“Guest Speaker” Meditations in December

 

Hi. For those of you would like to practice either of the last two “guest speaker” meditations that we practiced last term, here are the links:

For “Experiencing Gratitude” by Lama Yeshe Rabgye:

https://insighttimer.com/…/guided-me…/experiencing-gratitude

And for “Mindful Awareness” by Kate James:

https://insighttimer.com/…/gui…/mindful-awareness-meditation

Enjoy a little bit of inner peace and calm!

Setting an Intention for Your Practice

 

Hi Everybody! I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and that it gave you good memories. I wish you all love and peace, good health and contentment for this coming year.

Our first week back will, as always, include an intention for our practice. I know that some of you come with your own intention for your practice and that others like to share the group intention for that week. This term, I shall be encouraging you to come with your own intention for your practice.

It may be that you end up having the same intention for the whole of the term, or it may be that you experiment with a different intention for each practice, that will be your choice.   

When we work with an intention for our practice it gives us a reason to step on to our mats. Instead of “just doing it”, we have a purpose and a resolve that deepens the practice. The experience becomes quantitative as well as qualitative in that we either consciously assess, or unconsciously contemplate, what it is that we want from our practice before we step on to our mat. Then, we have a way of measuring what we have achieved from our practice when we step off of our mat.

An intention for your yoga practice can be –

Physical, examples of which might be: “I want to ease my back pain” or “I want to feel physically stronger”;

Psychological: “I want to feel less anxious/stressed/tense…” or “I want to feel more at ease with myself/experience mental equilibrium/feel more empowered …”;

Emotional: “I want to release fear/anger/hurt …” or “I want to experience more contentment/confidence/peace …”

Energetic: “I want more energy” or “I want to become more aware of my energetic self”.

Spiritual: “I want to understand my spiritual purpose” or “I want to deepen my compassionate/empathetic/loving Self.”

What ever your intention is, it will give you more purpose for your practice, it will strengthen your resolve and your desire to practice, and it will encourage you to develop more insight into what your yoga practice can do for you, both on and off your mat.

 

Re-Enrolment for Existing Students for January/February 2018 Term and A Reminder for the Last Two Classes of this Term

Yoga, Mindfulness and Relaxation Classes for January-February 2018

Mondays:  Moose Hall, Spalding:  9:15-10:30am.

January: 08th, 15th, 22nd, 29th.  February: 5th, 12th, 26th.

Please note: There will be no class on 19th February.

Tuesdays: South View Primary School, Crowland:  9:30-10:45am

January: 09th, 16th, 23rd, 30th.  February:  6th, 13th, 27th.

 Please note: There will be no class on 20th February.

Wednesdays: Wake House, Bourne:  9:30-10:45am and 11:00am-12:15pm.

January: 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st.  February:  7th, 14th, 28th.

Please note:  There will be no class on 21st February.

Thursdays:  South View Primary School, Crowland:  6:00-7:15pm and 7:30-8:45pm.

January: 11th, 18th, 25th.  February: 1st, 8th, 15th.

 Please note: There will be no class on 22nd February.

A Reminder to all Students:      

Just For Today – a Meditation by Tom Evans

Hi Everybody!

This week’s “guest speaker” meditation was given to us by Tom Evans and it is called “Just for Today”. It is designed to be practiced first thing in the morning, as we set intentions for our day. If you would like to practice it again, this is the link:

Our Class Meditation of the Week

Over the past week we have been meditating to the “7 min Breathing Practice” which was guided by “guest speaker” (via the Insight Timer) Anna Donald, from Mindful Revolution.

If you would like to experience this meditation again, the link is below. Indulge in 7 minutes of peace and quiet, and enjoy:

November and December 2017 Term

Once more we have reached the final term of the year, and very soon our thoughts will be turning to Christmas and the New Year. For me, Christmas is about sharing and giving and I like to try to encourage that through our class practice with a gift from me to my students.

Ajna Chakra

As we move up through the energy centres, this week we reach Ajna, the “third eye” chakra which means the “perception” or “command centre”. Ajna is located in the mid-brain, between, and just above, the eyes behind the space between the eyebrows. Whilst our two eyes look out and see the external, material world, this chakra looks inward and “sees” our internal world, beyond the physical world with what we sometimes refer to as our ‘sixth sense’. Our third eye sees the world through visualization, intuition, dreaming, imagination, clairvoyance and telepathy.

Ajna is associated with the element light and the color indigo blue and it is involved in both the creation and perception of art. It is through this chakra that we recognise that what we see has a powerful impact on us. Even when we’re not aware of it, we are all sensitive to the images we find in our environment, whether they be positive or not.

Two much energy in this chakra can lead to headaches, hallucinations, nightmares, and difficulty concentrating. If we are lacking energy in Ajna, we may have a poor memory, be unable to visualize well, and experience problems with our eyes, ears and sinuses. A healthy ajna chakra ensures we have good levels of concentration, memory and intelligence and that we are able to trust in our intuition and go with our inner intelligence.

Throughout this weeks practice, whenever you practice with your eyes closed, you can experience pratyahara, the drawing inward of the senses, which encourages us to become more insightful about our bodies, the breath, and our minds.

Intentions for Ajna might be: to trust your intuition; to improve correct perception; to realise that we are all connected; to be guided by your inner wisdom.

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Visuddha Chakra

 

Our next practice will be about cleansing and healing Vishudha. The throat chakra is the bridge between our heart and our mind, its name translates as “the pure place”, and we purify the body and mind through discrimination – paying attention to what we invite in, through diet, yoga, meditation, and exercise.No automatic alt text available.

This is the first of the higher chakras, whose focus is on the spiritual plane. This chakra is associated with the colour turquoise, and with the elements of sound and ether (the upper sky, beyond the clouds). Vishuddha is located in the neck, throat, jaw, and mouth and this masculine chakra connects us with our inner truth and helps us find our own way of conveying our voice to the outside world. Vibration, rhythm, music, voice, words and communications are all associated with this centre, and as you listen to a favourite song or piece of music, you may notice how the vibrations and rhythms positively affect your body and mind, right down to the cellular level. Music, dancing, singing and communication through writing and speaking are all fifth chakra ways of expressing ourselves. It is at this energy level that we effect our will and power of choice. Here is where we take responsibility for decisions and speak up for what we believe in.

Deficient energy in this chakra leads to neck stiffness, shoulder tension, teeth grinding, jaw disorders, throat ailments, an underactive thyroid, a fear of speaking or an inability to express our Self. Excessive energy in this chakra manifests as talking too much, an inability to listen, hearing difficulties, stuttering, and an overactive thyroid.

Intentions for this chakra might be: To communicate clearly, honestly, and with compassion; to release fear of speaking up for yourself or for others; to be a good listener; to learn not to over-talk or dominate conversations; to refrain from gossip.

Namaste (the light within me recognises the light within you).

Anahata Chakra

Next week, the focus for our practice will be on healing and balancing the heart chakra – Anahata, meaning unhurt, unstruck, and unbeaten – which rests in the centre of the chest. This chakra is considered to be the centre of the chakra system and the gateway between the three lower physical chakras and the three higher spiritual chakras. It is the seat of emotional consciousness and it relates to the element of air which is all around us, and in us within our breath.

The air element of Anahata feeds the flames of the manipura fire chakra, giving us the power to love unconditionally and care for everything on our planet. Its physical location is the heart, upper chest and upper back. The heart chakra directly affects the heart, lungs, chest, arms, and hands, and physical symptoms of a lack of heart chakra energy can include shallow breathing, asthma, and other lung diseases, poor circulation, low blood pressure and some heart conditions, whilst too much energy can manifest as high blood pressure or heart disease.

Healthy heart chakra energy allows us to open up to, and connect with, harmony and peace. The quality and power of love in our life is directly reflected in the health of our heart centre. When our heart chakra energy is healthy, we feel surrounded by love, compassion, and joy and we are connected to the world around us. A deficiency of energy in the heart chakra may manifest emotionally as feelings of shyness and loneliness and we may struggle with forgiveness and empathy.

Mentally, an imbalanced heart chakra can result in feelings of unworthiness or an inability to trust ourselves or others. An over-powerful heart chakra can manifest as co-dependence, manipulative behaviours, possessiveness and jealousy.

Pranayama (breath-energy) practices, help to balance this chakra. Working with the breath increases our capacity for prana and air, along with our vitality and enthusiasm. If we hold our Selves with our head forward, shoulders rounded and chest collapsed, our head is leading our heart which can lead us to become overly focused on thought, and less in touch with our emotions and our body. Anahata chakra redresses this balance. So draw the shoulders back, expand across the chest, lengthen the neck and lift the head to feel more “heart-centred” and invite in all the beautiful qualities of Anahata, whose natural, feminine quality is to release and let go. The most powerful way to open, energise and balance the heart chakra is to love ourselves and others. Let love heal.

Intentions for Anahata practice might be: To offer and receive love with ease; cultivating compassion, allowing happiness in; releasing the fear of getting hurt; letting go of old heartache; cultivating humility; becoming less possessive; to to surrender and let go.

I look forward to exploring this beautiful chakra together, throughout our practice next week.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti (peace, peace, peace).

Practising Kapalabhati – Skull Shining Breath

Our shared intention for last week was to cleanse, energise and heal our Manipura (solar plexus) chakra. One of our practices was a pranayama called Kapalabhati, which is usually translated as Shining Skull Breath.

There are many benefits to practising this heating breath, which include cleansing the respiratory system, whilst strengthening and increasing the capacity of the lungs.

If you would like to know more about this pranayama practice, Michael Bijker gives a lovely demonstration and explanation of Khapalabhati, and you can watch it on the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UURgA8Rf7E