2020 'Coming back to you' retreat.
Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Gaddesden https://www.amaravati.org
Every Saturday there's a meditation workshop between 2 and 4pm. This is usually held in the Temple, but sometimes in the main Sala. The workshops, led by a sangha member, usually a monk or nun (other than January to March when they are on winter retreat, the sessions then are offered by lay people) offer instruction in sitting and walking meditation and the opportunity to ask questions on practice. There is no charge for attending and booking isn't necessary, simply turn up.
You don't have to stay for the 2 hours, you just need to stay for as long as you feel comfortable staying. Sometimes I'm there for the whole 2 hours, others I leave before or after the walking meditation, nothing is right or wrong.
If you haven't been before, why not give it a go.
This made me chuckle :)
I am still tired from yesterday's tired.
Today isn't looking so good, and I've
already used up tomorrow's tired.
Tiredness is an absolute scourge with our 24/7 society. We all know the things we should do to help ourselves but we don't always do it, and sometimes even when we do do it we still don't sleep, we're still tired ... What's the solution? If I knew that I'd never be tired and probably make a fortune offering advice on how it's done (although of course I would offer it for free!!)
All we can do is eat well, excercise, hydrate, relax when necessary, meditate, practice mindfulness, practice yoga or tai chi, qigong etc and hope that this semi elusive yet immensely important thing called sleep comes our way and pays a decent visit!
Wishing you some good sleeps :)
'Today I want you to think about all that you are instead of all that you are not'
'One day you'll look back and realise that you worried too much about things that don't really matter'
'Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can'
'Be softer with you. You are a breathing thing, a memory to someone, a home to a life. Be softer with you'
Let's get straight to the point, no faffing or messing about ... Yes you can meditate. The End.
Of course that would be a really short blog post and not very informative (but simple to write).
Before we go through the reasons you'll say you can't do it let's go through the reasons you should, along with what meditation can help with;
1. Boosts the immune system
2. Decreases stress
3. Decreases anxiety
4. Decreases depression
5. Decreases pain
6. Makes you more compassionate
7. Increases your happiness :)
8. Helps you to look at your emotions
9. Increases self control
10. Helps you to understand the mind and not be a slave to its drama
And before you baulk - this is 'proper' scientific stuff with empirical and medical evidence/confirmation via MRI's/Brain scans etc, we are not just 'chatting breeze' here (thanks urban dictionary for that little bit of slang. It also offered a few other slightly more colourful terms for 'talking rubbish' #toorudeforhere)
This is what meditation is not:
1. It is not a process of clearing the mind and not thinking about anything
The mind is noisy, it wants to keep you 'thinking' constantly - so we just sit, we close our eyes and accept
that this is what happens. We stay with our breath on the inhale and on the exhale; each time a thought pops
in which it will do a hundred times, we accept it, it's just a thought, we recognise where it came from and take ourselves back to the breath - that is meditation - we take ourselves back to the breath time and again. There are other methods of meditation however, we often use the breath as our anchor because it is always there.
2. You do not have to sit cross legged in the Lotus position (ouch) - sit how you want
You wanna sit in Lotus, do it but if you want to sit on a chair with feet on the floor, or the sofa, at the table, even lying on the bed if sitting is a challenge for you (try not to fall asleep but if you do don't chastise yourself) then do that
3. You do not have to be a hippy - but hippies are cool man
You just need to be a person, although maybe animals meditate too, who knows
4. It is not a religous practice
Though if that's your thing then that's great
5.You do not have to be weird to practice it - you just have to have a mind (which most of us do)
I've seen some weird things (!) but meditation is not one of them. You do need to be able to breath though ;-)
6. IT IS NOT WEIRD. IT IS NOT STRANGE. IT IS NOT MYSTERIOUS.
If you think any of these, ask yourself why you think that, have a little chat with yourself - perhaps you are weird, strange or mysterious (it's a possibilty)
7. You do not need to hum or chant
You do not need to do this at all - but chanting is so good! Hmmm maybe that's too weird to start with, maybe I shouldn't have said it - maybe I'm weird!
8. You do not have to do it for hours a day - any amount of time is better than no amount of time
Seriously you can start with 2 minutes a day if that works for you, we can all find 2 minutes. You can then slowly work up from there should you choose but whatever amount of time you spend try to spend it daily if possible, regularity is the key here
9. You do not have to wear flowing flowery clothes made of hemp - those ripped jeans are great (they're not
though, get some jeans that have all the material there!)
Flowy flowery clothes = fab. Hemp clothes = also fab. Do you need to wear them? Absolutely not, wear whatever you're in at the time. Caveat - no ripped jeans ;-)
10.You do not need to be spiritual/religous or believe in any 'higher being'
Just believe in yourself. Do your best. Do not berate yourself. Keep trying but without trying.
There are some fantastic apps out there to help you along. There are also some great online videos/information
If there is anything else you'd like to know just shout me in class but please do it mindfully ;-)
Ok so I get it, you don't really have time to practice yoga unless you're in class. I understand that it's difficult to find anything like 5+ minutes inbetween work/family/friends/social media/TV/doing nothing much etc etc ... you get my point? If there is 5 minutes for all of your social media/tv then there is 5 minutes to nurture yourself, it's no big deal, it's just 5 minutes. And then perhaps that 5 may become 10 or 15, maybe even 20 minutes but it doesn't matter if not, the fact is you've taken that a small amount of time to look after yourself.
Beginning a home practice may seem a little daunting, but it really needn't be. Here are just a few tips to help get you started.
1. It's helpful to find a space that you'll use each time you practice, it only needs to be the size of a mat you don't need an open field or banqueting hall! But let it be your space for the time you're using it. Keep it quiet (ish) and calm (ish). Maybe music will help maybe it won't, it's your practice, play around and see what works for you.
2. Try to commit to a defined amount of time each day whether that's 5 minutes of 15, whatever it is try and stay with that commitment you've made to yourself whilst acknowledging and accepting that some days life may take over and your 15 -/+ minutes may have to be cut short. #socialmediaisnotanexcuse
3. Thinking about mats - you don't 'need' one but yes it's helpful to have one. A mat will help those knees (you'll miss those when they're gone so be mindful of them) from suffering to much. If you're getting a little sweaty in can aid you in not slipping about all over the place. It's also helps to give you a more stable stronger surface to practice on BUT I reitterate it isn't absolutely necessary to have a yoga mat #noexcuses
4. Each week particularly when your practice is new stay with a set of poses that you know. This is a great way to create consistency and to get you on the mat without spending to much time beforehand thinking about what you're going to do. The bonus to this repeating of asana is you can begin to see how you and the body are moving on.
5. Once you're in your space and on the mat (or not as the case may be!) turn down your phone, it's just for a short while, you'll be ok :)
Don't be tempted to check for messages/calls etc - just stay with yourself and the practice, just the two of you alone for the tiniest while.
6. Just 'be'. Sit, be in the moment for a moment. Recognise this is your practice, your space, this is your time. Breathe. Use a gentle pranayama or simply focus on your breath.
7. Warms ups - you can follow our usual varying class warm ups, along with a few Sun Salutes. From there perhaps a few standing poses, also is any practice complete without a Down Dog?
8. I am a great fan of using online practices as there is someone guiding you which makes it all the more helpful - watch who and what you're using though as not all yoga teachers/practices are equal. There are sites you pay for such as Yoga International; Ekhartyoga; Yoga Journal. Movementformodernlife, all of which are excellent. Alternatively get yourself over to Youtube where you don't have to pay. I love 'yoga with adrienne', 'physche truth' and 'strala at home'.
So these are just a few tips, well 8 isn't a few is it, there could have been a lot more! Of course ask me anything else in class
but in the meantime - try a little home practice, it's good for you ... although please keep coming to class :)