Forgiveness in Meditation

This month our Moving into Meditation class is studying the Yoga Ethic of Aparigraha.  Here are some of the resources we used in this morning’s practice of guided relaxation, mindful movement and sitting meditation.

We used the Pavamana Asatoma Mantra and Bhramari to seed our breathing consciousness in our pranayama practice.

We drew inspiration from the poet and philosopher David Whyte’s explorations on forgiveness taken from Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.

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Letting Go in Meditation

This month our Moving into Meditation class is studying the Yoga Ethic of Aparigraha.  Here are some of the resources we used in this morning’s practice of guided relaxation, mindful movement and sitting meditation.

We used mantra and bandha to seed our breathing consciousness in our pranayama practice.

Today We were gifted rare Japanese incense especially made to facilitate letting go.

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Moving Into Meditation With Trees

This month our Moving into Meditation class is studying the Yoga Ethic of Brahmacharya.  Here are some of the resources we used in this morning’s practice of guided relaxation, mindful movement and sitting meditation.

The inspiration for our guided relaxation and practice comes from The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben.  You can find a lovely synopsis of the book written by cultural essayist Maria Popova at her BrainPickings.org website.

We crushed the flat sprays of scale-like leaves of Thuja Plicata, our native Western red cedar, between our palms to release its aromatic oils.  We breathed them in during our Pranayama practice.  Cedarwood brings people together to experience strength and value of community.  It inspires the feeling of belonging and assists the heart in opening to receive love and support. Continue reading

Utmost Care in Meditation

This month our Moving into Meditation class is studying the Yoga Ethic of Brahmacharya.  Here are some of the resources we used in this morning’s practice of guided relaxation, mindful movement and sitting meditation.

The inspiration for our guided relaxation and practice comes from Native American musician, poet and writer, Joy Harjo.  Her latest book is Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings.

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Allowing in Meditation

This month our Moving into Meditation class is studying the Yoga Ethic of Brahmacharya.  Here are some of the resources we used in this morning’s practice of guided relaxation, mindful movement and sitting meditation.

The inspiration for our guided relaxation comes from teacher and social activist Michael Stone and poet and spoken word artist Ben Bushill.  You can hear more of Ben’s work on YouTube or read his poems in his book:  I Choose to Believe in Magic.

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Blessing for the Senses

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We enjoyed the first week of the Moving Into Meditation class at Yoga Bliss.  We meet in the early morning and simply practice presence in moving and stillness.  As I recall our time together my heart is lifting into lightness – just like the birds in this photo.

I bow in thanks to this miracle of being alive, together.  May you enjoy the blessing we shared from poet, priest and philosopher John O’Donahue:

Blessing for the Senses

May your body be blessed.
May you realize that your body is a faithful
and beautiful friend of your soul.
And may you be peaceful and joyful
and recognize that your senses
are sacred thresholds.
May you realize that holiness is
mindful, gazing, feeling, hearing, and touching.
May your senses gather you and bring you home.
May your senses always enable you to
celebrate the universe and the mystery
and possibilities in your presence here.
May the Eros of the Earth bless you.

– John O’Donohue in Anam Cara

Little Altars Everywhere

IMG_1394A few weeks ago Tim and I went to visit our friends Chris and Cathy’s home and school at Wild Gardens.  You can take a digital visit through their SoulArtSystem website.   It’s a place where they nurture family, friends, plants, animals and earth.  Magical green things seemed to sprawl in every direction.  I couldn’t take it in fast enough – in fact my mind was moving too fast that day – with jittery agitation and busyness.  I could feel a sense of avaricious, grabby energy around “taking in” something new.

Cathy offered us a breath centered yoga class in the sunlit studio overlooking a verdant tree-scape and unruly garden plots.  I found myself trusting her guidance and then coming home to the place underlies surface turbulence.  She suggested we simply say yes to our experience – even if it was yes to saying no – which made me smile. I started feeling my body’s yes to the areas of spine and pelvis Cathy traveled with words.  Relaxing, breathing, trusting.

When we emerged from the studio, I could savor my friends, the sights, sounds and smells more slowly.  Cathy gave us a tour of the land, art and living spaces.  She generously invited us into her family’s special way of living.  Together they grow grasses, herbs, trees, vegetables, raise farm animals, craft foods, drinks, willow reed baskets, build, paint and mosaic.  Expressions of their creativity surrounded us.

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Step 4: Empathy to Beyond

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You seem to be you
and I seem to be me.
My sorrows are no greater
than your sorrows.
Thou art beautiful,
o my loves,
as tears are. – Terrance Keenan

We held our Monthly Meditation & Communi-Tea practice at Yoga Bliss. One Sunday a month we will offer students more time to go a little deeper and make new friends. We’re drawing inspiration from Karen Armstrong’s “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life”. Ms. Armstrong is a best selling author and TED Prize Winner who created and launched the Charter for Compassion.

During our first meeting we focused on the 1step: learning about compassion. The following month’s 2nd step involved taking a deep hearted look at the world around us and focusing on how we can actualize compassion within our family, workplace and nation. Last month’s 3rd step explored extending compassion toward ourselves. Why bother? Today, we explored the 4th Step: empathy and beyond.

We contemplated some of one my favorite writers, Rebecca Solnit‘s, observations:

“Mostly we tell the story of our lives, or mostly we’re taught to tell it, as a quest to avoid suffering, though if your goal is a search for meaning, honor, experience, the same events may be victories or necessary steps. Then the personal matters; it’s home; but you can travel in and out of it, rather than being marooned there.  The leprosy specialist Paul Brand wrote, ‘Pain, along with its cousin touch, is distributed universally on the body, providing a sort of boundary of self,’: but empathy, solidarity, allegiance – the nerves that run out into the world – expand the self beyond its physical bounds.” 

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