“There is pleasure and power in being present”
Outline: In this 2.5 hour session, we will practice several distinct yet interrelated formal mindfulness practices:
This 90 minute extended formal practice period is followed by inquiry into and exploration of our experiences with in-class and assigned home practices. Typical topics include challenges and insights encountered in formal practice and in integrating mindfulness into everyday life.
There is pleasure and power in being present. Attending to and investigating the way things are in the body and mind in the present moment through the practices of yoga and meditation.
Yoga as a practice of mindfulness, with an emphasis on gentleness and non-judgment, curiosity, respect for current physical limits, and non-striving.
Pleasant & Unpleasant
Noticing the tendency of the mind to label events as pleasant or unpleasant, the way we push away what is unpleasant and grasp what we perceive to be pleasant, and the role of conditioning.
Questioning of our relationship to self-narratives and beliefs and fixed opinions about the nature of reality as personally experienced.
Recognition that we can have pleasant moments in spite of being in a crisis or in pain, and unpleasant moments in situations that would normally be perceived as pleasurable. (Note: this theme continues into Class 4.)
Typical Class Sequence:
Practice: Sitting meditation with awareness of breathing. Specific guidance related to establishing a stable, upright and balanced sitting posture.
Reflection: Reflecting on sitting meditation, body scan and mindfulness in routine activities. The importance of being embodied through the sharing of our direct experience of feeling fully embodied or ungrounded.
Practice: Walking Meditation.
Practice: Mindful yoga, slowly going through the sequence of postures on the Lying-down Yoga recording, with comments interspersed as required. Emphasis is on mindfulness and approaching one’s current limits with gentleness. We are encouraged to avoid any postures we feel would cause injury or a setback, or to experiment with caution and care when in doubt. Particular attention is paid to chronic problems with the lower back, neck, and chronic pain in general.
Reflecting on the experience of practicing the yoga postures.
Pleasant Events Calendar consider leading a short guided reflection that asks us to select one pleasant event, focusing on physical sensations, emotions and thoughts as they arise as memory and then as they arise in the present moment.
Review the Pleasant Events Calendar, being particularly attentive to exploring the ordinariness of experiencing a moment as pleasant. With an emphasis on mind/body connections, patterns, what we observed/learned about ourselves.
Wondering together if there were any pleasant moments experienced during the body scan in the past week. Investigating what qualities in all of these pleasant moments or events caused them to be labeled as pleasant? What qualities do these distinct pleasant moments or events have in common?
Assign homework, alternating yoga with the body scan. Emphasize the importance of getting down on the floor and working mindfully with your body every day, if only for a few minutes.
Finish class with a short sitting meditation, Awareness of Breathing, expanding attention to the whole body.
Home Practice Assignment:
• Alternate Body Scan recording with Lying-down Yoga recording, every other day ~ 6 days per week
• Sitting meditation with Awareness of Breathing -10 -15 min per day
• Home Practice Manual:
Unpleasant Events Calendar for the week, one entry per day.