Last weekend I had the pleasure and honour of teaching a beautiful meditation workshop here in Hampshire. The energies created by the thirty or so meditators was Divine. Dare I say most, if not all, took at the very least some small but certainly substantial steps towards being more blissful, calmer, more relaxed, able to sleep better or a little closer to acceptance – all hopes that had been given to the two hours.
Over the years of practicing yoga and deepening my own meditation practice, I have come to realize that there’s nothing exterior to gain from meditation – it simply allows one to reconnect to that infinite river of bliss flowing through us all. The connection can be faulty at times. The bliss is there always, always has been, always will be. That’s why life exists. That’s love.
Upon request, here’s a little summary of the workshop:
Techniques to calm the mind
• Bhramari Pranayam – humming bee breathe
• Dirga breath – three-stepped deep inhalation (belly, chest, top of the chest), followed by full and complete exhalation
• Chacra cleansing visualization:
1. Red sphere at the perineum (Mooladhara – root)
2. Orange sphere four finger tips below your naval (Swadishtana – sexual centre, creativity)
3. Yellow sphere at the solar plexus (Manipura – willpower)
4. Green sphere at the centre of your chest (Anipura – love)
5. Blue sphere around the throat (Vishuda – communication)
6. Indigo behind the eye brow centre (Ajna – intuition)
7. White-golden through a thousand petaled lotus just above the crown of your head (Shahasrara – connection with the Divine)
• Mantra meditation – repeating the Divine mantra Om aloud or silently to yourself
Techniques to bring more mindfulness to everyday activities
• Mindful walking – setting one foot in front of the other VERY slowly and deliberately
• Mindful eating – take a bite. Chew on it for at least five minutes. Observe texture, taste, changes, transformations, sensations and anything else related to the physical nourishment. View it as an offering to Agni, the digestive fire. Eat in silence. Eat slowly. Eat mindfully. Give thought and thanks to the whole chain of farmers, distributors, packers, vendors and others involved in making it possible for food to be on your plate. Be thankful.
Daily meditation routine for busy livelihoods – Ayurvedicly recommended sequence and practically applicable
• 5-10 min – Mantra or Visualization
• 5-10 min – Your preferred Pranayam – conscious breathing exercise
• 5-10 min – Vipassana – body scanning. If the mind is too restless, stick with Anapana – focus on the sensations experienced around the tip of the nose at the entrance of the nostrils
• Always finish your meditation with a few minutes (at least) of metta karma – loving kindness towards
2. Someone you love
3. A teacher/master
4. A stranger
5. Someone you are struggling with
6. The whole universe
Practical tips to facilitate regular meditation
• Avoid meditating on a full stomach.
• Set a regular time of the day for meditating. Dawn and dusk are energetically particularly good times.
• Dedicate a space in your home for meditation.
• Include a little ritual before your meditation to get into the zone. This might be as simple as lighting a candle, or as eloquent as honouring your deity of choice, chanting your mantra or providing an offering honouring each of the five elements, eg a stone for Earth, a drop of essential oil for Water, a candle for Fire, a flower to beautifully scented Air and an incense for Ether.
• Turn off your phone when meditating.
• If possible, meditate facing north- or eastwards.
• Nourish yourself with natural, wholesome food. Surround yourself with kind and honest people. Frame your life with beautiful impressions.
• Try cutting out too many sensations and reduce the amount of negative information in your life. For example, turn of the radio next time you are driving your car. Indulge in silence and natural sounds. Choose not to read the newspapers or magazines one or even several days a week. Switch of TV as much as you can. Don’t sit in front of a screen after 8pm.
• Connect with nature as much as you can.
• Lead a simple, wholesome life according to the eight-fold path (another workshop might be needed to explore this in more detail – watch out for Malta early 2015!)
Recordings of this and other workshops as well as guided meditations and yin classes to take to your own living room may soon be available through this site – my technological ability pending. (Any easy-to-use programs for such projects to recommend? Please leave us a comment, thanks!).
RSVP the date: On Sunday 13th July’15 – most likely our last weekend for a while in beautiful Hampshire – I will be running another two hour Blissful Meditation Workshop, exploring more techniques to calm the mind, help you relax and connect to the inner river of constant bliss.
Lastly, bear in mind that if your day is exceptionally busy – take two instead of one hour to meditate!
Namaste – Blessings to the Divine within you!