experience a sense of ease. #MeditationThoughtMondays

sense of ease (schiffman)

“As you immerse yourself in stillness… you will experience an unexpected and immensely satisfying sense of contentment and ease.”  e. schiffmann, “Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness”

I’m not a very ‘still’ person.  Many days, I look back over the events of the day and remember that the only time when I sat ‘still’ was when I was eating lunch (on my couch, cuddled up next to my Russell Clive)… and this doesn’t even count because this time was spent stuffing my face with vegetables like the #NutritionNerd that I am.  (Did you make my favorite roasted veggie salad yet?).  I sit in the car a lot– that comes with the territory of teaching yoga at several studios and having a home office– but even in the car I’m constantly in motion. Needless to say, Sitting Still is profoundly healing, but often profoundly elusive.

Sitting still doesn’t happen in our lives because

a) we are busy.

b) we are tired. (we fall asleep every time we try)

c) it’s hard.

The stillness-phobic among us are terrified to even try meditation because ‘it’s hard to be still and I’m not good at it.’  (Join the club.)

Well, it is hard.  But because sitting still, being still, and stilling the Mind are difficult feats to achieve, many meditation techniques have been developed to teach us how.  One technique I’d like to share with you is profoundly helpful for me.  (If you are brand new to Meditation, you’ll also want to read these posts:  5 benefits of Meditation  and learn to meditate. your way.)

It’s called “Counting Backward.”  In this meditation technique, breathing is the primary focus.  We always begin with the connection to the breath, because it is our connection to the Present Moment and to the Spirit within.  The technique will help you move into stillness.  Erich Shiffmann, leading yoga teacher and author, writes: “Sitting absolutely still –practicing brief physical immobility– can teach you how to be in the conflict-free, higher-energy, ‘stillness’ state for more of your daily life.”

Steps to “Counting Backward” Meditation:

1.  Sit very comfortably with your back straight.  If you can’t sit on the floor with your back straight, then sit against a wall or on a chair.

2.  Close your eyes.

3. Breath normally, gently, fully.  Experience the room you are in and experience your body for a moment.

4.  Begin to count your breathing, mentally, silently.  Begin with 50 on an exhale.  49 on an inhale.  48 on an exhale.  47 on an inhale.

5.  Avoid elongating or changing your breath.  You are learning to NOT be in control.  Let the breath be very gentle, full, and soft.

6.  When you lose your count, come back to 50.  Continue counting every breath silently backward until the count of 1.

7.  When you reach zero, stop counting, but stay aware of the natural intake of breath.  Sit for a few more moments and enjoy the ease.

8.  Immerse yourself in the stillness.  End the exercise any time you feel ready.  Extend your deepest gratitude for this moment and for all of the many blessings which bring you joy in this life.

“As you immerse yourself in stillness… you will experience an unexpected and immensely satisfying sense of contentment and ease.”  e. schiffmann, “Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness”

One day, you won’t need the tool of counting backwards… maybe you can just slip into stillness.  I first tried this technique two years ago and it is still one of my favorite ways to begin a meditation moment; I use it often.  If I only have a few moments, then I begin counting backward from 10.  Give it a good try; if you find it helpful, then keep trying it.  If you find it unhelpful or distracting, try something else.  Remember, you are your own best teacher!

If you would like to practice this technique with me, you may take a Meditation Class with me Sundays at 11:00 am at Maya Yoga KC and you may sign up for my 3 Week Workshop: Introduction to Meditation at Westport Yoga KC Sundays April 12, April 19, and April 26, 2015.  See my teaching schedule and events page for full details.

ASH intro to Meditation April 2015

Happy Stillness,  Much love,

-lisa

Ashtanga Alignment Workshops: January 24 and January 31.

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Ashtanga Alignment: Primary Series Poses

Workshops: Saturdays January 25 and January 31

with Lisa Ash @ Maya Yoga

SOLD OUT

 Saturday January 25, 2015.  2:00-4:30: Standing Postures.

 Saturday January 31, 2015.  2:00-4:30: Seated Postures.

 Pricing: $35 for one workshop or $60 for both workshops (tax not included).

Do you have an Ashtanga Primary Series Practice but are still thinking: ‘I’m not sure where my body goes in this pose?’  This workshop is for YOU!

Are you new to the Ashtanga Primary Series Practice and still thinking: ‘I’m not sure where my body goes in this pose?’  This workshop is for YOU!

 In these two workshops, Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Lisa Ash will teach essential alignment of the essential Ashtanga Primary Series Poses with special focus on accommodations for your body and proper skeletal alignment for practicing with ease.

Recommended Reading: The Ashtanga Yoga Practice Manual by David Swenson.  Copies available for sale at Maya Yoga for $30.00 (tax not included).

 Location:

Maya Yoga

215 W 18th Street, KC MO

www.mayayoga.com

 

 Saturday January 25, 2015.  2:00-4:30: Standing Postures.

 Saturday January 31, 2015.  2:00-4:30: Seated Postures.

SOLD OUT

Polished, professional and perfectly serene

photo cred: SFA

When Maya Yoga student Kim Saunders offered to shoot individual photos of our instructors to update the Maya Yoga website, owners Kathleen Kastner-Mortenson and Wade Mortenson jumped at the chance to work this talented artist.  I was the first model: Kim was dedicated enough to conduct our shoot right after my 6 am class ended!

The sun continued to rise throughout our shoot, creating an intriguing balance of shadow and light.  With each shot, we adjusted, re-adjusted, and re-adjusted again.  Kim continued to search for most harmonious balance of effort and ease.  The results are simply stunning.  Polished, professional, and perfectly serene.

Thank you for these gorgeous photos, Kim.  What a blessing you are.

photo cred: SFA

photo cred: SFA

To learn more about Kim and book her to capture your next life event, visit Saunders Fine Arts at http://www.saundersfinearts.com/about.html

Ashtanga Workshop with Wade Mortenson

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My teacher and colleague, Wade Mortenson will be teaching this on Sunday November 3 at 2:00 pm.  Put it on your calendar!

wades head shot

ADJUSTMENT WORKSHOP

with Wade Mortenson

Sunday November 3rd, 2:00 – 4:30pm

Maya Yoga

Learn the art of hands on adjusting in this fun filled Workshop

$30+tax ($32.81) preregistration or $35+tax at the door

We will pair up and use key poses from the primary and second series of ashtanga as the foundation for this hands on workshop. Safety, communication and receptivity will be emphasized to not only give a better adjustment but also to better receive an adjustment.

Please either practice at home, take our lead intro class at 10am ($5) or Mysore at 12 noon ($15) so your body is ready to dive right into this workshop.

Click Here to download the flyer!

– See more at: http://www.mayayoga.com