Meditation Station! What's all the Hype about?!

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I took this photo of my two year old meditating and the face he made was just priceless.  All I could think was 'I feel your pain little buddy... sitting with oneself ain't easy.'  And it's true, it can sometimes be straight up painful and ugly.  I've been fortunate to partake in two separate Vipassana courses over the years.   These are ten day silent meditation retreats offered worldwide, where a regimented schedule requires over ten hours of meditation each day, taught by my most influential teacher, S.N. Goenka.  I can't lie and say it was easy, but radical life changing experiences rarely come without putting in the work first.

So, maybe a ten day meditation course in silence isn't for you.... not to worry,  I've got you covered.

As many of you know, each of my yoga classes start and finish with seated meditation.  And here is why...

In a world as manic and busy as ours, it is so important to take the time to work with our minds.... 'Exercise' it, if you will.  We all know spending time and energy to maintaining healthy and fit bodies is so important, but what we need more than ever in our lives are healthy, fit, and ultimately happy minds;  it's our most powerful tool at our disposal as human beings.  The Eastern world has acknowledged this fact for centuries, and just recently has the Western world started to catch wind.

Don't overthink it, meditation is simply working with the science of the mind.   And just like exercise is a workout on the body, meditation is a workout of our minds.  (especially at first)  As we sit with ourselves in meditation, we are creating the space to simply face whatever comes up in our minds and our bodies with consciousness, and awareness.  As pleasant or unpleasant sensations or thoughts arise in the mind and body, we simple acknowledge the thoughts and sensations for what they are, sit with them, and gently resist the urge to react to that which arises.  We practise becoming simply observers.   Sounds easy right... wrong!!  Years and years of neglecting our minds has left them wildly out of control,  irrational, and quite frankly insane.  Don't be suprised if a storm of emotion takes you over when you start to sit silently with yourself.  But don't feel discouraged, you have meditation, and it is your tool to tame that beast!

As we practise our ability to sit with those things that are uncomfortable in meditation.... (an emotion, a feeling, a bodily sensation), the pull of the mind begins to have less and less of an effect on us.  We begin to develop the tools to interpret these things more objectively, with less of a reactive emotional or physical response.

Yes, yoga is so so so sweet for the body, but as you deepen your practise, you'll realise how beneficial it is for your mind, making you cooler, calmer, and happier in your life. 

Create the space for yourself.

For more information on Vipassana, please get it touch as I could ramble on for days.   Here's the link to the Vipassana Centre in Ontario https://www.torana.dhamma.org/

 

Namaste Friends,

Laura Jane

 

Your Free 'Essential at Home Yoga Guide'

Yes... it's spring here in Port Severn... but yes, it's still wintery out there :(  When weather doesn't cooperate, it's sometimes hard to find motivation to do much of anything...  and even though I know you'd love to do yoga more regularly, you are busy, and making yoga a priority can be a challenge.

Not to worry, I totally get it... and I've got you covered!

I've attached an 'At Home Yoga Guide' below to download for free... here are just a few basic asanas (poses) you can safely try at home, that are fairly common in the yoga room to get you through until you're next class.
 
The sequence of asanas we’ve created is fairly straight forward (sorry no handstands and backflips today).  We want to be sure you’re kept out of harm's way.  With that said, always listen to your body and do what’s comfortable for you.

Be aware, that yoga, if done improperly, can result in some pretty nasty injuries.  It’s definitely best to get proper professional instruction, or even better, a private one-on-one session to start.  Check out what classes we offer and click here to find more info on one-on-one private sessions.
 
Before you start, find a quiet, peaceful space in your home with limited distractions.  Feel free to dim the lights, light some candles, and put on some relaxing music.    Download the PDF file below for printing or keep it handy on your phone.

Top 5 Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Yoga Practise

You've heard how beneficial yoga can be for our body, spirits and minds.... but sometimes you're left wondering if you're really doing it right.  Am I really "getting" it?  Am I making the most out of my practise?  Am I missing something?  

Here are the top five ways to get the most 'bang for your buck', and how to get the most out of your yoga practise whether at home or in the studio.

1. FOCUS ON YOUR PRACTISE... and leave THAT phone at home!:  

Move your attention away from outward distractions like what you can see through the studio window, or your friend beside you.  Imagine you are alone with four invisible walls surrounding your mat.  Don't bring anything into the yoga room, like a cell phone or watch, that will potential pull your attention away from your practise.  Don't waste the time and energy you've spent getting onto your yoga mat, only to be somewhere else mentally.  Trust me, I know, it's easier said than done... continue to practise bringing your focus inward.  Try closing your eyes more.  You've taken the time to come to yoga class and it's such a short amount of time in your whole day, so don't lose the moment.

2.  DON'T GET CAUGHT UP IN HOW A POSE SHOULD LOOK AND WHETHER YOU ARE DOING IT BEST: 

Fact:  there will always be someone that can do a better dancer's pose than you.  Fact.  It's okay. Believe it or not, whether you can go into the full extension of a pose or not, really doesn't matter. Too many yogi's get caught up in their ability to strike a pose beautifully and perfectly and feel inadequate when they can't.  Don't be one of these yogi's.   Perfecting a pose in and of itself, is not the ultimate reason for practising asanas.  Our goal is to feel the energetic effect each pose has to offer.  Gently push yourself into an asana until you reach your edge.  For practised yogi's this place of resistance will naturally be found deeper into a pose than beginners.  Where ever you are along the spectrum, does not matter.  What matters is honouring where you are at, and honouring your journey.  Let go of glorifying and craving any end result, which does nothing more than feeds the ego.  Where you are at, is perfection.

3.  BREATHE BREATHE BREATHE:  

It's all about the breath people!  I had a yoga instructor once tell me, "No matter where you are or what you are doing, if your attention is on your breathe, you are practising yoga!"  This really stuck with me.  Even if you need to take a break and come into child's pose to rest, so long as you are staying present and aware of the quality of your breathe you are doing the only thing that truly matters.  In each class try to foster a deeper awareness of how you breathe, and try to coordinate each movement with an inhale and exhale.  Bringing awareness to the breathe is the easiest way to connect your mind and body.  It is our ever-available tool for moving away from distracting thoughts and restless minds and the gateway to the present moment and inner peace. Distracting thoughts, feelings, and emotions are bound to come up.  Use your breath as your anchor and pull your attention back to your practise.

4. Leave all expectations at the door:

Try not to come to class with the expectation the teacher will lead you into bliss, or offer up the secrets of life.  Don't expect you won't have a distracting yogi beside you, and also don't expect your body to do all the things it let you do last class.  Unexpected things happen all the time that are out of our control, and our bodies change from one day to the next.  Instead of craving and expecting a specific experience out of your yoga practise, let it go and let it be.  It is what it is in this moment in time, and practising this grace will help us be less reactive on and off our mats.

5. SHOWING UP:  

This is by far the hardest, but most important part.  Showing up and fostering a regular practise, is what leads to a deep, beneficial and meaningful practise.  Getting to class or dedicating a space and time at home takes commitment...   And I get it, we are all busy.  It sometimes feels the last thing we have time for is to lie around on our mats when there's so much to be done!  ...But there is an old zen: 'you should practise meditation for 15 minutes daily, and if you are too busy, make it an hour'  It is much more beneficial to practise yoga regularly even for thirty minutes a week and taking child's pose the entire time, than just thinking about practising and showing up once in a blue moon.  A commitment to your practise is a commitment to taking care of yourself... the most important thing in the world!