the world and in different religions,” Jim said.
“They’re popular at hospitals to let go of stress,” Sandy added.
Sandy and three other women built the labyrinth, which is 36 feet wide with black sand, fine enough to walk on barefoot in warmer months.
The circular pathway, with seven revolutions, leads to the center then back out again.
Sandy said, “The first phase (entering the path) is to release issues or problems.”
She said in the middle of the labyrinth, “you receive guidance from whatever force you call on. When you go back out, it’s integration of the guidance you received.”
The process, she said, helps release old patterns.
“It’s a way to calm yourself and focus,” she said.
“— and rebalance,” Jim added.
Another feature outside is a rock garden, gazebo and fire pit, as well as a brick staircase leading down to the John Day River. A vacation rental with three bedrooms, two living rooms, a kitchen and two bathrooms sits above the rock garden.
Rod Hendriksen of Prairie City remodeled the house and built the meditation center.
“We had the design, and he created it for us,” Jim said.
The Bays said the property, while not a public park, is a gift they want to share with the community.
“It’s payback for our good lives here and for this valley. ... It’s not about us,” Jim said, adding it can help people “catch their breath, slow down and recenter.”
“We wanted people to have fun and come join us,” Sandy said. “It’s for people to come find themselves.”
Free meditation sessions are on Monday nights at 5:30 p.m., with a short time to talk and share experiences at 6 p.m. Novice meditation instruction is at 5 p.m.
Yoga classes taught by Anne Schneider will begin in mid-February.
“There is now a space dedicated to help promote those healthy lifestyle choices,” Jim said. “We welcome those of like mind who want to contribute to and participate in this goal.”
For more information, visit CanyonMountainCenter.net or call Jim at 415-748-8697 or Sandy at 415-515-6316.