ATMOSPHERE / TOGETHERNESS
We settle into our places. The room is candlelit, it is still light out when we begin. Students are invited to greet their neighbor- nurturing a sense of community, acknowledgment, and respect.
Class then begins with a poem, an idea, an inspiration. This is a time for us to come into a space of meaning, of contemplation, reflection. Next we sing to the ceremonious sounds of the harmonium or a crystal singing bowl, usually “OM,” the scared sound of the universe. The intention here is to bring us into alignment with the power and immediacy of our own presence, the collective, and also a greater cosmic connection. The vibrations of sound in the body, in the room, are tangible and powerful. The more one is able to release into “OM,” without hesitation, negative self-consciousness, or over thinking, the more connecting the experience of OM is-- a metaphor for Life. The more we are able to release into our own wildish nature, into what we are, into the depths of our undeniable and unavoidable connection with all, into our power as individuals and as a collective, the more whole we become.
RESTORATIVE / YIN
We begin by moving a bit to get the blood flowing and to get the jitters out, and to create fluidity in the body, and then we get on the floor. In Restorative sessions we come into 7-10 comfy, supported shapes, each 1-10 minutes, and breathe, and experience being held, soft, and restful. Restorative Yoga is wonderful for calming the Nervous System and lowering stress hormone levels, which in turn is excellent for the Immune System. This practice is excellent for those who are injured, stressed, working with trauma, overworked bodies and minds, and those who are looking to practice some amazing self care.
Somewhat conversely, in Yin we come into 8-10 “deeper” shapes, also 1-10 minutes each, that are designed to open connective tissue and also put a healthy amount of stress on the joints, so there is inherently more intense physical sensation in Yin than in Restorative. Yin is often compared to self message and also acupuncture, since we are working with restructuring of the tissues and also Meridian Theory. Yin is perfect for those looking to deepen their relationship to meditation, increase mobility, and also find deep soul release and relaxation.
Both Yin and Restorative practices are wonderful for anyone who is learning how to be with themselves. Here are some questions I might ask you during these sessions: Can you enter into a deeper level of softness? Can you release what you are holding from the inside? Can you learn to be, with yourself, just as you are, without running away from your experience? What happens when you stay, even when things are a bit uncomfortable, to see what comes to the surface? How is your breath? What happens when you play with it, deepen it, stretch it out? Explore the hidden corners within? How does it feel to explore those spaces, as if to dust them off?
I typically design all classes to be an all over body experience, although sometimes we will spend extra time working into a specific part of the body. All classes are 90 minutes, so there is plenty of time to really open the body, relax, and engage with deep surrender. Both Yin and Restorative are wonderful for bringing one to the gates of savasna. The body is well prepared for deep meditative practice.
At the end of class, we practice Savasana, also known as corpse pose. Some would say this is the nectar of practice. The body lies out flat and free, as if going to sleep on the back, (although one can practice this mediation in any shape that feels comfortable). The echoes of the practice rest and settle into the systems and Being. The intention here is incredibly powerful—to release everything—worry, stress, anxiety, ambition, even life. It is a space in the waking life where we are invited to let go of any and all attachments. This practice has the potential to be quite freeing, lightening, even inspiring. I often receive messages, poems, and epiphanies while in Savasana, while the mind is free and emptier than usual.
Finally we sit up, OM once more, and part ways.
My role in the classroom is to serve you, offer wisdom, poetry, breathing cues to invite you into a reflective, indwelling space. My role is to offer effective sequencing and shapes, with lots of variations to accommodate varying bodies, and to personally assist you if you’re struggling (as much as I am able to in a group setting of 10+).
I invite you to the door of your own practice, but it is you who must walk through. No one can do this exploration for you. It is you who must decide to practice careful listening, to develop a keen awareness of the body and the mind, and to explore the inward landscape. This practice is less of a destination, and more of a process. And so here it is, an invitation to deepen your awareness of all things, your connection to yourself and all of life, and to engage with the timeless and boundless practice of meditation. Come with me?