Meditation

Yoga practice is a way of life that is built on the foundations of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, (Ashtanga Yoga). The first five limbs: Yama (Ideals and Principles), Niyama (Personal Observances), Asana (Postures), Pranayama (Breathwork), Pratyahara (Sense-withdrawal), are the outer practices of yoga and prepare the yogi's mind and body for the last three limbs or inner practices: Dharana (focus), Dhyana (Fixation), and Samadhi (Perfect meditation).   The path of yoga is accelerated by practicing all Eight Limbs and follows the trajectory of beautiful upward spiral in the yogi where each limb complements and sets the stage for the next evolution.

I believe that in ten years, meditation will be where yoga asana is today: exploding worldwide at staggering speeds. I've created recordings of many meditations for you to practice on your own. It's best to commit to practice meditation every day for a short amount of time rather than long periods of time sporadically. Practice a single meditation for at least a month, and until you feel like you've mastered it. Like asana, a meditation recording is no substitute for a living teacher and I urge you to seek one out as you develop your practice.

 

Take Five!

 Take 5 is a series of 8 five(ish) minute audio recordings that include desk stretching, breath work, and stillness to help keep your body limber and your mind relaxed throughout the workday! I started "Take Five" at my job as a Landscape/Urban Designer where I would pull the whole office into the conference room for a 5 minute mediation break. It was a very popular time of day, and was a nice way to come together as a team. Take Five is intended for you to practice once every hour so you can keep your mind and body limber!


Sky Body

The Sky Body visualization is both a complete meditation and a preliminary to more advanced visualizations and analyses on the nature of reality. The Sky Body introduces the practitioner to the yogic Subtle Body, or the energetic body, where prana flows.  In my experience, working with the subtle body is the ground for profound mental, physical, and spiritual progress as it allows the practitioner to enter a state of unobstructed freedom that we cannot access in the material world.


Perfect Ten

The Perfect Ten Meditation is another complete meditation or preliminary depending on your time and what you are trying to achieve during your sit.  In it, the meditator counts from 1 to 10, counting on each exhale. When the mind is caught wandering, the counting begins again at 1. It sounds so  simple, but is incredibly difficult. (I've made it to 10 only a handful of times, and usually make it to 6 on a good day.)  


Shamata

The word Shamata comes from the Sanskrit root "Sham" which means peaceful stillness. Shamata is develops focus and absorption on parts of your body in order to cultivate the single pointed awareness needed for meditative analysis on emptiness known as Mahamudra. In Shamata it's best to start with your seat because of it's immovable and grounding qualities. When that is mastered move to the diaphragm, which is more difficult because it moves. Then go to the breath. 


Tonglen

Tonglen is a meditation practice that softens the tenderness of the heart and awakens bodhicitta, which is our innate nature to love and care for others. Over our lifetime we have created shields around our heart to protect it from pain and discomfort which come in the form of anger, aggression, loneliness, and existential crises in our lives. Tonglen means "giving and receiving" and in it we learn to sit with pain and discomfort, that of our own or others, opening ourselves to a more compassionate and wise way of living. In Tonglen we take on pain directly, destroy it and offer gifts in the form of the Six Perfections (Generosity, Kindness, Patience, Joyful Effort, Meditation Wisdom.)  Tonglen is one of my main practices and has opened my heart tremendously to my own suffering and that of others. It has dramatically changed the way I perceive the world.


Deep Relaxation

This meditation is read from Thich Nhat Hahn's amazing book "Anger." It a full body scan that blesses and gives thanks to your body for all that it does for you each and every day. I love it so much.