Posts from the ‘Podcast’ category

Episode 46: Moving the Mind in the Opposite Direction Meditation

This is a 35 minute meditation practice that is useful when you are managing physical pain or emotional pain that may be felt in the body. This practice is based on the concept of Pratipaksha Bhavana that can be found in the Yoga Sutras. Sutra 1.33 as translated by Nischala Joy Devi says:

“When presented with disquieting thoughts or feelings, cultivate an opposite, elevated attitude. This is Pratipaksha Bhavana.”

This is a challenging practice – but it is one that has the potential to change physical and mental suffering. We will practice how to interrupt negative mental states and replace them with positive states. This will train your mind for times when you are feeling physical or mental discomfort. One of the important ways meditation creates lasting change is by helping you discover the habits of your mind that are contributing to pain, stress, and suffering. Everyone has chronic, unconscious habits of thinking and feeling. Some patterns, such as chronic worrying, disapproval, self-criticism, anger, or loneliness end up intensifying and reinforcing chronic pain. Other patterns such as acceptance, appreciation, or humor can reduce or prevent pain. With each round of this practice the mind and body become shaped more in the direction of responding to future experiences with positive thoughts. The practice can be done anywhere at anytime. After listening to the podcast you can use these VERY basic guidelines whenever you need the help of the practice.

  1.  Start by finding a comfortable position
  2. Bring your attention to your breath
  3. Wish for yourself: “May I be free of this pain. May I be free of this suffering”
  4. Begin to focus your attention on feeling/imagining one pair of the following:
  • lightness/heaviness
  • stillness/movement
  • warmth/coolness
  • tension/relaxation

You can also choose to work with an opposite state of mind:

  • calm/stress
  • happiness/sadness
  • acceptance/anger
  • hope/disappointment
  • love/loneliness
  • courage/fear
  • self-confidence/self-criticism

Lastly you can work with a sensation or feeling that is opposite to a painful sensation you are currently feeling. Ask yourself: What state of mind and body would heal what I am feeling right now? Call this the “Healing Opposite”. The answer may be relief, comfort, warmth, energy, acceptance, forgiveness, courage, etc. Whatever you choose will become the focus of the meditation. You choose this opposite.

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Episode 45: Discovering and Softening Into Boundaries

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In this 90 minute class, I build upon some of the material that I will be exploring during my March retreat. The class will grow from a seated meditation into some longer yin style poses and eventually towards more challenging asanas. Take this class as a way to discover your limits, and soften your mental and physical boundaries. Your hips and lower back will thank you, and you will get a tiny glimpse of what I have planned for the retreat.

You will need a block, a strap, and a wall to place the short end of your mat.

A large part of the art and skill in a yoga practice is the ability to sense how far one can move in a stretch. If there is no challenge in a pose, no intensity or stretch, then there will be little possibility for opening. The opposite approach of going too far in a pose, increases the possibility for pain and injury to occur. Somewhere between these two places is a happy middle ground. It is possible to find a degree of stretch that is in balance. Where there is a challenge without pain. Where there is vigor without strain.

Experiencing this balance or middle ground relies on a high degree of sensitivity. This place in the stretch just before pain, but not pain itself, could be referred to as a your boundary. With heightened sensitivity, the boundary can soften and you will be able to feel more space in your poses. Pain tells you where the limits of your physical conditioning lie. The length of your stay is determined by your endurance limit, while your interest in a pose is a function of your attention.

Take this class as a way to play with all of these boundaries: endurance, strength, stretch, and mental attention. As you “play the edges of the boundaries”, your skill in yoga has little to do with your degree of flexibility. Rather it is a function of how sensitive you play with these limits.

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Episode 44: Steady and Stable Abdominals

This is a very playful 20 minutes to wake up your abdominals and upper body. The exercises during the first half of class are done on a thinly rolled yoga blanket or towel. This will create a less stable ground and a more challenging position for the back of the body to balance on. Your body will need to rely on the abdominals to keep you from tipping over. It should look a little something like this (but with the blanket roll underneath your spine):

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Episode 43: Locating the inhale & moving towards purvottanasana

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This is a 75 minute live slow flow class. Class begins with a short pranayama to bring attention to the inhale phase of the breath and how the inhale can enhance an opening and lifting of the chest during the asanas.

This balanced practice includes a number of standing poses and twists, ending with  purvottanasana, or upward facing plank pose as our backbend. This pose, as well as the more general focus of class will be on how we can find a lift and buoyancy in the chest. We will use the inhale phase of the breath to wake up and open the muscles of the chest and the exhale phase of the breath to connect to the deeper abdominal muscles that hold us up in the poses.

 

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Episode 42: Get out of your chair! 45 minutes for travelers and people who sit a lot.

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Take this podcast with you when you travel. Bring it into your hotel room or even do it in the airport. It’s another great class if you have been sitting at your desk all day. Stand up, lie down, twist and move things into a different shape!!!

Traveling, especially by air, can be very hard on the body. It wreaks havoc on our posture and the our mental state. You may feel spacey, anxious, or generally unsettled when you are traveling. This class will ground your energy, helping you to feel awake, rested, open and ready to enjoy the rest of your day and your new destination.

As you do this practice, cultivate a slow, deep and even breath. On slow inhalations focus on bringing space and life back into the body and on long exhalations focus on a sense of grounded steadiness.

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Episode 41- Samskaras and creating new habits!

Today we briefly explore bringing attention to our samskaras during the hatha yoga practice. The concept of samskaras from the Yoga Sutras refers to the imprints that are left on the subconscious mind from our experiences, in other words, our habits. In this 35 minute practice, we touch on how becoming more aware of our samskaras during an asana practice can help us relate to our environment during the rest of our lives.

Thank you for listening,

Sarah

Connect: Please be in touch with your questions, yoga stories, and suggestions for new podcasts. What would you like to learn? What is your body craving? What are your challenges?

Listen

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Episode 40 The Action of Cat Spine (spinal flexion)

A new podcast exploring the “cat spine” pose and how the rounding of the back that we do in this pose can be utilized during the practice of other asanas to bring freedom to the neck and upper back. Use this asana to slow down and to help bring some space and freedom in that “hard-to-get” stuck area between the shoulderblades.

Like the podcasts? Want to keep them coming? Please consider donating to support the costs of creating these classes for you! Or just press the play button below to start the class for free! And… THANKS!

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Episode 39: Core Support Short

I did it! Only 20 minutes of practice like you have been begging for. Okay, okay it’s a little more than 20 minutes, but I’m working on this short class thing. This class was made for those of you who have been asking for some abdominal exercises to do at the beginning of the day.

We start with a blanket or a towel and that is the only prop you will need.

Like the podcasts? Want to keep them coming? Please consider donating to the right to support the costs of creating these classes for you! Or just press the play button below to start the class for free! And… THANKS!

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Episode 38: Courage and Compassion

A full length podcast. This is a strong practice with some vinyasa flow towards the middle of class. We work on high plank and side plank to build strength and confidence. Be careful of your wrists during these poses and modify to suit your bodies needs.

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Episode 37 A shorter podcast!

This is a class carved out from a live class that I taught. You will want to have 1-2 blankets rolled in a bolster for the end of class. There is not a typical introduction for this class as I usually record. This was a request from one of you. Please let me know your comments on how that worked for you.

Like the podcasts? Want to keep them coming? Please consider donating to support the costs of creating these classes for you! Or just press the play button below to start the class for free!

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