A question that arises for many new meditation practitioners and also at times for people with years of experience is, “Why do we practice? Why are we doing this?” Experiencing the benefits of a regular meditation practice takes time, and the benefits may reveal themselves in ways that may not be as expected. In the words of Joseph Goldstein, the practice of “meditation has to do with opening what is closed in us, balancing what is reactive and exploring and investigating what is hidden. That is the why of practice.”
This inquiry into yogic meditation and pranayama honours the immediate connection between breath, air, and life that has been recognized across cultures. During this course join Chanthalah Webster-Tight, senior yoga teacher and physiotherapist on an adventure in “tuning-in” through the various forms of breathing awareness, sensory refinement and concentration practices based in yoga teachings.
Pranayama – the rhythmic spatiality of the breath: breathing is intimately connected with the sensory-motor and homeostatic systems in a way that affects the body’s relationship with the environment. Identify the tools that the breath provides that can assist in altering our internal states to enhance states of calm, connection and insight.
Introspective proprioception – sensing, feeling and observing the internal landscape: bringing awareness to one’s bodily functions and movements as a resource of interiority and maturity of attention through inner connection. We spend so much of our time lost in thought, in judgement, in daydreams, that we are less skilful in paying attention to the direct experience of our senses. Mindful Movement, Mudra and Mantra provide experiences to anchor our sense impressions with openness.
Polyvagal Theory – creating safety in practice: finding stillness and peace with the absence of fear in meditation allows us to look within through the lens of compassion. Shifting in and out of states of arousal and calm with a quality of ease is a skill that we can cultivate through the practice of meditation. Gain clarity of the mechanisms behind these changing internal states, their meaning, and our personal relationship to our environment in the context of introspective practice.