I thought I would share this as maybe it will help you clear your mind and body before you sleep. It is not really a video but a guided meditation, but so far with what I know a video is easier to share than audio. It is raw, not perfected or polished. I blow my nose, I have a cold, I sit up in a wonky way. It is taken from the end of a online Zoom yoga session with a private client. I have been wanting to share some guided meditations, when I teach it is pretty much all guided movement and stillness meditation. I don’t have a plan or use a script. I tried recording some with a script I wrote, and while I like what I said, it sounded like I was reading from a script. In this what I say is not exactly right, yet it sounds, at least to me, more authentic, albeit a little slow and with a stuffy nosed voice. I like it better than the script though. In 14 years of teaching it is the first time I have recorded myself and listened to the recording as a meditation for myself…I tend to be more ephemeral than documenting. I think it will help me get better at this to do this, record myself in real time rather than scripted and then experience myself as a student. It is fascinating. I am different on the outside than I am inside of me, it seems so far, and as I watch myself I have extreme compassion for this little woman that I am, in the same way I have compassion for you when I see you in real life. I will likely record a similar guided meditation and at that point perhaps delete this. Yet in the interim I am sharing what I have available and maybe it will be of interest to you.
I have been experiencing that one of the functions of postural practice in the system of yoga is as counterbalance, anchoring into an embodied awareness of a relative sense of space and time to help orient and function in those realms while simultaneously opening into a connection with the formless infinite beyond these finite boundaries of form.
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Postural meditation is part of how I remind myself of my strength in the face of adversity, part of how I attune to grace and agility in the midst of whatever else life is giving. I am grateful for the ability and the continued perseverance that allows me to do this. This was some of my practice today.
Essentially I am pretty private, and I like to present postural meditation practices in a way that makes them accessible to everyone. As a result I don’t tend to share posts like this. While gymnastic movement meditation practices can be intimidating, they can also be inspiring. It is in this vein that I share this sun salutation possibility, for those it may inspire.
I don’t often have the opportunity to teach people this kind of practice, but I would like to more. I tend to offer puzzle pieces of movement in simpler postures and then as ability allows put the pieces together into more complex possibilities so that by the time we get to the challenging posture you are already oriented to the parts that will make up the whole. If doing this kind of movement comes easy to you, I tend to break it down into pieces to bring in precision of alignment and body awareness into what you are already doing.
I do lead group classes yet find one-on-one instruction is a particular strength, especially for others who generally practice on their own rather than in a group led setting. If you are interested, be in touch. I’ll put a link the comments to my website for more information.
I apologize for the cropping, I am a bit limited in the technology department… I am working with what I currently have and learning as I go.
Overwhelmed? Maybe this will help. Not so much as an escape, for as tempting as that seems, hiding doesn’t make it all go away and can have a rebound effect. Yet as respite. A grounding in yourself. To calm the intensity and restore clear thinking. To help reorient in the face of the disorientation, whatever the specifics of that may be for you right now. A potential for self-support to keep going.
It is a simple guided meditation. Once you listen to it you can practice it yourself anytime. It is tactile, you can let go of the words and feel it. And bring yourself back. It can be done in any position, at anytime, even in the midst of action and intensity. No one will even know you are doing it.
You can take in this recipe and let it distill inside of you…this current speaking of it is a continuously evolving variation that has been inspired by many techniques and teachers and holds the quality of each as well as has become something personal inside of me.
It helps me come home to myself.
I share as maybe it will be useful for you too.
I tried to record a variation of this yesterday but there was a fly in the background…
So I opened the front door to try recording it outside and this photo is what I saw!
I sat down to record again today and this is the first track, unedited. I may record it over again, perhaps utilizing another method, but this works for now.
On this day when many people are basking in the bliss of romantic love or lamenting that they are not, I would like to offer another perspective for those of us who are not partnered. Many times I have felt very sorry for myself that I don’t seem to get to have what other people seem to have and so many songs and stories say is the ultimate experience that everyone wants, the companionship of mutual romantic love. There are myriad reasons why some of us don’t find this, or perhaps don’t have it currently, and while having it can certainly be lovely, finding romantic love does not necessarily make or break a fulfilling, vibrant life. Many people hold on to relationships that have expired or perhaps were never even all that good to begin with in order to avoid the seemingly horrific potential of life without a romantic partner. Sometimes we put ourselves into situations that are not viable and at times even dangerous because we are more afraid that we need to be held in order to be okay. And many, myself included at times, miss seeing the beauty that’s right in front of us in pining for something that we imagine would make us complete and can’t seem to find. I have been without romantic relationship for many years now, with only very few unsuccessful attempts along the way. In each case we would have likely benefited each other much more to have related as friends instead. While I still get caught up in the desire for that at times, and am not closed to the possibility that at some point I may find mutual romantic love, I have also found great peace in letting go of needing to have it, in being complete in myself.
Some of the benefits for me have been: I am very comfortable going almost anywhere alone and enjoy my own company, whether or not I engage with other people on my journeys. I have come to often prefer it, especially the ability to come and go as I please without having to compromise with someone else’s desires (other than my son, but that is another situation, and also part of why I deeply appreciate my times of pure freedom). I am pretty capable of doing most things on my own, and when I’m not, I am becoming adept at finding ways to support myself to get those things done too. I am not resentful and waiting for someone else to do their part to balance the tally, I just get it done or not. I relate well with men and women and value them as beings worthy in themselves, not so dominated by the tension of being potential sexual partners or not. I am becoming more comfortable walking away when this is not respected, and am able to take it less personally through time and practice. This helps me feel safer and more comfortable in my own skin, and in my own integrity, and sometimes wakes people up to how they are limiting the ways we may be able to relate by fixating on sexuality and romantic love. I experience the transmutation of sexual energy into vitality and creative inspiration, and sexual attraction into appreciation and connection beyond just that initial potential interest. I am often able to desire without having to obtain the object of desire and enjoy the beautiful experience of the desire in itself. Which…is freedom. My identity is not confined to being a partner and I am able to relate with whoever I want, however I want, as long as it is agreeable with the person I am relating with, and perhaps their partners I continuously discover what I think and enjoy without the influence of others defining what is possible or valid. I have come to trust myself and am my own validation.
I’m not saying these things can’t be found in the context of a romantic relationship, monogamous or otherwise, I’m just sharing that life can be beautiful and satisfying even if you don’t find romantic love. Even if that’s not what we’re conditioned to believe, and even on a day like today. If you’re feeling alone, just know you’re not alone in being alone. And that being solo doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely. There are many ways to have companionship, including the companionship of your own heart.
On this and everyday.
I am generally not into slogans, although there is a Buddhist one I have heard that I think of a lot – just enough and not too much. It is kind of a Goldilocks approach to life 🙂
Practicing yoga helps me experiment with this balance on a physical, experiential level, balancing how much weight forward, how much back, where do I lift from, where do I contract, when I shift one aspect of the posture how does that affect the rest, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Some of it is mental, I remember the ways I have played with the posture before and cues other teachers and students have suggested to me, yet it is not only a mental thinking it out. It includes body memory and develops an awareness beyond just the thinking of the mind, beyond just the discursive thought or continuous defining of the mind, it becomes a direct felt experience of the balance that integrates and grows with me.
I am also finding this true with my experience of the continuous learning curve of skiing and snowboarding, dynamic practices of the subtleties of the shifts of weight and posture responding to the shape of the skis or board, the texture of the snow and the contours of the mountain. The practice of yoga does help support the sport in that it can be cross training to warm up and bring awareness into the body and center the mind before going on the mountain and decompressing to unwind tension, reduce soreness and recovery time and prepare the body for the next day. Yet there is also potential for utilizing yoga to refine sensitivity to the effects of stance and the subtle shift of weight in any posture and especially in ones that directly inform the body of movements used in skiing and riding, teaching our bodies how to efficiently perform these movements and giving ourself practice both on and off the hill. Perhaps beginning with mental inquiry and developing into experiential wisdom.
When I ski and ride it is very much a physical yoga practice in that I start with a variety of cues in myself that gradually build – just enough and not too much, a little bit of this and a little bit of that – until it all flows together and I am not thinking out the skiing, all my awarenesses are coming together and the skiing is happening right through me. It is kind of a sahaja approach to life, the sahaja the purely spontaneous being who has trained their body and mind to instead of compulsively react to phenomena, appropriately respond to the specifics of each situation. In the case of your sport or your art this plays out as learning and practicing the form first so then the creativity can unfold and grow through that structure. If you never learned some of the building blocks, through a teacher and/or your own mindful practice, in snowsports you’d likely just fall down the hill. Yet with practice and experiential awareness of your posture, how to read the terrain and the conditions and how subtle shifts of weight drive the edges of your equipment, the falling down the hill can become a graceful and efficient dance of balance. Just enough and not too much.
This is what I am currently into 🙂 If you’d like to play with me with it come to The Mountain Club on Loon at Loon Mountain Resort on Sunday March 13, 2016 for Yoga and Snowsports as Movement Meditation 3/13/16 or be in touch and we can do a private with snowsports or just physical yoga – and develop a practice to support whatever sport or art you are currently into.