Most people who try meditation probably think of it as an activity done in silence. They might learn the common meditation technique where they observe sounds that happen to arise and notice the temporary nature of those sounds, but they probably would not expect those sounds to continue throughout their meditation. In other words, sound is understood to be a departure from the "real work" of sitting — or struggling to sit — peacefully in silence. Fortunately, there is more than one way to meditate and there isn't some rule that the only allowable "meditation music" is repetitions of John Cage's 4' 33".
The CDC, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep Research Society, and many other sleep experts agree that adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night. Children need even more sleep. Further, sleep experts advise that a lack of sleep can lead to a wide variety of negative consequences. One "Consensus Statement" from representatives of these organizations warns:
This Sunday, September 12, will be the grand reopening of the new Spirit of the Lake studio at 6140 Lake Linden Drive in Shorewood. There will be free outdoor classes and in-studio classes running throughout the day, as well as chair massages, free hourly give-aways, and an opportunity to connect with the Spirit of the Lake yoga community. Sign up online to save your spot as the indoor classes are limited.
The house feels a little bit emptier today because both of my kids are at school for the first time in what feels like a very long time. My wife and I walked them out to the bus stop this morning and when I got back to the house it hit me that today was going to be different. During the past 18 months of this COVID-19 pandemic, our kids were usually home, but today it was just me and my wife. And our two dogs. So the house isn't empty — it just feels emptier.
This morning I decided to teach my online Hatha Yoga class on our deck rather than inside our house like I usually do. Like my recent encounter with geese while teaching yoga at the Minnesota Arboretum, this class featured a visit from the local wildlife.
Since my incident with the geese, and again today, I have been contemplating the topic of equanimity.
Every year since 2007 the American Psychological Association (APA) has commissioned a nationwide survey to examine levels of stress across the United States. When they conducted their study this year — one year after the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic — they found stress levels have risen considerably. Some of the statistics are staggering.
After seeing that report, I feel like now is a good time to mention that in addition to the gentle yoga classes I teach on Monday and Wednesday mornings, I teach strength-focused Hatha Yoga classes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 6:30am Central through Spirit of the Lake. Not only do these classes provide an opportunity to practice breath awareness and mindfulness that can reduce mental stress and chatter, but these Hatha classes can help you build muscle, flexibility, stability, and endurance.
On Thursday I had the pleasure to lead a "Yoga in the Gardens" class at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. It had been raining much of the day, and the possibility of rain continued during the class. In spite of that, nearly 50 people showed up.
The highlight of the evening occurred just a few minutes after I started teaching when a family of geese showed up and started walking toward me. Luckily, just before they got to me, they turned right into the marsh. One of the students in the class was kind enough to share her picture of that moment.
Tomorrow, Thursday, May 20, I will be offering a yoga class through the "Yoga in the Gardens" program at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Classes are FREE for members of the Arboretum and Spirit of the Lake. This class is sure to be enjoyable for beginners or experienced yogis. If the weather is nice we'll be in the Iris Garden and masks will not be required, but if the class moves indoors due to rain then masks must be worn for the entire indoor practice. Be sure to bring your yoga mat!