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Yoga practice and philosophy—together these two lead to a broad and penetrating understanding of life. Among the most important philosophical texts in yoga is the Bhagavad Gita, a treasure house of teachings written in the form of an intimate conversation between student and spiritual guide. The shining companion to the Bhagavad Gita is the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. With startling clarity and insight, this text lays out a path that leads yoga students toward the highest goals of practice. When these two texts are complimented with a systematic approach to breath training, postures, relaxation, and meditation, the result is an uplifting combination of practice and understanding. Join Dr. Sovik for a delightful weekend of practice and self-discovery.
Rolf Sovik, PsyD, is president and spiritual director of the Himalayan Institute. He holds a Masters degree in Eastern Studies and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. He is co-author of Yoga: Mastering the Basics and author of Moving Inward: The Journey to Meditation. He approaches yoga with a friendly style that makes even the subtle practices of meditation accessible.
Three Day Workshop -$145
Friday, March 6: 6:30-8:30pm – $35
Saturday, March 7: 12-5pm – $85
Sunday, March 8: 1-4pm – $55
(10 hours CEUs available)
For more information on the workshop sessions, click here
Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, is a 5,000 year old science which is referred to as the “yoga of awareness”. This practice awakens the energy, or kundalini, at the base of the spine, sends it up through the chakras, allowing the energy of the glandular system to combine with the nervous system, promoting emotional balance and enhanced intuition.
There are three basic components to Kundalini Yoga which work together to help clear the subconscious mind of old thoughts and patterns of thinking:
*Pranayam (breathing techniques)
*Kriyas (physical postures and exercise sequences)
*Sound and meditation techniques (mantra, mudra and music)
“The greatest mantra of this age is “keep up”. Yogi Bhajan
In a nutshell, the Kundalini Yoga class experience has been described to feel like “meditation in motion”, “serious fun”, “cleansing”, “… a spiritual connection with the Self”, “just what I needed”. Kundalini Yoga is all of that and more, depending on what it is you need. The fun part is “mastering your mind to keep up” as the body is challenged with movement and breath, and when we find we are “keeping up” all doubts as to whether you could master the challenge, begin to drop away! The body, mind, and spirit worked together as one to master this challenge! At the end of class we are aware of an overall sensation of elation and joyful well-being.
Ongoing practice will help you cut through the blocks and barriers in life, disabilities or imagined disabilities, strengthen your projection, and give you the courage and radiance to meet all of life’s many challenges with grace and ease. The mind becomes intuitively awakened to your creative potential. When our creative potential is realized, we are happy, and we radiate our happiness, becoming the lighthouse to guide all others. As Yogi Bhajan quoted over and over again, “Happiness is our Birthright”.
A practitioner of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation (as taught by Yogi Bhajan) for over two decades, Margaret received her Kundalini Yoga and Meditation training in 2000 at the Baba Siri Chand Yoga Center in Millis, MA, is KRI certified and a member of IKYTA. She has taught at “All that Matters” in Wakefield, RI, several venues throughout RI and MA, and now in Southwest Florida. Margaret holds a Childplay Yoga teaching certification, has designed programs for special needs children, and taught chair yoga for the physically challenged. Margaret is Reiki certified and holds a Yoga Nidra Guide certification. Margaret receives great joy in chanting and singing Kundalini mantras as a part of her daily practice, and includes her passion for mantra music quite extensively during her class, resulting in a heightened state of awareness and deep meditation while exercising. Margaret has a compassionate understanding of the heart. She radiates warmth, enthusiasm and an engaging energy.
I am always inspired and guided by Yogi Bhajan’s profound quote “Happiness is your Birthright”. I am honored to teach this sacred science!
The following ideas are not new. They’re rooted in all the ancient wisdom traditions. It’s all been said a trillion times and in a trillion different ways—this is simply my recent understanding and experience.
I consider myself to be a yoga teacher, first and foremost. However, I’m currently completing my master’s degree in mental health counseling so that I can more effectively utilize yoga and meditation as therapeutic modalities. Through this process I’ve realized that the most important part of a counseling relationship lies in the therapeutic alliance–the capacity to show up in the here-and-now and let the process unfold while really tracking the client in the present moment. In this way, it’s less about doing or saying anything specific and more about being a witness to someone’s story; their current experiences and their basic fragile humanness. (If the therapy session had a mantra as its subtext, it would be “I see you. I see you. I see you…”)
The same is true as a yoga teacher, of course. I’ve noticed that as I continue to evolve in this role I’m less concerned about the creative sequencing and what I’m bringing to the experience and more concerned with you, my yoga student, and how the practice I’m offering envelops you. I’m making a conscious decision to touch more, to observe more– to talk less (Yes, I certainly still have a lot of potential for growth in that last area.)
Lately, I marvel over the trusting willingness of both my yoga students and my counseling clients. It’s really a very brave thing to share of yourself, isn’t it? Consequently if someone is fearlessly putting it out there, we can accidentally and unknowingly shut him or her down if not mindful. Sure, we practitioners of yoga say Namaste all the time, but how often are we really recognizing that shared radiance?
Of course presence is the objective as a practitioner of yoga and meditation as well. In meditation though, it’s only you interacting with yourself and you are the object of your witnessing. (“I see me. I see me. I see me…”)
And so it’s said that presence is the underpinning of everything meaningful that unfolds in a lifetime, regardless of one’s occupation or practices. When people speak of the pivotal moments that inspired them, delighted them, scared them, shook them or moved them in some way, it’s undeniable that part of what made the experience meaningful was that they were whole-heartedly present.
This holiday season wouldn’t it be interesting to see if you can really see the person you’re interacting with? Don’t let your mind wander. When it does, bring it back. Look bravely into their eyes and shine your presence onto them as though you are a spotlight and they are on a stage. Observe how this shifts the way you communicate and the way in which the interaction unfolds. Observe how this stops time. Notice how when two people are really present to one another in the here-and-now there is a sort of alchemy that occurs. The result is an additional entity—a witness that is indefinable but palpably real. This silent witness is presence, in and of itself, and it’s magic.
Here’s the deal—we are all magicians wielding this amazing trick up our sleeves. We either forget to use it or we never even knew we had it in the first place. And although the holidays are a magical time for many, they can be quite painful for others. There is a deep loneliness in many who have lost. Some have lost loved ones. Some have lost their way. Some never had the opportunity to fully claim either of those. Your presence can be the gift, equally invaluable to the joyful and the suffering alike.
Your presence is magic. Your presence can heal. Incidentally, the incantational word associated with magic is Abracadabra and historically it was believed to have healing powers and the capacity to ward off great illness. Healing is magic and magic often results in healing.
I’m always moved by the 1947 Christmas film, Miracle On 34th Street. “I Believe” becomes the thematic mantra of the story. They believe in Santa Claus. They believe in miracles. They believe in magic. It is my intention to believe in my capacity for the transmutable magic of presence right now. And I believe I can hold fast to that presence into the New Year.
I know that you already know all of this already. You have always known it and sometimes you remember it too. I’m not introducing anything you haven’t heard from the whisper in your own heart that pours forth from our collective unconscious. My objective is not to preach nor proselytize. I simply wanted to remind you that I see you. Yep-I recognize that light in you that’s part of me and all of that—any variation of the definition you prefer.
Let’s make magic.
Beyond his comedic ability, Jim Carrey brings up some great nuggets of wisdom in his commencement address to the students at Maharishi University of Management (MUM). I highly recommend that our Yoga Teachers watch it!
As a champion worrier (our family refers to this phenomenon as me going to my “Stephen King mind”) I have been thinking about what to offer you in the myriad ways I have learned to address compulsive worry and obsessive thinking (Vata imbalance) and have decided to give you the brilliance of Deepak from a lecture I attended while I was working on my certification to become a Meditation Instructor. It is called S.T.O.P. (he loves a good acronym!), embellished somewhat by me, as I tend to do. I use it daily and it has been an amazing tool to to help me maintain my pleasing personality and keep me fairly zen (ha!)
The lecture centered around creating expanded awareness through the practice of meditation and how we experience mostly contracted awareness. He says that whenever we have a problem, in this case obsessing and worrying about anything, including obsessively worrying about obsessively worrying, we experience the symptoms of contracted awareness which negatively affects our perception, expectations, assumptions, beliefs, feelings, moods, health… everything. He offered the following practice for those special moments.
When you become aware of the unwanted thoughts, behavior, emotion:
S. Stop, close your eyes and go to a level of feeling. Where and what do you feel? Remembering that we call emotions “feelings” because we feel them in the body.
T. Take three deep breaths. The decreased oxygenation of the cells in stress will be immediately transformed from one of fight/flight to restful awareness, positively affecting every system in the body-mind. Think of and remember a feeling of love and this will additionally transform the physiology.
O. Observe the sensations in the body again and intentionally evoke a feeling of gratitude for the miracle that it is.
P. Proceed in any activity with kindness, love and compassion to self, and others.
The brief 2 minutes spent on the above activity, moving from contracted awareness to expanded awareness could alter your day, your month, even your life in untold positive ways. It has in mine.
Of course learning to meditate, consistently, daily is the simplest, most successful method known to heal and balance every aspect of your life, to release all unwanted experiences, especially stress and make you aware that you already have the ability for freedom and control of your body-mind within you. Whatever method of meditation you enjoy and actually practice is the best meditation for you. Start with 5-10 minutes a day and see for yourself.
The great thing about all of this is we can decide to become the creator of our experiences. To quote Abraham/Esther, “It is our choice in every minute of every day. You can’t get it wrong because you never get it done.” Allowing your thoughts and your life to become a runaway locomotive is a choice too. It’s called default.
Begin with Yoga, moving the body gently with awareness in Asana practice and allow the rest to show up effortlessly.
Think you are bending correctly? Watch this video to make sure!
This morning, another new study was announced on all media touting more of the benefits of meditation. This one was centered around infertility and stress as a major contributor. Of course, meditation and yoga were given as best therapies.
Hard science is in: If you haven’t begun a formal seated meditation practice, now may be the time to expand your yoga practice.
Next sessions of PSM instruction are April 5th and 6th.
In Session One, you will be introduced to the basic principles and science of meditation, its history and the importance of your mantra.
In Session Two (which immediately follows Session One), you will receive instruction in your personal Primordial Sound Mantra and learn to use it. You will then meditate for the first time using your mantra.
In Session Three, you will learn the practical aspects of meditation, share your experience, receive answers to any questions and meditate with your instructor.
In Session Four (following Session 3), you will attend a lecture about the higher states of consciousness that can be achieved with regular Primordial Sound Meditation practice.
As taught by The Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Practiced for thousands of years, meditation is a tool for rediscovering the body’s own inner intelligence. Primordial Sound Meditation uses individually selected sounds of nature called mantras to disconnect us from the activity of life. These primordial sounds are based on the vibration the
universe was creating at the moment of your birth.
Primordial Sound Meditation is recommended for anyone who wishes to know deeper peace, enjoy greater freedom and mastery of life. Applications available at Joyful Yoga’s front desk. Sign up by April 4. Space is limited.