Welcome to Gems of Yoga! Fire up, the sun and moon in you!!

YOGA FOR MINDFULNESS INSPIRED BY JOHN KABATT JINN

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Kabat-Zinn has defined mindfulness meditation as “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally”. By focusing on the breath, the idea is to cultivate attention on the body and mind as it is moment to moment, and so help with pain, both physical and emotional.
“It often results in apprehending the constantly changing nature of sensations, even highly unpleasant ones, and thus their impermanence,” he says. “It also gives rise to the direct experience that ‘the pain is not me’.” As a result, some of his patients found ways “to be in a different relationship with their pain” while others felt it diminish. Now, in 2017-18, Kabat-Zinn vibrates with an urgent belief that meditation is the “radical act of love and sanity” we need in the age of Trump, accelerating climate change and disasters. Meditation is the “radical act of love and sanity” that can help manage the fear and aversion he believes underpin so many of the world’s problems. Anyone who has tried to meditate knows how hard it is when the mind keeps wandering into thoughts, sometimes trivial, sometimes not. The difficulty people in chronic pain must have faced in embracing the elusive quality of attentiveness cannot be overestimated.

How to Meditate to Relieve Anxiety

• If you already know the nature of you anxiety and stress, simply find it (or something similar) in this list of meditation tips for anxiety and focus your meditation practice in the recommended areas.
• If you are new to meditation, begin now!
• On the other hand, don’t worry if your experience doesn’t live up to your expectations of meditation. There are likely to be many good things going on that you can’t see immediately. Later, you can search for guided meditations and other advanced techniques that deepen your relief from anxiety as well as deeper knowing of yourself as you continue to practice.
01
Meditation To Calm Chaos
I’ve been living closer to the truth for a few months now. Over time, my daily meditations helped me regard what was happening in any moment with curiosity and kindness, without the mindless chatter and instant evaluation that used to whip me into a frenzy.

The meditation/anxiety connection

1 Chaos demands our attention. It’s like a bratty child, jealous of our peace. Chaos will do everything in its power to suck you in and keep your stress level high. With meditation, you can use the quietness of your mind to surround and subdue chaos. Let it go easily somewhere else, while you apply your energy to reaching out into the universe for answers. Let the answers come to you as easily as you let chaos go.

Meditation advice for calming chaos:

1 Chaos often causes physical stress, a common side effect of anxiety. As you meditate, breathe in to invite space into your entire body, then breathe out to release tension.
2 Meditation techniques can be used to adopt an attitude of acceptance. No matter what happens, you can give yourself permission to be peaceful.
02
MEDITATE TO MANAGE ANGER
By naming and recognizing the many faces of anger, we can stay present with it as it arises, keeping the heart open, breathing, watching emotions come up and pass through. Meditation is the best way to do this, as it creates the space to step back from the passion, breathe, and objectively see what is at the root of the feeling.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Anger is a difficult form of anxiety. We often become consumed with the accompanying stress and anguish because meditation stems from quietness, it allows you to take yourself away from anger’s usual stressful breeding ground, where you can examine the emotion honestly and safely apart from your day-to-day world. When you meditate for anxiety relief, your awareness is stronger than your anger.

Meditation advice for managing anger:

1 During meditation, first try not to think too logically about the reasons you feel angry. You can figure that out later. For now, just breathe and observe your anger.
2 Meditation relieves the anxiety of anger and puts it in perspective, but meditation won’t take away the causes of anger. Once meditation ends, you may need to take action to resolve the issues.
3 Think of meditation as a safe place to be angry, where you can step away from the emotion and observe it to see what you can learn.


03
MEDITATE TO LET GO OF DRAMA
Don’t treat yourself so gingerly; you can let go of stuff. Sometimes it takes three breaths instead of two to do it, but you can do it. Be a little tougher and don’t cling to stuff. People go around carrying everybody’s stuff all of the time. I just pick it up and put it down. Pick it up and put it down.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

We have a bad habit of gathering up dramatic feelings and situations, clutching them to us as if they were prized possessions. We feel we are entitled to our ownership of this anxiety, and we believe we must hold onto it in order to keep ourselves emotionally safe. It takes a little courage, but meditation can help us see and nurture our internal strength, so we can separate ourselves from drama and achieve anxiety relief.

Meditation advice for letting go of drama:

1 Visualization during meditation is a useful tool to define drama, understand it and let it go. Choose a tangible object to represent your anxiety. Imagine picking it up, then putting it down.
2 Before you can let drama go, you may need to first understand why you so desperately want to cling onto it. If you can’t understand it, let it go anyway.
3Drama tends to be a bad habit. To break habits, You need to address the habitual patterns that created the habit in the first place.

04
MEDITATE TO SEE YOUR PATH
In order to see the path, you have to be very quiet and stop thinking.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, using meditation for anxiety and stress often hinges on finding quietness. If your anxiety is caused by not knowing which direction you should go, quietness can help you accept the answers, rather than forcing them to come. This also requires that you allow yourself to accept the path that appears to you naturally, rather than forcing your way onto a path out of fear and panic.

Meditation advice for seeing your path:

1 As you meditate, visualize a path through a forest, down a mountain, along the beach, into a city – wherever you are comfortable – and allow your mind to lead you to the answers.
2 Quietness is hard to achieve for many people. Don’t give up – you will do better with practice.
3 Simply practice letting go of thoughts as they come to you, then returning to the focus of your meditation, whether it’s your breath, a flame, or a mantra.

05
MEDITATE TO IMPROVE HEALTH
Through Mindfulness-Based Stress Relief (MBSR), patients learn how to mobilize their inner resources for coping and healing – especially for dealing with symptoms of chronic illness, and symptoms that no longer respond to standard medical treatment. Mindfulness practice helps people promote their own health by reducing the effects of stress in mind and body.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

We’re learning more every day about the connection between the mind and body. Meditation harnesses the power of the mind to make healthy changes in the body. One of the first benefits of meditation is relaxation and comfort. This can be measured by traditional medical means, including blood pressure, heart rate, and a decrease in anxiety-related symptoms, such as headaches and muscle tension.

Meditation advice for improving health:

1 Focus on specific physical ailments to realize the greatest effect of meditation for health.
2 Visualize the parts of your body involved in your physical stress; imagine muscles relaxing, joints loosening and organs working better.
3 Breathe healing energy into those areas of pain and discomfort.
MEDITATE TO FEEL THE NATURAL PACING OF LIFE
Let it be something that naturally falls away, rather than something you rip away.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Anxiety can be caused by forcing life to happen against the natural flow. The harder we push, the more difficult life seems and the higher our anxiety and panic rise. It’s better to let go and let things happen naturally. Meditation brings anxiety relief by simply focusing on goals and allowing them to unfold.

Meditation advice for feeling the natural pacing of life:

1 Stop focusing on your effort to achieve something and instead simply create a vision of what you desire, then focus on that as you meditate.
2 When you think of your goal, imagine watching it and waiting to see what happens, instead of thinking about what you must do to force it to happen.
3 Give yourself permission to let problems and anxious feelings fall away naturally; look at them with indifference and spend your time mentally reinforcing the positive instead.


06
MEDITATE TO FEEL THE NATURAL PACING OF LIFE
Let it be something that naturally falls away, rather than something you rip away.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Anxiety can be caused by forcing life to happen against the natural flow. The harder we push, the more difficult life seems and the higher our anxiety and panic rise. It’s better to let go and let things happen naturally. Meditation brings anxiety relief by simply focusing on goals and allowing them to unfold.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

The less you have in life, the less you have to worry about. However, achieving a simple life can be easier said than done. Meditation helps internalize the benefits of simplicity in life, and therefore makes it possible to not only desire simplicity but make it real. An immediate result of making a decision to focus on simplicity is anxiety relief, because you instantly have fewer problems you must address.

Meditation advice for feeling the natural pacing of life:

1Stop focusing on your effort to achieve something and instead simply create a vision of what you desire, then focus on that as you meditate.
2When you think of your goal, imagine watching it and waiting to see what happens, instead of thinking about what you must do to force it to happen.
3Give yourself permission to let problems and anxious feelings fall away naturally; look at them with indifference and spend your time mentally reinforcing the positive instead.
07
MEDITATE TO SEEK SIMPLICITY
There is as much joy in doing with less as there is in doing with more; it’s bizarre, and much cheaper! It also means you have to spend less time being worried about your economic situation, because you are spending less.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

The less you have in life, the less you have to worry about. However, achieving a simple life can be easier said than done. Meditation helps internalize the benefits of simplicity in life, and therefore makes it possible to not only desire simplicity but make it real. An immediate result of making a decision to focus on simplicity is anxiety relief, because you instantly have fewer problems you must address.

Meditation advice for seeking simplicity:

1 As you meditate, visualize life without the extras. What can you do without? Would you really miss those things, or would there be more room for joy as your possessions decrease?
2 Increase your meditation focus on intangibles, such as love, beauty and peace, instead of giving mental and spiritual power to possessions.
3 Give yourself permission to trade the joy of having for the joy of not having.
08
MEDITATE TO SEE YOUR PATH
The quiet appreciation of the total situation and its inherent possibilities steadily moves things toward resolution.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Focusing too narrowly on stressful problems can bog down the mind and heart and keep us from moving forward. The harder we try, the more muddled everything becomes and the more anxious we feel. The key to clarity is to slow down and think positively about the big picture. As you meditate on the big picture, you begin to see how things fit together – how you fit into the world. This brings peace and anxiety relief.

Meditation advice for seeking clarity:

1 Choose a mental picture that represents the complete situation you are facing; this image helps your mind retain its focus on the big picture, instead of getting lost in details.
2 Allow your subconscious to work on the situation without your participation; you will be surprised how much can be solved when you let fears work themselves out.
3 At the end of your meditation, focus your mind more concretely on any solutions or ideas that rise up and write them down to think about later.
09
MEDITATE TO LET THOUGHTS GO BY EASILY
Well, if I can’t stop thinking, maybe I can just let my thoughts go by without getting all caught up in them. Feel the breeze on your face or your neck? See how it’s going by? You’re not all hung up with it. You don’t have to see where each breeze goes. Make your thoughts like those breezes, those little breezes…just going by.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Anxiety rises as we wrestle with thoughts. The harder we think, the higher the anxiety. Especially if thoughts are negative or fearful, it can be difficult to let them go. They carry a compelling presence. The trick is to choose something else as the focus of your attention and imagine your anxious thoughts are light and airy. Acknowledge them as you would a light evening breeze, then let the breeze blow on by.

Meditation advice for letting thoughts go by easily:

1 Imagine you are simply a passerby, noticing your anxious thoughts as a part of the landscape, then moving your attention to another object that makes you feel better.
2 If you are unsure which thoughts are causing anxiety, begin your meditation, then take a mental inventory of all the people, places and things in your life – notice when the feeling of anxiety appears and let it go on the spot.
3 Some people add symbolic actions to meditation to help them identify thoughts and let them go. Try writing your fears onto pieces of paper, then burning them in the fireplace.
10
MEDITATE TO RELAX YOUR BODY
Scientific studies of Indian yoga masters demonstrate that meditation can, in fact, slow the heart rate, lower the blood pressure, reduce the breathing rate, diminish the body’s oxygen consumption, reduce blood adrenaline levels, and change skin temperature.
http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Anxiety and stress cause the body to tighten up, breath to quicken, and arteries to narrow. Nothing in our bodies works as well when we’re feeling anxious. Then, when we are not feeling well physically, we just keep feeling more anxiety. Meditation for anxiety breaks this vicious cycle by creating a state of mind in which the body naturally and easily lets go of all the tensions and anxieties blocking your ability to relax.

Meditation advice for relaxing your body:

1 Read about yoga and the ways it delivers us from contact with pain. One good resource is B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga.
2 Meditation can be used to relax the body and promote healing after major surgeries or traumatic physical events. Meditation is often an official part of recovery protocols.
3 If you have trouble relaxing muscles, try first clenching them tightly as you breathe in, then releasing all the tension as you breathe out.
11
MEDITATE TO STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH
I have the sense that as your faith gets stronger, you keep needing less and less, and when your faith is flickering, you keep wanting more security. But as your faith gets stronger, you just keep letting it go and letting it go.

Meditation advice for strengthening faith:

1 Familiarity strengthens faith, and time breeds familiarity. To grow your faith, dedicate regular amounts of time meditating specifically to nurture your faith.
2 Don’t push too hard to feel faith. Pushing only creates more anxiety and stress. Doubts and questions are a part of the process – simply open yourself to faith and let it grow.
3 If your desire to strengthen faith relates to a specific person, source or situation, maximize your results by meditating on a mental or physical symbol that represents the object of your faith.

12
MEDITATE TO CULTIVATE MINDFULNESS
The interesting thing about cultivating mindfulness in golf [as an example] is that what you are cultivating is a part of your mind that is noticing the rest of the game, the rest of life … is noticing everything else that’s going on … is noticing, ‘Now I’m speaking’. The ‘noticer’ is not the same as the ‘speaker’; they’re two different things. This has no judgment; it’s just noticing how it is.
13
MEDITATE TO RELEASE JUDGMENT
When you go out into the woods and you look at trees … some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. So I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

It’s hard not to judge. As humans, we almost can’t help ourselves. We instinctively know it’s not right to judge, so we end up judging ourselves! All of this judgment causes anxiety and unhappiness. You can use meditation to release the judgment and anxiety you feel, allow others to be who they are and let go of responsibility for them. Not having to judge is a big relief, and it frees us to focus on more peaceful things.

Meditation advice for releasing judgment:

1As you meditate, briefly acknowledge every judgmental thought that comes into your mind, then simply release it and refocus on your meditation.
2In your meditation, practice witnessing without judgement. The more you practice, the easier it will become to replace judgment with compassion.
3Consider exploring karma yoga, which focuses your meditation on serving others rather than judging them, then offering your service as a devotion to achieve greater peacefulness.
14
MEDITATE TO ALLOW EMOTION
Getting lost in your emotional reactivity just digs a deeper karmic hole. So you cultivate a quietness in yourself that just watches these things coming and going and arising and passing away. And you learn not to act out your emotions, but just to appreciate and allow them.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Stress and anxiety are made of emotion. We feel this pain both physically and mentally. Sometimes we pull pain to us because it’s familiar. Other times, we strain as we push stress and anxiety away from us, but the harder we push, the more they grow. The secret is to embrace these emotions and others, such as depression, by focusing on those feelings, then learning from them and moving forward peacefully.

Meditation advice for allowing emotion:

1Stress and anxiety often result in panic. If you are overwhelmed with panic, begin your meditation by simply observing your emotions without trying to figure anything out.
2Sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly what your emotions are. To better understand your emotion, first concentrate during meditation on the feeling without giving it a name.
3When a strong emotion arises, take three breaths into the center of your chest (your spiritual heart) and allow the emotion to dissipate like a wave when it hits the shoreline.
15
MEDITATE TO REMOVE DEFENSE MECHANISMS
The nature of a defense mechanism is that most of it is underground and you’re not even conscious of it. It’s just acting on you, from a deep fear. To me, it’s a little bit like skimming soup when you meditate and get really quiet, and then, in the quietness, stuff starts to come up. If you’re quiet enough, you sort of skim it off the top as it comes up.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Everyone gets defensive. Our defense mechanisms sometimes keep us from being able to honestly face our fears and anxieties, which creates additional anxiety. Through meditation, we can more clearly see our defenses and skim them off, which immediately reduces our anxiety because we are then able to see our fears clearly, be more honest with ourselves and realize we are moving toward improvement.

Meditation advice for removing defense mechanisms:

1After reaching a state of quiet through techniques of meditation for anxiety, mentally state your intention to identify and remove your personal defense mechanisms.
2Once you have identified your defense mechanisms, practice letting them go and then returning to an awareness of your breath.
3The next step is to work on the fears your defenses were masking.
16
MEDITATE TO HEAR THE SILENCE
My universe involves using silence and not waiting for something to happen, because the silence is what’s happening, because you and I come here seeking truth and the best I can understand it is that truth is not conceptual, that what you can think about isn’t the ultimate truth.

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Anxiety and stress can be caused by a feeling that you should understand the truth about things in your life, along with the conflicting belief that you are not capable enough to really know the truth. Use the quietness of meditation to open yourself to a truth that doesn’t need to be put into words. You can reduce your anxiety right now by being okay with whatever part of truth you see in this moment of silence.

Meditation advice for achieving higher states of consciousness:

1If you are interested in achieving higher states of consciousness, such as insight into your own true nature, you may want to seek a teacher who can help train you in deeper meditative practices.
2Don’t try to do too much at once. Trying too hard will only cause more anxiety. Remember, the silence and quietness of meditation is where things really happen.
3To deepen your ability to use meditation for anxiety relief, continue reading and learning. Practice meditation regularly and open yourself to possibilities!

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Anxiety and stress are tiring. After a while, we just want anxiety – life in general – to loosen its grip and let us rest. When destructive feelings become extremely intense, many people just give up. But you don’t have to give up. Meditation is easy. You can find peace and transform your energy the very first day you try it. Then, as you continue to practice, you’ll learn to sink even more deeply into an anxiety-free state.

Meditation advice for hearing the silence:

1It stands to reason that many truths about the universe go beyond the inadequate words of human beings. As you meditate, notice thoughts and feelings you can’t describe.
2Rather than looking for answers, allow yourself to observe the ideas that come to you during your meditation for anxiety and wonder about them.
3To further reduce your anxiety and stress, consciously let go of any expectations you have of yourself to understand the truth and explain it to others.
17
MEDITATE TO ACHIEVE A HIGHER
STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.
________________________________________
Pema Chödrön

How to Use These Meditation for Anxiety Tips

There is no right or wrong way to practice anxiety meditation. To get the most from these meditation-for-anxiety tips, first select one of your favorite meditation techniques. Then, read through the list of tips. Note which tips speak to you-the ones that seem to connect with the anxiety and stress you are feeling.
Next, choose one tip to focus on. Read the quote, summary and meditation advice. Take a few moments to internalize the information, then follow the advice as you begin your session. You will feel immediate relief from anxiety, even if you simply feel better because you are taking action.
Finally, follow the same process for each tip that connects with your anxiety and stress. If you like, research online to find a specific guided meditation for anxiety relief, and focus on the same topics.
You will no doubt have further work to do to achieve full anxiety relief, but meditation for anxiety can provide a great beginning!

Informal Practice: Reconnect

Here’s an informal practice that you can do in the moment as soon as you recognize that you’re feeling separate. There’s no need to wait until you feel pain or a strong sense of disconnection; use it as soon as you have the sense that you’d like to feel more connected. You can do this practice in any position: lying down, sitting, or standing.

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One key way in which it differs from other practices is that your eyes remain open and engaged with your surroundings.
First, deepen your awareness of your entire body. You might become aware of points of contact with the chair or surface beneath you, a sense of weight as you rest in the security of gravity, or a feeling of how you fully inhabit three dimensions through the length, width, and depth of your body. Pause here and invite a softening of any tension, perhaps in the belly, jaw, corners of the eyes, or hands. Allow your vision to expand, deliberately softening your gaze and widening the lens of your perception to take in your entire field of vision. Also connect with your breath and your heart, softening through your chest, being present, and actively bringing kindness to yourself.
Next, engage your visual field and body awareness together. Open your peripheral vision so you can be aware of your hands on your lap or more fully sense your entire body, perhaps your torso, thighs, or the width of your shoulders. Allow this sensory experience to extend to what you can see: light, colors, and shapes both in the foreground and the background, taking in the experience of being a part of the world. You might also expand to other senses, perhaps including smells and sounds as well. Allow yourself to become part of the fabric of the moment, seeing yourself in the wider field of your surroundings, hearing the sounds around you, feeling sensations in your body, and gently acknowledging any thoughts and feelings you find. Hold all of this spacious, open-eyed awareness.
While your present-moment experience may not be comfortable, you are in touch with the emerging moment, in touch with yourself, and quite possibly more in touch with other people.

The Power of Interconnectedness
Sensing yourself within the wider field of your surroundings is a practice that can broaden limitlessly as, throughout your day, you attend to the web of life that you’re a part of and share with all living beings, all interconnected and interdependent. When you deeply reflect on the ripples of interconnection that pulse through your life, you can directly experience how you are never isolated. Everything in your life, from the food you eat to the furniture around you, connects you to the lives of others. We are all connected to our planet, nourished by its water and air. We are all connected to the sun, which supports all life on this planet. You exist within vibrating patterns of connection, which you will readily sense if you pause in any moment to feel your feet firmly planted on the earth, to receive the sun’s warmth on your skin, to refresh yourself with a drink of water, and to sense how the flow of air as you breathe connects you with all of the life around you.
Being in nature and making time to experience and honor the natural elements of this world can provide a powerful reminder of the deep interconnection you have with this planet and all of its beings. Recognizing the forces of light and dark, gravity, weight, sunshine and moonlight, the cycles of seasons and weather—in short, the simple realities that unite us all—can be such a profound affirmation of everything you share with others and all of the ways in which you belong.
When you deeply reflect on the ripples of interconnection that pulse through your life, you can directly experience how you are never isolated.
At times, it may also be helpful to recall the many ways in which you’re connected with other people. For one, you’re part of a network of millions of people around the globe who practice mindfulness. Whenever you take time to sit for meditation, practice the body scan, or engage in mindful movement, you join countless others who are also practicing at the very same time. While you may never meet these people in person, you enter into a global community of individuals making the choice to live with intention and become intimate with life in all of its vibrancy and interdependence.
Remembering your place in this community of practice, as well as your place in the human family and on this planet, you may choose to send kind wishes to yourself and others, and you may choose to open to receive the kind wishes of others. Mindfulness is sometimes known as heartfulness, and this speaks to how the practice is both personally and interpersonally unifying. At any time, recalling this unity can break through feelings of disconnectedness or isolation, bringing a sense of interconnection that can suffuse you, like the sun emerging from a cover of clouds.



This meditation will help strengthen your sense of interconnection. Read through the entire script first to familiarize yourself with the practice, then do the practice, referring back to the text as needed and pausing briefly after each paragraph. Set aside about twenty minutes for this practice. You can do it in a seated position, standing, or even lying down. Choose a position in which you can be comfortable and alert.
Pause to check in. Begin by taking a few moments to check in with yourself and acknowledge how you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally. Whatever you find, allow it and let it all be.
Now gently shift awareness to breathing. Be aware of breathing in and out, tuning in to one inhalation and one exhalation at a time. There’s no need to manipulate your breath in any way; just breathe in and out normally and naturally. Try to focus on your breath wherever you feel it most distinctly. It could be at the tip of your nose, in your nostrils, or on your upper lip. You might feel it more prominently in your chest or belly or somewhere else. Wherever you feel your breath, let your awareness rest there…being mindful of breathing in and out.
Now begin to feel the connection of your body. Feel the surface supporting you. Then feel 
how that surface is connected to the floor, which is connected to the building you’re in, which is connected to the earth. Sense into this earth that holds you and allow yourself to be supported by it. Reflect on how this earth holds all beings, whether small or large, forsaking none. Reflect on how you’re in a safe place and there’s nothing more you need to do—nowhere you have to go, and no one you have to be. Just allow yourself to be held in the heart of the earth with kindness and ease.
Now let your awareness expand. Sense the connection of the earth to the solar system and beyond, to the vast universe. In this way, we all are interconnected. Our bodies, the earth, and the stars—all are composed of the same matter. All are made up of the same basic particles, just joined in different and ever-changing ways. May you open to feeling at home within your body and mind with a true sense of belonging, connection, and interconnection.
Pause to feel into and relish the grace of this universe. Appreciate that you are an intrinsic part of it and can never be separated from it…feeling a sense of connection and interconnection as you are at home within your being. There’s nothing you need to do and nothing to be pushed away…you are simply resting in the heart of this universe just as you are.
Now gradually return awareness to your breath. Feel how your entire body breathes in and out, from head to toe to fingertip, unified, connected, and whole.
May all beings find the gateways into their hearts. May all beings feel at home within the world and universe.

Mindful Journaling
Right after your first practice of interconnection meditation, take a few moments to write about your experience. How did it go for you? How did you work with what came up within your body, thoughts, and emotions? And how are you feeling right now?

Mindfulness Practice: Cultivate Gratitude Through the Senses
1. Use the breath to anchor yourself in the present moment. Our minds are always so easily pulled to busyness. Bring particular attention to feeling the breath, or something in the body, as you bring your shoulders down and orient your attention toward gratitude.
2. Next, bring to mind a sight you are grateful for. Move through your senses, and find one thing to start with that you appreciate that comes to you from the world of sight, if you have this available. It could be a color…a shadow…a shape…a movement. Remember, it will never be like this again. What do you see right now, and can you feel grateful that you get to see this, whatever it is?
3. Now, shift to a scent you appreciate. As you continue to work with your senses, now take time to tune in with appreciation to an aroma. What do you notice? What about that glorious or interesting or subtle smell is making you smile? It could be gratitude for something familiar: a scent that brings comfort, upliftment; or maybe it’s something you’ve never smelled before, and it just piques your curiosity, ignites you, enlivens you.
4. Moving on, tune into any sounds around you. Allowing the world of smell to gently recede into the background, on an in-breath, shift your attention to your ears and the world of sound. Maybe notice what it feels like to really listen. How many sounds can you notice, and can you feel grateful that you’re able to experience sound, if you are? What can you notice about these sounds—far away? close? Perhaps you could play a piece of music that brings you joy, and have gratitude that it’s so available? Or maybe it’s the sound of children laughing, the sound of loved ones breathing, the sound of the beating of your own heart.
5. The world of touch and texture beckons us next. We find so much to be grateful for in touch! If there’s someone near who you can hug or who can hug you, notice how this makes you feel filled with gratitude for the joy of human contact. Or perhaps you have a beautiful pet that you can stroke and cuddle, or some lovely material with a texture that feels warm to the touch, soft, evocative. Let your senses ignite your gratitude! There’s so much to be appreciative of.
6. Shift to noticing and appreciating objects around you. Now take a moment to look around: Look down, look up, and from side to side. Appreciate how much effort must have gone into anything at all you own or use. Someone conceived of the need and many people worked on the details of the design. Much care even went into the packaging to deliver your item to you safely. What do you feel when you let yourself be grateful that all that talent went into making your life a little easier?
7. As you end this practice, carry this attitude of gratitude with you. One last little grateful tip: Why not offer your thanks to each person who does anything at all for you today? Even if it is their job to help you? When you’re grateful, when you let your heart open up and be filled with appreciation, notice how being grateful makes you feel.

I’m so grateful that you tuned in to this gratitude practice, and I appreciate your time, your effort, and your energy to be present, awake, and alive to your precious life. Have a beautiful day.

Classes Overview

We practice restorative yoga poses for anxiety, depression and for heart chakra. We learn to move through the poses which are very easy and the instructions are a meditation wisdom to create mindfulness about our emotions. We introduce Tibetan yantra yoga which is completely different technique but very powerful.

Classes Lesson

The 12 Steps of the Mindfulness Meditation Practice is a new and unique approach to learning mindfulness meditation. The 12 Steps will guide you through the practice in a simple step-by-step process, so you can get started quickly and achieve immediate results, and continue making steady progress. They are designed to help you stay engaged and motivated, so you can make mindfulness a way of life. Here is an overview of the 12 Steps:

  • BEGINNER

FROM 1ST-10TH OF THE MONTH
Step 1 — “We became aware of the pain and suffering created by unmindful thoughts, speech, and actions.”

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Step 1 teaches you some important concepts to help you understand the practice. In this step, we’ll talk about the Four Noble Truths, which deal with suffering and how to overcome it. We will also talk about the Five Hindrances, which deal with things that get in the way of your meditation and spiritual development.
Step 2 — “We learned how to develop our primary tools of observation: concentration and mindfulness.” Here you will learn how to use your two most important tools of observation. If we want to understand ourselves, and our relationships with others, then we need to learn how to observe the world with unbiased clarity.
We often make quick judgments based on preconceived ideas, because it’s easier than examining situations further, and often less painful in the short-run. That is, we jump to conclusions without having many of the facts. So, to observe reality without bias, we need to develop our skills of observation. Like a journalist, we’re trying to get at the truth.
Step 3 — “We sought to eliminate the things that agitate our mind, and prevent us from achieving inner peace and serenity.” A common challenge for beginners is dealing with a racing mind. We’re often unaware that many of our daily activities are agitating our mind. In this step, I’ll show you how to identify and eliminate the sources of agitation. I’ll also give you some effective tools for calming your mind.

  • REGULAR YOGI

FROM 11th to 20th OF THE MONTH
We follow Tibetan yantra yoga positions and style.

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Step 4 — “We learned how to structure our meditation session for maximum effectiveness, and to fit our lifestyle.” In Step 4, we discuss our meditation environment. There is no best time or place that applies to everyone, because we all have different commitments and living situations. I’ll give you some guidelines for choosing the best time and place for you. We’ll also talk about sitting position and how long to meditate.
Step 5 — “In order to enhance our spiritual evolution, we made mindfulness meditation a regular practice.” This step deals with the actual mechanics of meditation. You’ll learn exactly what to do during your meditation sessions. I’ll give you different formats, so you can choose the one that’s most suitable for your needs, and I will even guide you through a typical meditation session.
Step 6 — “We remained vigilant in our meditation practice, so that we continued making steady progress.” In Step 6, you’ll learn how to track your progress by keeping a meditation journal. This will help you stay grounded in proper techniques by establishing goals and measuring your progress. It will also help you stay motivated.
Step 7 — “We became aware that other people can provide us with the spiritual nourishment vital to our development.” Other people can be invaluable sources of spiritual nourishment that will dramatically speed up your development. I will show you how to connect with them, so that you not only enhance your own spiritual development, but also that of others.
Step 8 — “We sought to cultivate peace and harmony in our relationships and interactions with others by practicing deep listening, mindful speech, non-judging, and forgiveness.” In this step, we’ll examine how our behavior impacts our spiritual development and our relationships, and I’ll share with you some powerful tools for improving them.

  • COMMITTED YOGI

FROM 21st TO 30th OF THE MONTH
We introduce more Tibetan Yantra and mindfulness .

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Step 9 — “We sought to dwell deeply in our spiritual community in order to enhance our development, and that of others.” In Step 9, I’ll show you how to avail yourself of the healing power of your spiritual community. I will introduce you to some more useful tools for enhancing your practice, including loving-kindness meditation, and a new meditation technique we’ve developed—writing meditation. You will also learn about the most powerful tool of all—the mindfulness meditation retreat.
Step 10 — “We became aware of how unmindful consumption perpetuates our suffering, and prevents us from achieving true inner peace.” In this step, we’ll discuss how your consumption of nutrients and other substances can either enhance or hinder your spiritual development. As you progress in your practice, you’ll develop the wisdom and inner strength to make healthier choices.
Step 11 — “With the strength, courage, and mindfulness we attained through our meditation practice, we confronted and overcame the wounds from our past.” Many of us have wounds from long ago that have never healed. These are serious obstacles to our development. In Step 11, I will show you how to use your emerging mindfulness to overcome them, so you can be free of them once and for all.
Step 12 — “Having found freedom from our suffering through mindfulness meditation, we shared this practice with others, and continued dwelling deeply in the present moment through mindful living.”
One of the great gifts you will receive from your practice is a deep sense of caring and compassion for other people. You should also try to help others achieve inner peace as you have, and apply your mindful leadership to help create a more mindful society. You should also apply mindfulness to all your daily activities, so that you continue making progress.
Whether you are new to meditation, or already have some experience, the 12 Steps of the Mindfulness Meditation Practice will help you get the most from your practice. By keeping you engaged and motivated, you can realize better health, and shorten your path to the inner peace and happiness you’re looking for.
Best wishes on your life journey!

What You Get From This Classes

You learn the techniques of enlightment based on your own efforts and you could experience for yourself the YOGA OF MAHAMUDRA.

The Four Stages Of Meditation From Mindfulness To Mysticism

  1. Mindfulness With An Object

Mindfulness is a huge movement these days especially useful for: treatment of mental health issues, developing clarity and focus and finding a sense of inner peace. Mindfulness during the day is like meditation ‘on the go’ and aids in remaining present and managing strong emotions. But here I am talking about mindfulness meditation done in a meditation posture sitting still.

In brief mindfulness is necessary for everyone. After all in essence it’s simply paying attention to the present moment with the ability to not be distracted by judgements or over-thinking. In other words it’s the practice of a stable clear mind.

Mindfulness meditation allows detachment from the thinking mind which is judgemental and by nature disturbing. Once detached from the restlessness of the thinking mind, mindfulness allows our awareness to settle down to a naturally calm state of stillness and clarity.

“Ironically the more detached you become from thoughts, the more connected you are to the reality of the moment.”

The object used in mindfulness meditation can be a number of different things. I like to use my breath as the object to watch but you can also use your body’s posture or even use a candle flame to stare at or a Buddha statue. The idea is that the object you choose becomes the anchor for your attention. Any object of your attention that you can fix onto and observe with a bare attention free from judgements or descriptions. You train in being the calm observer of your object without labelling it.

Next once you have fixed your attention onto the object in a calm and focussed way you simply notice when you are distracted and getting caught in thinking and gently guide your attention back to your object. You will have to do this many times in a session. You are not failing when you get distracted, you are failing when you do not notice that you are distracted and remain lost in thoughts for large chunks of time.

“Thoughts and feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky, conscious breathing is my anchor.” ~ Zen master Thich Naht Hanh

The last piece of the puzzle is to develop a calm type of attention on your object. Not too much concentration but too much relaxation. Don’t push too hard but also don’t be too lazy. It’s the perfect balance of focus and relaxation which becomes effortless over time. The Buddhist word for this is experience is shamatha which means abiding in a calm and even way. Eventually attentional stability is realised which is the firm bases for success in the following meditations.

  1. Open Monitoring Mindfulness

Mindfulness with an object is like training wheels on a bike but once you get your balance you can remove the training wheels. Open mindfulness without a particular object is finding a perfect calm balance and then you can let go of the focal object and what you are left with is a sheer type of presence which is not distracted. It’s sometimes called open awareness or open monitoring.

“Just go on becoming more and more aware, and you will find your life changing for the better in every possible dimension. It will bring great fulfilment.” ~ Osho

After gaining some experience focussing your attention on one particular object you can expand your attention further and further until it becomes aware of the totality of the present moment. It may sound like a paradox but the essential instructions at this stage are:

“There’s nothing in particular to focus on but don’t get distracted.”

Once you have tamed your mind with mindfulness using an object you can then let it off the leash and it does not wander off. Instead of focusing the attention on one object, we keep it open, monitoring all aspects of our experience, without judgement or attachment.

“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it. “ ~ Sylvia Boorstein

To be clear this stage still has a focus or object of meditation it’s just expanded to included as much as possible of the present situation and is flexible.

At this stage we are the silent witness to the contents of our present experience. From the thoughts passing through our mind, the sensations of heat or cold, the inner feelings of joy or sadness and the objects we can see and hear etc.

The next stage we turn our attention inward to recognise exactly what is doing the silent witnessing, we turn awareness onto itself.

  1. Inquiry Into The Nature Of Awareness

We now move into the territory of identity and the fundamental question – who am I? There are two ways to make this inquiry. The first way is to use logic and philosophy and examine how the self exists conceptually.

Here however on the path of meditation we simply use our natural intelligence of observation via introspection. We become aware of awareness.

At this point I’ll reinstate the importance of having a stable and clear mind through mindfulness training. Alan Wallace says mindfulness is like the tool which we use to look deeply into our own minds, therefore the sharper and clearer the tool the better the understanding of our own nature will be.

When the light of awareness is not blown around by thoughts and distractions it becomes stable and bright, illuminating the way.

We can still use some basic conceptual thinking to inquire but it’s important not to intellectually respond but instead to use the questions as a finger pointing to something we wish to see for ourselves. For example we ask ourselves what is the colour of my awareness?  what shape does my awareness have? or what sound does my awareness make?  These questions instigate looking directly back onto awareness to ascertain its true nature and not to find some ‘answer’ with words. I have written more instructions HERE.

 

Spoiler alert!

What you are being guided to find is nothing. That’s the best thing to find. That’s the void spoken about by mystics through-out history. An internal spacious openness like the sky without any definable boundaries.

“People are scared to empty their minds fearing that they will be engulfed by a void. What they don’t realize is that their own mind is the void.” ~ Zen Master Huang Po

At the very heart of every experience is this open emptiness; the clear light of awareness. Check for yourself it’s here right now. Checking for yourself is the essence of self inquiry meditation. Don’t believe me or anyone else but please check for yourself.

When we look inside with a clear, steady focus, the mind we see is transparent, spacious, and open.

This union of a transparent emptiness and conscious awareness is what The Dalai Lama means when he says the heart of all meditation practice is innermost awareness. This union of emptiness and clarity is the fundamental base of all our experiences and a universal refuge for all people in the midst of an ever changing world.

“Saints and mystics throughout history have adorned their realisations with different names and given them different faces and interpretations, but what they are all fundamentally experiencing is the essential nature of the mind.” ~ Tibetan Buddhist Master

This empty clear light of awareness is the ground of our being and our undeniable fundamental existential reality. In other words it’s your true self. That’s why mystics have used the technique of placing attention on the simple phrase ‘I am’ and also found this undeniable but mysteriously empty reality. It’s because of the boundless nature of awareness that people experience a connection with all things. A oneness or unity is a common experience amongst meditators and mystics of all cultures.

This ground of being is not only empty, clear and open it’s also conscious, aware and intelligent. That union is the essential nature of who you are. The union of emptiness and clarity.

  1. Resting In The Nature Of Awareness

Once you have found it, be it. The search is over. Through learning to calm your mind with mindfulness and then by looking directly into its nature you discover who you are. You are now ready to simply be it, to simply be. You can’t actually get to it because it’s already here so it’s a resting back, a reclining into spacious luminosity.

Meditation does not take you out of this world it helps you discover a whole new dimension you have previously overlooked. This ultimate dimension of empty clarity is available in every moment as the lived experience of pure presence. And because it has no boundaries it is fundamentally united with the conditions of the world.

Integration is now the primary concern. You can get lost in the emptiness of your own awareness and think you have discovered enlightenment but that’s not the case. Initially we are lost in the conditions of the world but for all too many spiritual seekers the next obstacle is being lost in emptiness. The idea is to unite the two.

We are integrating the empty clarity with everyday experiences. First we need a certain degree of stability of mind derived from mindfulness then using that stability to continually rest as the nature of mind through-out the day.

“Banish all hope and fear and rest in the unshakable certainty that the eternal simplicity of awareness is itself all that needs to be done to be an Awakened Being.  That is the Perfect Way of Meditation, in which peace, love and wisdom will flourish without effort.” ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

The true nature of awareness and the conditions of the world are actually not separate at all it’s only language and concepts that separate the seamless wholeness of reality. So trying to integrate the nature of awareness and the conditions of the world is only a conceptual pointer to the already existing non dual reality. Therefore resting in your nature is simply resting in the ultimate truth. You are not separate from the beautiful mystery of existence; you are it.

 

“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.” ~ Christian Mystic, Meister Eckhart

It’s because the nature of awareness is already existing and the fundamental truth of our being it is sometimes simply called the natural state. All my meditations these days are aimed at resting in the natural state and it has brought incredible benefits; a sense of ease and flow and an ability to show loving kindness spontaneously.

This nature is your true unchanging identity and yet it cannot be pinned down or grasped intellectually. It’s especially important not to be satisfied with a conceptual understanding but to keep being mindful, looking within and continually deepen your direct experience of this essence of awareness. In fact whenever you do think you’ve “got it” let that go too and just go on resting in a non conceptual way into your own nature.

“Meditation, then, is bringing the mind home, to our true self.”

Resting as the nature of awareness is strengthened by the non conceptual knowledge discovered through inquiry. The sky like spaciousness discovered through inquiry is intuitively known to be unchanging and therefore not created. Because there is nothing you can do to create it you simply have to be it.

Simply rest within your own nature of awareness and you will soon discover its qualities of deep peace, creative energy, bliss and a radiance of love toward everyone in your/its presence.

Meditation is resting in a natural state.
Not doing anything.
Not getting anywhere.
I get familiar with abiding calmly in my own nature.
I discover there is nothing to find.
And nothing blocking me.
I simply am here.
Already free.

Written By Chad Foreman

Written By Chad Foreman

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January 1, 2018 December 31, 2020
Gems Of Yoga Studio
Hatha Yoga - Meditation - Vinyasa Flow
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