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Meditation – Where do I begin?

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

By Céline Peccatte and Nancy J Curran

meditation-techniquesWhen many think about starting a meditation practice, often there is a feeling of great uncertainty.   Where do I begin?  That is the question for the beginner meditator and for the instructor when answering that question.

The simple answer is to begin by meditating.  We know both the truth in this, and the pitfalls.

Without some form of support or guidance we can often find ourselves frustrated, confused, and in a pool of self-judgment. One of the collective misconceptions about meditation is that it helps one to stop thinking.  This is an impossible task even for a seasoned practitioner.  Because of it, one quickly concludes:  “ I am not good at meditating!, I can’t stop thinking!”  Wondering why we are doing this, in a state of judgment and defeat, we give up!

 

Yes, like many things that are new when you begin a meditation practice you will find the joy of conquering and discovery, at the same time you will be faced with roadblocks that will test you, and ask you to grow and change. In the beginning it is so very supportive to have resources that will help you along the way.  A meditation teacher, or meditation mentor, being part of a group, taking a class, reading about other’s journeys along the way are all great ways to help you when you are faced with some element of the practice that becomes difficult.

For some finding a group to meditate with is helpful, especially if there is some guidance or discussion within the time spent together.  Meditation is a deep practice that brings you to sit with yourself, observe and practice non-judgment.  In doing that you will sometimes feel quite isolated, alone and separated.  When practicing with a group there is a space created that helps the beginner to feel part of something, and supports you along the way when things may get trying.

In the beginning having support also helps to identify the benefits that you are receiving from the practice.  Let’s be honest here, most people don’t continue to do something if they do not perceive a benefit.  At first you may just feel more relaxed after the session, then you might start to feel the sense of calmness pervading throughout your day.  Other benefits include a calmer sense of emotions even when there are stressors, clarity of mind, physical well being and an uplifting sense of personal power that enables you to meet life in all its spectrum, as it is. The benefits are not goals to reach; they might just happen as secondary effects some days and more than likely a delightful breakthrough over time.

If you feel really at a loss, start by talking to others who meditate, asking them about their experiences.   Find out how they began or if they recommend any thing to consider as you begin your practice.  Consider taking a workshop that will help you to understand the different ways to meditate, which will help you identify what may be a jumping off point for you.  You will also want to learn about some of the roadblocks along the path of meditation, and then what tools to use to help diminish them.  If you are someone who likes to read about your interests, try Meditation for Dummies by Stephan Bodian.

Again we go back to the simple answer, just meditate.  Even for just 5 minutes, sit with yourself or lie down and be aware of your breath.  Free of judgment, you become aware.  You let go.  You struggle.  You are amused.  You create, and let go again. Eventually, you will find your way to come sit, meditate, observe the mind and in the end no matter what transpired you offered yourself a moment of kind attention.  Meditation can be as simple as that.  Welcome to meditation!

Want to learn more?  Céline will be teaching a Meditation Workshop on March 7, 2015

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The Artist’s Way Experience

Monday, July 16th, 2012

This past winter, I had the great pleasure of participating in The Artist’s Way 12 step recovery program. Here we are mid-summer on Cape Cod, and I am now facilitating the group. How did this happen?

I was sharing my experience with a friend when I was asked to put a group together for this summer and I recognized the synchronicity of this opportunity.  Recognizing synchronicity was one of the important lessons I learned when taking The Artist’s Way, and now it has lead me to facilitating the program.

Next I recognized the voice of doubt questioning whether I was up for leading an “artist recovery group.”   Using another principle from the program, I decided to go for it. This principle helps us to come to a place where we can begin to unravel years of censorship, both internal and external.

As expressed in The Artist’s Way, we are encountering “Spiritual Electricity” and aligning with our creative source as a form of “Spiritual Chiropractic” healing.  What a delight to approach our creative energy as a “spiritual transaction” and engaging in artistic endeavors as a “form of faith”. Participating in this transformation and witnessing the opening of my fellow pilgrims on the “way” is akin to a mystical experience if not magical.

As I have my second go around with this process and in discussion with other participants in our group, I can’t help but remark on the parallels with the path of yoga. The embracing of beginner’s mind and leaping in faith in the process of self-discovery, espouse the basic tenants of yoga practice. To realize our Divinity and to live our lives as unique expressions of that very creative source from which we come, brings new definition to our lives. To live and to create become synonymous.
The basic principles of yoga like those of The Artist’s Way, teach us to surrender to something greater than ourselves and to channel that energy by allowing it to come through us rather than struggling willfully. We’re going back to the core of who we are, looking at core beliefs, and seeing the possibility of expansion for our bodies (physically, emotionally, psychically,) and for ourselves as creative beings.
What an exciting time we live in!

The opportunities for liberating our most vivid forms of expression are at hand. Whether you are practicing yoga, or participating in a recovery process such as The Artist Way, the time has come. We are stretching ourselves, breathing life into every moment, and acting in faith. When we create we are agreeing to be used for the highest good of the Great Creator, in whatever way we identify our source energy. The creative life, like yoga, is a sacred act that is approached playfully.

Allow it. Trust it. And most of all, enjoy it.

Posted in Classes, Workshops, Yoga Philosophy | 2 Comments »

Yoga Teacher Training in Key West

Friday, October 14th, 2011

I just met with Amy from Stay Fit Studio and we are delighted to announce that our 2011-2012 Yoga Teacher Training program will be held in their beautiful studio.  It is a spacious room with mirrors, a wooden floor and plenty of room for us to explore the practice of yoga, teaching and discover who we are.  Sounds like fun to me.

This will be our 5th year running this program in Key West, and we are looking forward to it.  Our 200 hour program is approved by Yoga Alliance, and covers

History and Philosophy of Yoga Meditation
Breathing – Techniques, Principles and Practice
Study and practice of Asanas (postures)
Assisting and modification of poses
Physical Anatomy, Physiology and Kinesiology
Energy Anatomy and Physiology
Yogic Lifestyle
Understanding Sanskrit
Chanting, Bandhas, and Mudras
The Business and Ethics of Teaching Yoga
Developing Your Teaching Style and Class Format
Observation of Yoga classes
Hands on assisting of classes
Practice teaching
Self Growth for Teachers

The program includes  The Forum, which meets for 20 weeks on Monday evenings from 6:30-9:30 pm and 4 weekend programs running from Dec 5- April 23.  The design of the program allows you to continue to live and work here in Key West while participating in the program.  With over 140 hour contact hours, and some 60 hours of self-study this program will inspire, challenge and develop self awareness and a deeper connection to both yoga and yourself.

Whether you want to simply learn more about yoga, or you feel ready to take the leap and become a yoga instructor this program will offer you the experience and opportunity, not to mention challenge you mentally, physically and spiritually.

Are you ready?  We are!

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Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Yoga on the Beach’s Yoga Teacher Training is now approved as a 200 hour registered program.  We are excited to share that our standards and program will help you be recognized as a yoga instructor in your community.

Are you thinking about becoming yoga certified as an instructor?  Our next program will begin Nov 30, 2010 in Key West, FL.  This program is designed to help you maintain your career and home life while immersing you in the subject and study of yoga. Meeting once a week for 20 weeks, and 1 weekend per month for 4 months you will immerse yourself in a personal path of yoga and the elements of teaching.

For more information check out our website.

Learn more, be more, share your passion.

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Another Perspective

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Yoga FlippedSeptember we will be turning ourselves upside down in the Yoga Unplugged class, offering an opportunity to look at life from another viewpoint. It is all too easy to get into a rut and begin to see things the same way, think in the same thought patterns, and feel things based on what was.  Yoga gives us the opportunity to refresh ourselves, to become present and see things for what they are “in the now”. 

What a gift it is, to ourselves first, and then to all those we come in contact with when we are present.  Thinking, feeling, reacting, responding from what IS happening rather than what we think might be happening based on our past experiences, or fearful anticipations. 

We get to open up to our potential, rather than be stuck in our limitations. 

Next time you are in a yoga class and find yourself upside, take a moment to stop thinking about what your body “should” be doing, and open your eyes to what you are seeing.  Take a look around you. What does your environment look like when you are in this position?  What do you see?

This is a great tool that many artists use when drawing.  I learned this tool when I read the book, “Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain”, by Betty Edwards.  In the book she has you take a picture of something you want to draw and then turn it upside down.  This allowed me to stop seeing things as I expected them to be (a cat, a door, etc) and see the shapes, the contour, the negative space, etc.  I saw so much MORE.

So what do you see when you are upside down?  What have you been missing in your environment because you are “expecting” things to be a certain way?   Be open to another perspective and watch how life unfolds.  You may just find you have more solutions than questions.

Happy Flipping!

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