Mindfulness Via Yoga

align. renew. transform.

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The Intent of Yoga Becomes Meditation

Nothing is more satisfying to me as a teacher than to spend an hour  with a group of yogis who yearn to quiet their minds. In this arena, it’s easy – and so rewarding –  to be the teacher who appears when the student is ready.  But even Jim, who you see below, could find new material in what was, to me, the same old workshop !  I give this workshop often and I do find there are just a few methods of organization that seem to work well for everyone. Never the same story because it’s never the same group of students.

Sooner and sooner, we get to the gold standard of 20 minutes of sitting in stillness.

To begin, we take a lot of time and a lot of blankets and props and moveable body parts to make sitting comfortable.  As one student asked: Is not moving the goal?  A great question. Being comfortable is so essential to the process of Mindful Meditation (awareness) that we always need to start there and give everybody a choice of options for allowing the body to relax. As one professional meditator said, If the knees are higher than the hips it just wont happen. The back will round, the head will bow, and it will be impossible to breathe with any sort of ease of well-being.

After we move through several varieties of breath work, we revisit the subject of sitting comfortably. Then, only then, do we get into the hard work:  finding ways to focus the mind on just one object. For beginners, we look  the usual long, sequential string of thoughts and practice ways to corral them into on unique thought.  Perhaps it is looking at one number or another mantra. For some folks it is the rubbing of the traditional 108 mala beads. And always the classic reset: return to the breath.

Learning to meditate in a group is the best way to get started on a personal practise that can last a lifetime.

Not everyone can or wants to sit on your heels. Or cross-legged. Chairs are available. So are zafus, blankets, and individual attention to the options for sitting without back pain or slumping.

Look to the right, here, to sign up to Follow this blog with your email address. If you’d like to arrange a workshop please email to MindOverYoga@yahoo.com.

Namaste.Pair of Meditated Sitters img2001.jpg

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Bullish about Meditation

IMG_1794 “What does it take to stay alert during meditation? I have a hard time staying awake. My thoughts race through my mind and I can’t get them to stop.”

All of these questions were troubling a most earnest student who desperately wanted to learn to meditate. She was great at partying, another compulsion of her mind, and thought that meditating would help her get her social instincts under control. What I will always remember is trying to “love her” into having any meditation experience.  Nothing seemed to work.
My final image of her would be an 8 a.m. group of beginner meditators, sitting together.  And there was dear Karen with a can of Red Bull by her knee.

I knew that her dilemma was to get to class and stay awake after a hard night of partying. Taking any stimulant was– to her –the only option. But there was another option : Fall asleep – go ahead and let it happen.  You wont sleep forever sitting there and when you wake up you will be refreshed and just maybe inspired by the insights.