Meditate on That
Meditation, there are many different ways to meditate one size does not fit all. I recently ran a series on meditation where are group of people joined me in the meditation style that I prefer, and I came to realize at the end some people loved it others not so much. So then that took me down the proverbial rabbit hole of meditation and what brought me to this one style that works for me.
In the beginning before being a Yoga teacher was even in my thought process I was meditating, it was not the sit still type and chant mantra. I was doing a mindless moving meditation, for instance cleaning the toilet (yes cleaning the toilet). The round the bowl motion with the brush and the water I would drop into a space for just an instant and information or awareness that I was not even seeking would drop into me. I was working on personal growth with one of my teachers and she explained to me that because I got out of my own way what I need to know was given to me. That mindless repetition, let’s face it cleaning the toilet does not take a great deal of thought. So that was the first time I was aware of meditation. My husband preferred the walking meditation. He would come home from work and walk around and around our pond, letting the day and the thoughts go. When I started in my Yoga training is when I was introduced to seated meditation with mantra and I am going to tell you it was not as easy as cleaning the toilet. Sitting comfortable when my body was full of tension I was constantly squirming and that mantra did not help shut my thoughts off, I had a lot of to do lists. As the Yoga training went on the tension in my body lessened, mid way through my 2nd year of training sitting was comfortable and meditation was becoming a bigger part of the training as my Guru was becoming who she is today. I was still not embracing the daily meditation as my life was changing all around me. It was not until I moved to Merrill did I start a daily meditation, but it was not chanting mantra. I did my Yoga practice then I would set myself up in Sukahasana and start saying prayers of Gratitude. Then during the pandemic when I went back into Yoga training did I delve into the Japa mantra and meditation of the Self. I have to say it is finally easy to sit and meditate. When I realized that my meditation did not have to be perfect in some quite place where the mind magically becomes quite and all the answers in the universe are given. That is just crazy. I look for the moments of quite when my mind is taking a breath and I delve into that space between the breaths, the vastness of the Self.
So find what meditative style works for you in this moment, embrace the imperfections of it don’t judge it. See where it takes you in life’s journey of the Self.
Svaroopa® Yoga Is All About YOU!
I have only been trained in Hatha Yoga Svaroopa® style that is not to say I did not experiment with a traditional style of Hatha Yoga on my own. I purchased a little booklet at the grocery store check out, and followed the pictures. It wasn’t that hard mind you I was in my very early 20’s and the poses in the book were mostly standing. (Yes I still have the book.)
What I like about taking a Svaroopa® Yoga class and teaching them are that even though you are in a group setting each pose is individualized for you. The propping, alignments and instruction is just for YOU.
Everyone’s needs are different it all depends on the tension you carry in your body. If you are a teacher the mental tension is different say than if you work in construction which will be more physical tension. Also your age makes a difference, the older you are the more life you have put on your body the more layers of tension there is to release. This style of Yoga meets the needs of the individual with propping and alignments. As a teacher my eyes are always looking around the room at my students to make sure their alignments are correct and before we even get all the way into a pose I am looking at the propping for each student. I have many a time backed the whole class out of a pose to prop an individual so that person can get the release the pose is geared for. The propping in Svaroopa® Yoga meets the tension in the student’s body, where they are in the moment, and gives them the support they need so they can soften into the pose.
I get asked a lot about propping the number of blankets or blocks and individual needs such as:
“Why am I sitting on 6 blankets and the person next to me is sitting on 4?”
The answer is everyone is different and you carry different tension in your body than the person next to you. It is not about comparison, this is not an apple to apple situation more like apple to grapes. You are a unique individual and your body reflects that.
“Will I ever go down on the number of blankets or blocks that I use?”
The answer is not a simple yes or no. The propping an individual needs will change, and what drives that change is how much Yoga you do. If you have a good home practice and or you come to more than just one Yoga class a week, your propping needs will change more quickly. I can personally attest to what I like to think of as blanket up/down propping. I started on 2 blankets in our seated pose Sukhasana, went to 4, then up to 6, back down to 3, back to 4, now on 2. The time frame for my up/down has been 20+ years and a great deal of Yoga. All that being said my Guru will tell you if your propping is not changing you need to do MORE YOGA.
That being said there is no right amount of propping that you are looking to get to, meaning there is no goal you just use what you need in the moment for the pose, for all I know I might be at 6 tomorrow. The needs of your body change as you live your life and what you do in said life. If you work out for an hour then give Svaroopa® Yoga the same amount of time afterwards to help your muscles lengthen and release tension.
Svaroopa® Yoga is for you, personally meeting and supporting you where ever you are in your life, and I will be there to also support you in class and help you get the best out of the class.
Wellness (Body, Mind & Spirit) and Yoga:
In the last article I wrote about how the three pieces of wellness are connected. How when you choose to work on one the other two are working or waiting their turn in the order in which you chose to proceed down this path.
Well being a person who teaches Yoga, you know I am going to link this with Yoga. When you think of hear the word Yoga the mind immediately takes you to poses or a form of exercise. Which is not wrong but Yoga is so much more. I am going to share with you what my teacher and hers before her shared with her. Yoga is a pathway to open the body and the mind to look inward at the Self. Svaroopa® Yoga is designed to release tension in your body starting with the tailbone and working your way up. When you practice the asanas (poses) and the body becomes more comfortable less painful, it becomes easier to be still. The mind is less focused on the outward and starts to turn inward, now you start to look for something more. What is that more? The more is the Self not the small (s) self, that self is limiting, constricted. The capital (S) Self, is the one we all carry inside and see it in others we meet. The Self is Consciousness-Itself (Caitanyam-aatmaa) Shiva Sutras 1.1.
I will tell you before I became a teacher I did a lot of personal growth work on myself, different modalities. Everything I did all the workshops, classes and so forth worked, but it was only on one of the three, majority was mind that did need a bit of help which then helped me with the spirit. The mind is strong it keeps us focused and most of the time moving forward sometimes not. So for me that was a good place to start my journey letting go of the mind and all of the stories that it keeps playing over and over again and again. When I learned to surrender and not have such a tight grip on things, it was easier to move into the spirit of wellness. Yet I was still restless not balanced, it was like sitting on a two legged stool I needed that third leg (body). When I discovered Svaroopa® Yoga is when my stool became balanced. This style of Hatha Yoga not only works on the body, it also works on the other two all at the same time. I found this to be a more gentle way to work on Body, Mind & Spirit. Having a good daily practice of the asanas (poses) opening up the body to then sitting quietly in Meditation helps me have a more balanced life. I will always be working on my own wellness, this is a path if choose to walk. What is your path, what are you looking for?
Wellness is it a Journey or a Goal?
January is the time when the word Wellness is spoken with high regard. “Better you Better life” we have heard that at sometime in our lives, and it means different things to different people. I guess it is all about what is challenging in the moment.
Body, Mind & Spirit the trifecta of Wellness. You can’t work on one of those three without the other two following. Not that we work on the three all at the same time, that can be overwhelming to think about and do. Let me take you on a brief walk down my Wellness Journey path when I became aware of it.
I started with Spirit or it is probably more true that Spirit started with me. My son was diagnosed at 1 month with Down Syndrome and having to have heart surgery. Thrown in the deep end of Spirit realizing the path I was on was changing significantly. During this time my Mind tagged along the Body was just surviving. Then the Wellness Journey went to the Body and the Mind once again tagged along, the Spirit was percolating in the back ground. Then it was time to work on the Mind and the Spirit was waiting in the wings to pick me up after I did the work of what I refer to as cleaning my personal house. All this time the Wellness Path I was on was not an easy walking path sorry to say, there were hills, mountains and valleys, twist and turns, dark tunnels some significant slow downs yet there was always light just ahead. There are quiet times when you take a breath and enjoy the moment. The Wellness path is not all about hard times and dark times it is also about Joy and light and love. Finding and living in the Grace that surrounds us. It is always there, we just need to open our eyes and see it. Just like in Yoga class, release one layer of tension or pain enjoy that moment and then work on releasing the next layer. What I am saying is the Wellness of Body, Mind and Spirit is not always easy but worth the Journey. I did a lot of things to promote the balance of Body, Mind & Spirit, everything I did helped me get to the point of teaching and doing Yoga and being the person I am today.
So no matter where you are on your path of Wellness, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and find the gratitude in the journey. Even when the path is rocky or maybe you are on a slow up hill climb look for the light, it is there. This is something that has to be worked at. Set the intention, keep it simple, don’t look so far ahead stay in the moment and just take a breath when it becomes overwhelming. Then put one foot in front of the other and be grateful that the path is moving forward.
So the answer to the first question is a Journey. We are all trying to be in a better place in our lives it just depends on where you are taking your first step of awareness on the Journey of Wellness.