We met for a great wrap-up session and spent most of it doing yoga! It was fun to try a new lighting scheme and wear comfy pants with you :) I also brought some of my favorite mindfulness toys--a Hoberman sphere to demonstrate three dimensionality of the breath, a buckwheat cushion for seated meditation, Yamuna "foot wakers" for foot massages, a "Buddha Board" for water painting--a great practice in nonattachment when your art fades before your eyes!
Here's a tutorial for the meditation cushion that looks a lot like the one I used to make mine! http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-your-own-zafumeditation-pillow/
Our yoga class was as follows:
I love to start with this as a reminder of what calm lies beneath the surface stuff of daily life. The stress of our to-do lists and more feels so overwhelming sometimes. The overwhelm is not you though, and it can be set aside with intentional practice. If you can access this calm in the midst of difficult yoga postures, it's an inspirational metaphor for how you can access calm in real challenges!
3 part breath
inhale bottom, middle, top of the lungs; exhale top, middle, bottom of the lungs. Hands on belly and chest to give yourself feedback regarding the movement we strive for in this breath.
Arm flows with breath
linking breath to movement by laying on your back and moving your arms overhead on the inhale, back to ground on exhale. Really try to lengthen each movement the FULL length of each breath!We strive for fluid connection between all of our movements in yoga and learning to make them match the speed of your breath (and not the other way around!) is key for really benefiting from yoga.
Spinal movements in tabletop posture
From hands and knees, practice fluidly moving through spinal movement in all three directions (cat-cow, side to side, and thread the needle for a twist).
Half Sun Salutation
Basic Sun Salutation
Sun Salutation with low lunges and hamstring stretches on each side
Sun Salutation with high lunges and arms flows
rm flows here are moving from "prayer" position and then up and open to sides. Do the arm flow several times in the long challenging hold of the lunge so that you can access ease in the upper body in the midst of the (lower body) challenge.
lying flat on floor, try to release muscles and release control of the breath and do nothing!
As you move through your summer, I hope you will come back, not only to the specific modalities of using body-, breath-, and mind-based practices, but also to the ideas we explored in our final two weeks. Those were: warm-heartedness toward your self and a mindful presence with your community. Spiraling inward to reconnect with self, and back out to remember our purpose is a cycle we must return to over and over throughout our lives. In my own personal life, I am struck by the realization of how different my life is now that I'm a mother. I went from being the world's most social person, to sitting in silence at night to unwind! But I believe this time of my life mimics the cycle I'm encouraging you to embrace in mindfulness practice. I sometimes see people focus so intently on the attention and awareness aspects of mindfulness that they seem to forget that we can channel this way of thinking to create good in the world! And conversely, I have also seen people focus too intently on others and forget to return to themselves. I wanted to inspire you to continue to find ways to spiral back inward to reconnect with your self so that you will be ABLE to connect with your community. Our five session topics were: Mindfulness and Body, Mindfulness and Breath, Mindfulness and Mind, Mindfulness and Heart, Mindfulness and Community. I want to remind you here about the practices we surveyed. I've grouped them by modality. I invite you to find one of these "formal practices" and commit to a daily five minute relationship with it throughout the summer!
Standing Sun Salutation
Self-Compassion in a difficult yoga posture
Some or all of the yoga sequence above
3 part breath touched on briefly in yoga today, detailed in the video linked here.
Watching the mind, label thoughts, emotions (and "tasks" if you want)
Naming specific emotions as you meditate
Inviting self-compassion as you think about a specific challenge in your life (recite or read the three elements---mindfulness (of your reactions); common humanity, self-kindness)
I hope one of these exercises speaks to you enough to build it into your daily life, via a daily 5 minute mindfulness practice! When we reconvene in the fall, I hope to hear your challenges and successes with deepening your relationship to yourself.
Please don't hesitate to email me throughout the summer if you want to discuss mindfulness for yourself or your students. I'll be refining my plans for our 2018-2019 sessions and invite requests too! Have a great summer!