The Blooming of a Lotus

In the yoga classes this term we are working with the Thich Nhat Hanh book “The Blooming of a Lotus”. This book guides us through simple techniques of meditation to help focus on the ‘now’.  If you want to get your own copy, we are starting at the very beginning and working through the first and second exercises from chapter 1.

Here is a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh from the beginning of chaper 1 –

“In the Anapanasai Sutta, the Buddha teaches mindfulness of breathing as a guided meditation. There are sixteen exercises divided into four parts. The first part is using the breath to be mindful of the body. The second is using the breath to be mindful of the feelings. The third is breathing to be mindful of the mind. The fourth is breathing to be mindful of the objects of the mind. In this book all four of these areas or fields of mindfulness are covered. The exercises on mindfulness of the body are the most basic practice and can be used at any time as an introduction to exercises for looking deeply and transforming. They help us become accustomed to breathing consciously and to use the breathing to unite the body and mind.”

Peace Prayer for Christmas

Give peace a chance… as it’s the season of Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men why not spend a few moments to let the words of Mahatma Gandhi seep into your soul? Try reading the words aloud or repeating until you can remember the prayer with your eyes closed.

Can you give peace a chance in your house this Christmas? Whether it’s creative differences over how to roast the potatoes or children agreeing which game to play/movie to watch, allow these words and meanings into your Christmas Day and ‘work’ with your loved ones for ‘unity and love’.

Stepping Off the Christmas Merry-Go-Round

 

With the count-down to Christmas now in full swing – juggling who’s going where, what to buy for so-and-so and fitting everyone in over the festive period – things get frantic for the body, mind and soul.

At these times our heads are jam packed with to-do lists and our bodies are tense holding onto every breath.  The build up of anxiety is everywhere – ahhhhhh Black Friday panic…..   Just when we need to relax and enjoy the season of goodwill to all men – we are more tired and worried than ever. Now is the perfect time for yoga…

YOGA? HOW CAN I FIND THE TIME FOR THAT?

But this is when we need it most – simply take a moment out, step off the Merry-Go-Round for one minute and read this mini-meditation-

Sit in any comfortable position…….

Breathe in and open up in the heart space, sit tall and beautiful.

Expand from the inside out, become more spacious  – open up to the breath.

Gently soften the eyes and feel your skin; feel the clothes touching your skin, feel the hair on your head, feel a smile on your face.

Feel beyond the skin to the Vijnanamaya Kosha – the astral or wisdom body – our aura that surrounds us.

Lean back a little and feel the support of the cosmos that surrounds you.

Breathe in and draw from the abundant well of air that we live in and lives in us.

Take heart that you are not some isolated thing battling single handedly against the world.

You are the world – and what will be will be.

Invite your breath to become smooth as silk and quiet as a whisper.

While here in this place now, feel gratitude to the earth for the sunshine and air we breathe.

Drink in each breath and be grateful for all that you have.

Be grateful for your challenges for they allow you to interact with the world and demonstrate your passions.

With this gratitude in your heart take your current experience and think of how they might be in the future.

Plant a seed for your future.

Invite the pace of your life to flow smoothly and easily, see yourself as you would like to be.

Breathe in peace, breath out love.

A Beautiful Verse From The Radiance Sutras

Bathe deeply in that ocean of sound

Vibrating with in you, now as always,

Resonating softly,

Permeating the space of your heart.

 

The ear that is tuned by rapt listening

Learns to hear the song of creation.

 

First like a hand bell,

Then subtler, like a flute,

Subtler still as a stringed instrument,

Eventually as the buzz of a bee.

 

Entering this current of sound,

The Listening One

Forgets the external world, bcomes

Absorbed into internal sound,

Then absorbed in vastness,

Like the song of the stars as they shine.

Yukti Verse 15 – The Radiance Sutras (Lorin Roche)

This is one of the verses I have used at the beginning of the yoga class this term. The Radance Sutras are a volume of verses set out in a conversation – a seeker asking a knower the way to find peace. It is a compendium filled with practices to integrate into everyday life – just thoughts really to help weave stillness and meditative qualities into the fabric of your life.

If you have enjoyed the readings why not get your own copy? Creating your own personal yoga practice is often considered only to be rolling the mat out and physically exercising… it can be laying in Shavasana and doing a breathing practice, reading a verse from a book – or, in the case of these sutras, you could take just one verse and recite it or do the suggested practice for a week or two.  Variety is the spice of life and you can make your personal practice of yoga whatever you want!

Inspirational Poetry for Meditation over the Sunny Summer months…

Why not steal five or ten minutes over the summer to simply sit and read a poem?

You could even read it on a visit to a beautiful place – some local suggestions – Rutland Water, Launde Abbey or Burghley Park…

You fill my soul with sunshine 

You fill my soul with sunshine
my heart with tender care.
You fill my world with happiness
knowing that you are always there

Every waking hour
is filled with your love
that I feel I’ve been blessed
with an angel from above

There are no words enough
to express the way I feel
knowing that this heart
will never feel no ill.

This old world may go on,
being crazier every day.
However, I have the inner warmth of knowing
you fill my soul with sunshine each and every day.

David Harris

A Gleam Of Sunshine – Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This is the place. Stand still, my steed,
Let me review the scene,
And summon from the shadowy Past
The forms that once have been.

The Past and Present here unite
Beneath Time’s flowing tide,
Like footprints hidden by a brook,
But seen on either side.

Here runs the highway to the town;
There the green lane descends,
Through which I walked to church with thee,
O gentlest of my friends!

The shadow of the linden-trees
Lay moving on the grass;
Between them and the moving boughs,
A shadow, thou didst pass.

Thy dress was like the lilies,
And thy heart as pure as they:
One of God’s holy messengers
Did walk with me that day.

I saw the branches of the trees
Bend down thy touch to meet,
The clover-blossoms in the grass
Rise up to kiss thy feet,

“Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,
Of earth and folly born!”
Solemnly sang the village choir
On that sweet Sabbath morn.

Through the closed blinds the golden sun
Poured in a dusty beam,
Like the celestial ladder seen
By Jacob in his dream.

And ever and anon, the wind,
Sweet-scented with the hay,
Turned o’er the hymn-book’s fluttering leaves
That on the window lay.

Long was the good man’s sermon,
Yet it seemed not so to me;
For he spake of Ruth the beautiful,
And still I thought of thee.

Long was the prayer he uttered,
Yet it seemed not so to me;
For in my heart I prayed with him,
And still I thought of thee.

But now, alas! the place seems changed;
Thou art no longer here:
Part of the sunshine of the scene
With thee did disappear.

Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart,
Like pine-trees dark and high,
Subdue the light of noon, and breathe
A low and ceaseless sigh;

This memory brightens o’er the past,
As when the sun, concealed
Behind some cloud that near us hangs
Shines on a distant field.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

I Will Be Your Sun

 

You carry a whole world with you.
A planet rests upon your shoulders.
You may not see it, but I do.

There is a Universe Within that you carry wherever you go.
Ecosystems of passion and romance. Warring nations of worry and fear.
A billion living ideas, stories and experiences that make up a whole history named You.

Wherever you go, I promise to be your sun.

It’s not that your life revolves around me.
Think of it like this:
Whenever you come to me,

I will do my best to be quiet and still
and shine nothing but kindness and light upon you.

 

Dave Ursillo

Be Yourself

be_yourself_by_dianae

The following inspiration comes from Eileen Caddy – in her book ‘Opening Doors Within (365 daily meditations)’

Be yourself, and do not try to be like anyone else. It takes all sorts to make a world. I do not want you all alike, like peas in a pod. I need you all different, each doing your specific job and playing your specific part, blending in perfectly with the whole. It does not mean that there need be any disharmony or discord because you are all different. There are many different musical instruments in a full orchestra, and each has its rightful place in the whole and blends in perfectly when working in harmony with the whole. It is when individual souls go off on their own tangents with no thought or consideration for the whole that discord and chaos are created. When your heart is in the right place and you are living and working together for the good of the whole, only the very best will come forth. Therefore cease struggling and let go. All you have to do is to be, and let everything unfold.

 

The brilliant image is by Dianae Diviantart 

Our day with Buddha Maitreya

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One Saturday in the summer a group of us went up to the Purelands Meditation gardens and spent a wonderful day with Buddha Maitreya a Buddhist Monk of great experience. He spoke gently and kindly to us all, seeking to know what we did in the world and proceeded to explain that all we needed to meditate and be happy was here with us – there was nothing to learn, no goal, no achievement but simply to be here now and relax.

I have visited Buddhist Monks before and been led in meditation, but none had got to such a point. It seemed with the other practices that there was actually very much to learn (recitations going on for hours). But with Maitreya the words and the way in which he showed us to hold our hands and arms was so simple and effective that I truly believed I did have all that was necessary to relax into the moment.

“Meditation is not trying to stop thinking. It is the moment of quiet appreciation of the inner truth”

For more information about the Purlands garden and events see their website here

Summer Trip to Pureland Meditation Garden

pureland
6th August 2016
SUMMER TRIP TO PURELANDS
Japanese Garden  Meditation Day
Near Newark
10 .30 – 4.30


Lunch & Afternoon Tea Included
Join us to learn the simple approach to inner peace and self-realisation with meditation master Buddha Maitreya. Beginners welcome for a relaxing and enlightening day.
Take your own transport and meet at the garden. I will book us in and let you know the payment details.

A Beautiful Summer-time Practice

clouds

AKASA – is Sanskrit meaning space – a wide, free, open space. We can use it to describe the ether, sky or the atmosphere.

When a sunny day arrives, enjoy it and make the most of it… lie on your back out in the open air, gaze up at the sky.  Allow your mind to wander and the eyes to soften. Let the breath be slow and smooth. Feel as though you are connecting with both the whole world around you and your soul within. It is an opportunity to let go of the feeling of isolation;- let go of the feeling of being an individual and join in with the flow of the universal cosmos.

Garuda Mudra

garuda mudra

Garuda the mystical bird, is the carrier of lord Vishnu. Garuda is the king of birds, sky and air. Birds generally have sharp eyes, a distinct sense of orientation, and strong survival instincts. Garuda mudra is a powerful mudra to add to your daily yoga and meditation practice. Garuda mudra is useful in  balancing energy in the body. It is very beneficial for the circulatory systems and should be used for about 4 minutes 3 times a day.

Sit in a meditation position of your choice and place the right hand on top of the left, spread the fingers and gently hook the thumbs. Place the hands horizontally in the lap. Whilst in position imagine living your life as a big bird of prey – you sail elegantly and lightly through the air and see the ground below clearly. You see the landscape all around you for what it is – the mountains are challenges but are not too high for you to fly over. Breathe deeply. Use your clear vision to ascertain what is significant in your life and what is unimportant.