Mindfulness & Yoga Taster

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Mindfulness – Anytime …Anyplace ….Anywhere

The definition of Mindfulness :-

 “ Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non- judgmentally”.

  Jon Kabat Zinn

Mindfulness is considered the heart of Buddhist meditation and has been practiced for centuries by Buddhists all over the world. More recently, scientific research using MRI scans on Buddhist monks in meditative states has demonstrated the beneficial effects of enhanced well- being for mind and body.

However, mindfulness practice is non secular and does not attend to any doctrine or dogma. It is a practice of the mind and body,useful for anyone who chooses to be curious enough to give it a moment or two or three or four and so on……. Spend some time and experience the difference.

 

We have become accustomed to filling our time with running from one object of occupation to the next, busy here and there and still feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied with all the accomplishments and achievements that we have gained.  We continue distracting ourselves avoiding feelings, escaping from ourselves, blocking and deluding with the internal chatter so often in conflict it’s no wonder we feel stressed, anxious and confused.

We can spend so much time living in our heads constantly thinking, thoughts taking us away from the moment, churning over memories, imagining the future from one minute to the next blinded often to what is actually in front of our very eyes, let alone the feeling in our own bodies.

 

We can be so caught up in the web of our own existence that we may not even notice this. Our auto –pilot is full steam ahead,  all pistons firing, and thus we’re not fully conscious until something happens to wake us. Being in auto pilot is nothing new, it happens to all of us more often than not and it is our life styles that promote it in fact encourage it in so many ways. There is always something new to learn, more money to earn, more gossip to catch up on more judgments to make of others and ourselves.

We create self -imposed rules, regulations which we follow blindly, detrimental harmful conditions to live by, setting up habits and addictions, unaware that we can shift and make changes whenever we please. It is as if we are in a dream state going through life, from one mode of doing to another going with our own formulated patterns conditioned and set in auto pilot.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

By bringing awareness to this and what we are experiencing through our senses rather than what we are thinking, we can step out of auto pilot. Doing so allows us to notice ourselves and the world around us, be present with what is here, be aware of the company we are in or the moments of silence, or laughter, joy, peace and quiet. Connect with ourselves, making conscious choices from a place of clarity and stability, feeling confident, with a sense of well- being and contentment. Like the idea of that I did and I haven’t looked back since.

Francesca Cognetti  – Mindfulness Practitioner

Try this….. Next time you make yourself a hot drink, sit and place your attention on the cup in your hands, the feel of the object, the temperature, texture, the weight as you lift it to your lips, the taste, the wetness, anything that catches your senses and the response you have in sensations and thoughts. In other words take a moment to have a moment.

Meditation | ‘My near exploding head’

I’d been dabbling with what I considered my own quiet meditation. My preferred ambiance is alone in the steam room or sauna laying flat on my back, calm and relaxed. Well at least until the temperature becomes too hot for comfort.

I took pride in focused, reflection and planning along with the knowledge that I had every intention of getting further through my library edition of  the Art of Meditation.

I began announcing to friends that I was meditating regularly if only for 10-20mins every 3-4 days. Then I was thankfully challenged on my interpretation of focused ‘problem solving’ . I began to question my useful calming routine and whether the progress of simply starting was required reseting.

Perhaps if I had finished my ‘guide’ book I would have had more of a clue, however I was lucky enough to discover Ben and Keir of  http://www.aplacetomeditate.com/

I went along to one of their local lunchtime sessions and on this occasion I had the privilege of their undivided attention as the sole attendee.

I chose to lay down as I would do normally and we progressed with 2 short journeys tailored for a beginner like myself.

My previous approach to meditation, of just attempting to block out the ‘noise’ and distraction of thoughts and  to focus on one thing and to keep returning to that one thing should I get sidetracked, was up for scrutiny (all be it my own).

I was guided to be ‘aware’ of thoughts and not to  worry or become hung up  about them. Thoughts would come through naturally, observe, be aware but continue with the breath and the moment itself.  This is a very shortened summary of the first journey which I found relaxing.

The second journey was a different experience with the emphasis on ‘Awareness’ which seemed heightened by having my eyes closed.

I quip about my head nearly exploding however it felt as if the bio electricity in my brain had gone from country lane to a motorway intersection. Awareness and consciousness of sound, thoughts, feelings, presence –  all simultaneously – felt exhausting yet intriguingly uplifting.

I’m excited by what may come out of regular practice and development. To be continued for sure :-)

 

Holding For Longer

Tonight’s session in Trowse was enjoyed with four participants. I often like to draw inspiration from those in attendance. On this occasion while enquiring of injuries etc, Candy reported a tight shoulder while others felt tired or just achey from other physical pursuits. I figured some upper body mobility would therefore feature to alleviate tightness and tension.

However, to settle into the moment we began with stillness laying on the floor, continuing with holding poses for much longer than previous sessions. We progressed  through seated poses including adaptations of Boat pose and my new found appreciation of a deeper forward bend with legs crossed (very relaxing) before having a brief break.

We restarted in Tadasana with the rather awakening aroma of Peppermint essential oil wafting from the atomiser. The scent proved useful  as was limited to the standing poses as we began loosening and addressing upper body tightness.

To end our session we held legs up for a prone inversion progressing into options of shoulder stand and/or plough before Savasana

A session to repeat sometime methinks :-)

 

Session Timetable

 

Recently stopped the early morning session in Trowse however I still do my own practice at 06.30 at least once a week –  its a really good start to the day and worth trying if you’ve not done so :-)

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Sportivate Yoga Sessions

Sprowston Yoga Session

Sprowston Yoga Session

Sportivate Yoga is finally here after a change of start dates.

I’ll be presenting a short course of Yoga sessions as part of an initiative  set up by Active Norfolk and Broadland District Council to get young folk exercising and more active having left school.

The sessions start Feb 20th but there is still a chance to start on the Feb 27th by contacting Maria calling on 01603 430570- More details enclosed on the poster shown.

Festive Yoga

 

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A friend just gave me this card – it lifted my spirits and has prompted me to share it with you.

I continue to enjoy my Yoga practice and group sessions where I recently encouraged participants to try inner reflection on their day from the start to the point where they sat paused and calm before returning their focus to simple duration and rhythm of the breath.

In the lead up to  Christmas,  a festive pause or brief timeout may just be the required remedy to becoming swirled up in the frantic commercialism

Even Santa can balance it all out :-)

 

Sportivate Yoga

The Sportivate Thursday Yoga in Sprowston has a new start date of February 27th 2014 – contact details remain the same.

Sportivate

When I was asked to become involved I agreed with the reasoning behind the initiative put forward by Maria Alborough from Broadland District council based in Norwich.
Keeping people active and less sedentary makes for a healthy nation and it appears that even the younger generation aren’t as active as you may think. Once leaving school, regular physical activity levels can drop. This isn’t a new phenomenon as often I’ve heard initial clients describe their ‘recent’ exercise history as not having done much since leaving school/college. The Sportivate initiative is a funded project to ignite interest or perhaps act as a catalyst to get young people involved with regular physical activity

There is more information about  Sportivate on the  Active Norfolk website

Passed, yet starting out

After a year of study, practice and a few thousand pounds – I have a certificate to show for my efforts. Yet as I completed my final written exam I realised just how vast the world of Yoga is.
So far, I’ve shared what I know in small group sessions. I had my first full class on Tuesday where I followed the ‘lesson plan’ I submitted for my course. My mentor has reminded me to move from my comfort zone and perhaps explore more.
Last night, at a new 45min introduction class in the south norfolk village of Long Stratton, I shared an adapted and basic version of the classic Sun Salutation. The venue is a leisure facility with regular fitness class attendees – used to ‘pushing it’ and working hard. Indeed I regularly coax many to challenge their fitness levels within my ‘fitness’ sessions. That psyche spilled over into the Yoga practice with the more competitive attempting to, well..increase their flexibility. A mirror image of myself when I started the course.
At first I felt in denial that I couldn’t be a proper Yogi if I can’t do a full Lotus position or fail to remember relevant chakras.
This morning, I was blessed enough to be in a beautiful garden synchronising asana while enjoying the best part of the warm, early morning sunshine.
Tonight I relaxed. I sat on my own, in a sweet scented steam room and practiced the half lotus with quiet breathe. If I’m still at the beginning then I’m enjoying this chapter

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