Tag Archives: meditation

Legs Falling Asleep in Meditation?

Learned another great tip from Harshada at Abhaya last night:

If your legs start to fall asleep during meditation, switch to Baddha Konasana (Butterfly / Cobbler Pose) for a minute. Press the soles of the feet together. That should return some blood flow to the legs and wake them up.

Last night’s meditation built on Tara’s class about the three focal points: at the perineum, the heart, and the roof of the mouth. For each pose, the focal point is the one bearing most of the weight (usually lowest in space). So standing poses are focused on the pelvis, arm balances are focused on the heart, inversions are focused on the soft palette (generally). Tara had us imagine an egg at each one (as a symbol of rebirth, for Easter), drawing the muscular energy to this point and then opening away from it. Harshada had us silently repeat the syllable Ram at each one, slowly raising the vibration from the base of the spine into the skull. It was like sinking into a warm bath; super hypnotic.

New Year’s Eve 2011 Yoga

A new leaf?
A new leaf?

Super late on posting this, but I wanted to share some healthy New Year’s Eve options! I’ve done yoga on NYE for the past four years (at home, in the Bahamas, and here in NYC), and it leaves you WAY less broke and hungover than the typical celebration. And if your New Year’s resolution is to do yoga, you’ve started the very first minute on the right foot.

From sweaty vinyasa to silent meditation, here are some favorite activities for the night.

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The Yoga Sutras – Book 1 & 2

Book 1, Sutra 4: At other times [the Self appears to] assume the forms of the mental modifications.

Book 1, Sutra 30: Disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, sensuality, false perception, failure to reach firm ground and slipping from the ground gained Ė these distractions of the mind-stuff are the obstacles.

Iíve been thinking about obstacles. New York is full of them. About a month ago I went to the kirtan at Sonic and one of the song we did was a chant to Ganesha. One of the cantors talked about Ganesha as the remover of obstacles, or the one who carefully places obstacles in our way when we need them. I didnít understand this later explanation and itís been nagging at the back of my mind.

In Book 1, Sutra 30, Patanjali talks about the nature of obstacles, and their residence in the mind. Despite that I consider my biggest obstacles to live outside of my own body, Patanjali reminds me that the true obstacles are within, in the mind. Linking this to Book 1, Sutra 4, I realized that the most effective way to remove obstacles, internal or external, is to change my mind about them.

I thought some more about the cantor’s description of Ganesha. The Prana has a sense of humor and a sense of deep compassion. There are obstacles within me that I have been turning away from for too long. I deal with them by avoiding them. So Ganesha, in his wisdom, forces me to deal with my obstacles by placing other obstacles in my way that I must respond to, ones that I cannot turn away from. And in dealing with those obstacles, I am being forced to deal with the bigger obstacles within.

I need to slow down, to learn how to make and stick to boundaries, to find my edge and live there Ė mentally and physically Ė so he handed me a yoga practice so intense that I have a sore bum and the need for far more sleep than usual. I have no choice but to slow down and consider what it is that Iím really trying to do with this life. For too long, Iíve been so worried that if I slow down, Iíll miss out. Iíll lose an opportunity or a lucky break.

Since I was a child, I have struggled with insomnia. My mind and my body literally couldnít calm down and go to sleep. Now almost 2/3 of the way through this yoga teacher training, I am sleeping better than I ever have in my life. For 18 minutes a day, I think about these two Sutras. I think about changing my mind, and I wait. And the opportunities, better than ever, are showing up. I donít need to keep looking around for a better life. The one I have is amazing; nowís the time to slow down and appreciate every moment.

Meditation with Alan Finger at ISHTA

Alan Finger
Alan Finger

Yesterday morning I headed up to Union Square. Slushy weather and train delays didn’t help the trip, and I began my meditation practice a bit early as I tried to let the irritable thoughts float up and away.

9:35 was still a fine time to arrive, it turns out. I settled onto a bolster and blanket in the middle of the large, elegant room. Plain white walls and smooth dark floors led up to a colorfully preserved door frame, in front of which sat a beaming Alan Finger.

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Recharging

On Saturday, I took a break from all the screens, cursors, and endless tidbits of information that filter through to our various in-boxes. I was exhausted and worn out, and my creativity was taking a serious nose dive. I closed my Mac, turned off my phone, and collapsed in a heap on my yoga mat. My brain was so full that I couldn’t even think clearly. Everything around me seemed fuzzy.

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Find a Sacred Place

wp000119“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” ~ Joseph Campbell

At the suggestion of a friend, I’ve been reading a lot of Joseph Campbell lately. I recently watched his DVD interviews with Bill Moyers around the idea of myth and the hero’s journey. A piece of the interviews that really caught my attention is their discussion about the importance of having a sacred place in our lives.
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A Rested Mind

ďFor those just coming back from vacation, think carefully about what you are going to put your fresh, valuable mind to in your first few days. Value this resource highly. It may be your only chance to see the mountain you are on, to decide if you’re taking the right path up, or even if it’s the right mountain to be climbing at all.Ē ~ David Rock in Psychology Today

For the past few weeks, Iíve been working on clearing my mind more often during the day. The natural tendency for a busy mind is to work ever-harder to crack a problem or find an innovative solution. The yogic belief is that a clear, unburdened, relaxed mind is actually a more creative, efficient problem solver. And now that belief has a boost from hardcore science.

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