Breath is an ever-present aspect of life, which is part of the reason why "mindfulness of breathing," or ānāpānasati in Pāli, is probably the most common form (object) of meditation. Typically, the practice involves focusing attention on the physical sensations caused by the movement of the breath, the in-breaths and the out-breaths. Mindfulness of breathing is a feeling practice, not a thinking practice. It's so profoundly simple that we can do it at any time, whether seated in meditation, holding a yoga posture, or picking up after the dog.
Yogis, meditators, mindfulness coaches, Christians, and countless other spiritual seekers commonly employ the metaphor of the garden to represent stewardship. To view the mind as a garden is to view it as a place with potential value and commit to cultivating it. One must locate the space and make effort, which can take a variety of forms. One can tend to the garden of the mind while doing yoga, meditation, or any other activity in life.
Starting tomorrow, Spirit of the Lake will begin offering free, live, online community yoga classes on Tuesday evenings, 5:30-6:30pm, to support the needs of the greater community. Each week during the month of January will feature a different Spirit of the Lake teacher.
Due to the success of the free yoga class I taught last weekend, I will be offering another free, online Gentle Yoga class tomorrow, Sunday, December 27 at 9am Central.
This class is for people of any age, including seniors and those with minor physical ailments, who prefer a more relaxed practice. Gentle Yoga introduces the basic foundations of any yoga practice by introducing proper alignment of yoga asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), and dhyana (guided meditation). Working gently, slowly, and compassionately, this class develops strength, flexibility, peacefulness, and clarity.
For the entire month of December, 100% of the proceeds from all of my yoga classes will go to the ICA Food Shelf.
The mission of the ICA Food Shelf is "to offer hope as we provide assistance to our neighbors in need." Since 1971 they have provided food, clothing, and other vital assistance to people in my community. For instance, in local schools ICA distributes food bags, which contain easy-to-prepare food for the weekend, and also fit comfortably into a backpack.
This World AIDS Day, Tuesday, December 1 at 6:00pm CST, I’m partnering with the Canadian nonprofit organization Tribe of Lambs and hosting an online, donation based, gentle yoga class with 100% of the proceeds going to support children born with HIV at orphanages in Jaipur, India. All money from this pay-what-you-feel class will go directly to fund clothing, food, and housing expenses for these children.
The first meeting of the Spirit of the Lake Community Discussions & Book Club last night was a resounding success! After a brief centering exercise and introductions, we had a lively, thought-provoking discussion about a Yogaland podcast episode that featured an interview with religious studies professor Andrea Jain about her book, Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture.
I'm excited to announce that we are starting a new Community Discussions & Book Club at Spirit of the Lake. Everyone is welcome! Come and connect with others on the paths of self-study and knowledge. Read, reflect, and share with a supportive community. The path of seeking knowledge is one that we may travel as we each explore our own journey on the path of Yoga. In seeking knowledge, and undertaking self-study, we can uncover many gems that may aid us as we work to find balance and clarity.
Although a gentle yoga class might be exactly what it sounds like, the phrase "gentle yoga" can refer to a wide variety of activities. Gentle yoga is not necessarily even a "style" of yoga. Rather, gentle yoga is a modern approach to yoga, and in this article I will offer some ideas about what to expect in a gentle yoga class.
Mindfulness as a general awareness of the present moment receives a lot of attention these days. This kind of awareness is sometimes labeled "bare attention" or "present moment awareness." Some, however, teach mindfulness as one aspect of a practice that aims to do more. In certain yoga traditions, for instance, the ultimate goal is to still the fluctuations of the mind. Paradoxically, the most effective way to still the mind often requires more than just sitting still, and finding out what methods work requires experimentation. This article explores one method that many people find useful to cultivate mindfulness: the simile of the gatekeeper.