Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Hi Everyone

Good to see you all in class last week, particularly those of you who were new. Well done, especially those who did the ashtanga session at Cairns on Monday. It's quite a tough session for the beginner, you did fantastically and I hope to see you all again next week.

For those of you who might be interested in trying some meditation to accompany your yoga practice I have pasted below an article by the renowned American yoga teacher Shiva Rea.

This method is one I have used myself which I found particularly useful when I first started meditating. Meditating takes a lot of patience and trial and error, but the rewards are worth it. So why not give the method described below a go and see how you get on. Be warned you might feel a bit daft the first couple of times you do it, don't let this put you off, that feeling goes when you get in to it.

Good luck

Jo x

A Higher Hum: Breath and Mantra Meditation
The following meditation is based upon the mantra "so hum," ("I am that") used within the traditions of Tantra and Vedanta.
By Shiva Rea

Mantra, the chanting of sacred words or sounds, is a central part of yogic meditation. Mantra comes from the combination of two syllables: "man," meaning "to reflect" or "be aware," and "tra," meaning "tool for" or "agent of." A mantra is a tool for reflection and the cultivation of awareness, and is used for both concentration and contemplation on the Source.

Within yoga, mantras are based upon sounds that reflect the energy of our divine nature. Om is considered to be the universal, consummate mantra. The following meditation is based upon the mantra "so hum," ("I am that") used within the traditions of Tantra and Vedanta. Since "so hum" also indicates the sound of the breath, it is a mantra that repeats itself effortlessly.

Find a comfortable posture for meditation (seated on a cushion or blanket, in a chair or against a wall). Place your palms facing up in jnana mudra (forefinger and thumb touching) with your palms facing up to open your awareness or facing down to calm the mind. Scan your body and relax any tension. Let your spine rise from the ground of the pelvis. Draw your chin slightly down and let the back of your neck lengthen.

Bring your attention to the tidal rhythm of your breath, feeling the rise and fall of your inhalation and exhalation. As your focus settles on your breath, begin to employ the simple mantra "so hum." As you inhale, say "so" silently to yourself, and as you exhale say "hum." Keep your focus on the sensation of your breath while silently repeating the sacred syllables, "so hum." As you drink your inhalation, gently drawing your breath along the base of your throat, listen for the sound of "so." As you exhale, listen for the sound of "hum" as your breath is amplified in the throat.

Let your mind become absorbed in the sound of so hum-in your internal chanting and your actual breath. As if you were watching the waves of the ocean, let your mind be naturally drawn into presence and stillness—no place to go, nothing to do, so hum, so hum. If a thought (vritti) arises, come back to the mantra so hum.

In the beginning, it may be helpful to set an external timer for 10, 20, or 30 minutes so you are not distracted. When you are finished, bring your hands together in anjali mudra (prayer position) and close with a moment of gratitude, reflection, or prayer to soak up the energy of your meditation into your being and life.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Hi Everyone

I hope those of you who did an autumn/winter flow yoga class with me this week enjoyed the class. I enjoyed teaching it!

I was getting a real sense of low energy in the classes over the last couple of weeks, which is completely normal at this time of year. At this time we want to be cultivating and gathering energy inwards not giving it out too much, which is why I switched to flow from ashtanga. Those of you who are very attached to the ashtanga practice, dinnae fech, the flow we are doing is working deeply into areas which will benefit your ashtanga practice in the new year.

The flow we did, is deeply relaxing and will I hope stand you all in good stead for the annual, stress fest that is the run up to Xmas. We will stick with the same flow and after a couple of times doing it you will start to 'get the flow of it'!!!!

For more info on seasonal yoga go to the energy in season link under 'my favourite websites' where you can find all sorts of advice on seasonal living from the fantastic Julie Hanson and Sue Woodd.

I have been asked to post some information about the music I use in my classes:

The tracks I mostly use during the relaxation at the end come from the cd Music for Meditation 2 by Lex Van Someren. Which I have to say is one of the best I have come across. The mantra track which a few of you have commented on is called Devi Prayer by Ananda.

Hope you all have a great weekend - see you next week.

Jo x