Teacher: Phil Engelhardt
When: Tuesdays and Saturdays-10:30am
Donation based: ($5-$10 suggested)
If you have been doing Asana yoga, your getting more flexible, stronger, relaxed, finding more space in your body. You may be aware that the yoga practice originated in India as a part of a spiritual discipline. You may not know that the original practice has more to due with the mind than the body. Yet Asana practice has an effect, there is a mind body connection, the mind is calmer more balanced. Our lives are richer for it. We all seek self fulfillment, in this consumer oriented society we do this by getting, or doing. Always something to get or do, a bucket list, a slight reprieve as we scratch something off the list. Then with fulfillment should come gratification, contentment. But it doesn’t last, something else to do or acquire. The inner void remains. Whats the meaning of life? Is there a deeper purpose? My teacher would say “ Look at the tombstone. A name, birth date, dash, death date. The whole life experience represented by the dash.” In the end is that what it amounts to, a dash on the tombstone?
We prefer to be happy but happiness is not fulfillment. Fulfillment is deeper on the border of contentment. I suggest contentment is really the goal because contentment has no requirements. Another lovely word we could use here is serenity, being serene like the meditating Buddha. We have all probably experienced moments of contentment maybe as the result of some activity or event. Was it do to events or do to the mind letting go of want? I see meditation as practicing contentment, just reveling in existence, free of want or desire.
In Mindfulness Meditation we are observing the mind. We do this by observing the breath and the sensations of the body as a silent witness. We try to restrain the mental dialogue, the inner voice. The goal being to be with the moment to be present in eternal nowness. So we sit upright in a comfortable posture that can be maintained for some time. As a silent observer we try to just observe the breath and all sensations external and internal, just a witness. Generally one can do this for a few moments before the mind is bored. Images may come, things that happened, or things to do. The mind will hook the attention, and in a chain of association, thoughts will come, either as images or internal dialogue. This may go on for some time before you notice. When you notice try not to react, just come back to the breath. Meditation is bringing the mind back. Just like Asana yoga the benefits come thru repeated practice.
Why Patanjali Yoga Sutra’s? History and depth. “The systematic practice of Yoga Meditation comes from the ancient cave monasteries of the Himalayas, the source of the mystical Shangrila or Shambala. This lineage of teachers is at least 5,000 years old. (from:http://www.swamij.com/tradition.htm)” Patanjali put what was practiced at that time in the form of a text, around 2000 years ago. There are two commentaries on the work by Indian luminaries. Vyasa who wrote Mahabarta which contains the Bagavad Gita, and Shankara the great scholar of Advaita Vedānta. So it is a very serious work from an ancient tradition.