Fall is in the air today in Massachusetts. I’m spending this
week at the Kripalu Yoga Center as part of my 300 hour yoga teacher training on
Meditation as Transformational Practice and Advanced Asana (postures). Suffice
it to say, I am paying a LOT of attention to my body as I move through the yoga
practice and, through the meditation practice,
I’m keenly aware of the stories and beliefs that bring me greater health
and wellbeing as well as those that drag me down.
The beauty of mindfulness practice is that you don’t have to “get rid of” the negative or dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs that arise in your mind, but you have the technologies for (a) letting them go, (b) not identifying with them as “me” or “mine,” (c) understanding how to bring compassion to yourself because sometimes it hurts anyway, and (d) the ability to reflect and act with kindness and skillfulness. Yoga philosophy asserts that we can learn to move into our center to a place of stillness and peace. My experience is that this is so.
If you have a committed personal meditation and/or yoga practice, great! If you have one but aren’t as committed as you would like to be, I recommend that you find a way to jumpstart your practice. Retreats, trainings or classes, whether they are for an hour, a day, a weekend, or a week or longer are perfect ways to help you dive deeper and you generally come out on the other side with more commitment. Or you could find a great book that calls to you about the topic you are practicing or studying. The main thing is to juice your practice up from time to time with an infusion of energy.
If you don’t have a practice like meditation or yoga and you’re interested, there are a number of ways you could begin. Look around for a group in your area that you could study and practice with. Having a community of like-minded people is so helpful to support your personal practice. I also have a number of meditations and a couple of yoga sessions on my website that you could try. But, having a teacher that’s “live” is really the best. That way you can get your questions answered and there can be a lot of them when you first get started.
By the way, I’m also having a wonderful time eating this
week. One of the true benefits of going
to a retreat center is that they feed you three wonderful meals each day. The interesting thing is, you don’t have to overeat because
you know a VERY good meal is waiting for you the next time. Knowing you can
have tasty food at any time, through your own effort or knowing where to go to
get it, is very helpful in making the decision to have only what the body’s
needs in any one sitting.
If you have questions about how your meditation, yoga, or mindful eating practice, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m happy to give you suggestions or point you in a direction that might be helpful.
To come into retreat with me right now, take in the words of the end of a poem called “This Breath” by Danna Faulds from her new book of poetry “What’s True Here.”
“Rest for a time, your only task to witness what it is to be alive–this breath, this streaming energy, this precious, present moment opening wide.” We can do this at any moment, at any time, no matter where you are. May it bring you into a place of peace.