Benefits of Extending Meditation
One obstacle to maintaining a yoga and meditation practice during the heat of summer is finding a cool, shaded, and quiet place to sit. One of my favorite places to be is in the cool dimmed light of my studio where I can stretch my limbs then sit for a more extended period of time.
One thing I've discovered is that brief sitting periods, while beneficial for calming down and centering, are not really effective at deepening meditation. I practice zazen, or "just sitting," about 80% of the time, but over the past several years there was a looming curiosity about the deeper levels of concentration that lead to insight and wisdom.
I wondered what might happen if I could structure my sittings for longer than 15 minutes. What about a half hour? Longer?
Now, I live a modern life as a householder like most of my students, so long meditation retreats in remote locales are not really realistic at this stage of my life. But I figured, I'm a DIY kind of person with a well-appointed space, so at the beginning of this year I invited a small group of students and friends who are experienced meditators to extend our sittings once per week for 45 minutes.
Here are just a few things we discovered in the past 6 months in these extended sittings, just one day per week:
~We found out that our bodies adjusted to the longer sitting period by experimenting with more comfortable and sustainable ways of sitting.
~We noticed several times that our meditations would overlap others' in the room through images and spiritual messages.
~I had a few kundalini experiences.
~At times we experienced a sense of warping of time and space.
~Some people were given specific guidance from their spiritual guides.
And all of this occurred in silence in a dim room.
My most fruitful meditations begin by following the breath, then I introduce one of the paramitas, or perfections, from the Buddhist sutra: generosity, virtue, patience, vigor, concentration, wisdom, loving-kindness, and equanimity. I have found many parallels in the path of yoga with the paramitas of the Buddhist wisdom path. And now that I've dedicated more time to sit with these, my experienced with them has grown in depth and breadth into a beautiful practice that nourishes my body, mind, and spirit in my daily life.
For the remainder of this year, we will explore the paramitas in my yoga and meditation classes in 8 week sessions in TWO Orange County locations starting in September:
in Tustin @ Full Body Wellness Collective, and Yorba Linda @ Full Circle Yoga & Healing Arts.
So, if you are looking for more than just a hatha vinyasa yoga class, you've found it.
And, I'm offering a BOGO! Registrants of the yoga class get the meditation class for FREE! Meaning, you can save $80 if you'd like to take the yoga class AND the extended meditation.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at 714-404-2576 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want a look at my other offerings, visit my website at www.fullcircleyogaoc.com.