We try out many different ways to manage our physical and mental stress, anxiety, pain, grief, loss, regrets. Some work, some don’t. Meditation is one of them–and all the different types of meditations. Mahasri Yoga offers free online shorter breathing tracks as meditation and longer Yoga Nidras. They have had a profound effect on many (and like any other type of meditation, done nothing for many!). A recent reminder is that of an old college friend who had juvenile arthritis that started in college. She now lives in Spain with debilitating arthritis as an adult and happened to try the Yoga Nidras on the website. A Christmas card announced that they had transformed her life, “They were fabulous.”
So this goes to anyone who may want to try it out!
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Here are three links to online forgiveness meditations:
Metta Meditation begins with an extensive forgiveness component and training the mind by reconditioning it through the practice of forgiveness. This website is a treasure trove of teachings and meditations. This is a much longer talk interwoven with practice–a live recording from a retreat. Bhante is an outstanding teacher and Bhavana Society is one of the last organizations offering the teachings freely to everyone in true spiritual tradition. Voluntary donations are so important to keep these authentic teachings alive for all of us.
The Ancient Heart of Forgiveness is a 56-minute talk with a 10-minute forgiveness meditation at the end.
Forgiveness Meditation is the 10-minute forgiveness meditation, for those who don’t want to hear the whole talk.
Guided Meditation on Forgiveness is a short 15-minute meditation, very similar to Jack Kornfield’s. The recoding is not very good (which is understandable given the shoe-string budget many operate with) but what is different is the beautiful poem at the end.
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As I prepare for tomorrow’s meditation, here is a link to a very human and fresh meaning of forgiveness which is different from the article in the last post. I recommend that everyone coming to our meditations read this as it applies to all of us.
In “What is Forgiveness?“, also from the Greater Good blog at Berkeley, Fred Luskin (Director, Stanford University Forgiveness Projects) makes the case that before you can forgive, you have to grieve. Forgiveness is the resolution of grief. He explains the connection, grief, and its three stages.
Luskin’s definition of forgiveness “is the ability to make peace with the word ‘no'”.
He explains what he means:
It is so important to be able to understand the universal experience of this–of objecting to the way life is and trying to substitute the way you want it to be, then getting upset when your substitution doesn’t take. The science of forgiveness is being resilient when things don’t go the way you want to–to be at peace with “no”, be at peace with what is, be at peace with the vulnerability inherent in human life. Then you have to move forward without prejudice.
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Breathe Fully Live Free: Meditations to Release Anxiety and Fear is now available for downloads on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.
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Thanks to Cindy for this post.
Western psychotherapy has hardly paid any attention to the experience and interpretation of disturbed physical sensations and action patterns. Yoga is one of the Asian traditions that clearly help reintegrate body and mind. For someone to heal from PTSD [post-traumatic stress syndrome], one must learn how to control bodily reflexes. PTSD causes memory to be stored at a sensory level—in the body. Yoga offers a way to reprogram automatic physical responses. Mindfulness, learning to become a careful observer of the ebb and flow of internal experience, and noticing whatever thoughts, feelings, body sensations and impulses emerge are important components in healing PTSD….
What most people do not realize is that trauma is not the story of something awful that happened in the past, but the residue of imprints left behind in people’s sensory and hormonal systems. Traumatized people often are terrified of the sensations in their own bodies. Most trauma-sensitive people need some form of body oriented psychotherapy or bodywork to regain a sense of safety in their bodies.
These excerpt are from the interview “Yoga and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” with Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Integral Yoga Magazine 2009 issue, pages 12-13, source http://www.traumacenter.org/clients/MagInside.Su09.p12-13.pdf.
Thanks to Cindy for introducing me to On Being and the podcast “Restoring the Body” which can be heard on http://www.onbeing.org/program/restoring-the-body-bessel-van-der-kolk-on-yoga-emdr-and-treating-trauma/5801.
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Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy experience fatigue, sleep disturbances, anxiety, stress, and depression. Drugs to treat these symptoms can be expensive, ineffective, and have undesirable side-effects. A 2008 study approved by the University of California San Francisco tested the feasibility of the yogic breathing practices of pranayama and measured the effects on the quality of life (QOL) in patients. The study stated that yoga is inexpensive and has no side effects.
The study tracked the patients over one year beginning October 2008. Sixteen patients completed all the study measures. Participants were tracked over two consecutive chemotherapy cycles and the control group was given yoga training in just the second cycle. A trained yoga instructor gave a 60-minute class every week and then the participants had a home practice–twice a day for a total of 20-30 minutes daily.
Four specific techniques were taught: breath observation, ujjayi (victorious breath), kapalbhati (skull shining breath), and nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breath).
This first study of a pure pranayama intervention in a population of patients with cancer successfully demonstrated that yoga breathing is feasible and can be safely recommended for patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy. Any increase in the yoga breathing practice was correlated with improvements in both cancer chemotherapy associated symptoms and QOL. Pranayama may be helpful for improving sleep disturbance, anxiety, and mental QOL among patients undergoing chemotherapy. Definitive conclusions on efficacy await further study.
Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3353818/ Yoga Breathing for Cancer Chemotherapy–Associated Symptoms and Quality of Life: Results of a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial
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Posted in Anxiety Stress Peace, Cancer, Focus, Meditation, Online Resources, Pain Management, Yoga Nidra, tagged Mahasri Yoga free online meditation resource, meditations for peace, Satyanada Yoga for high blood pressure, Satyananda based free Yoga Nidra audio tracks, Swami Buddhananda Bihar School of Yoga, Yoga Nidra for hypertension, Yoga Nidra for repressed emotions on February 9, 2013|
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It is so difficult to let go of that which tortures us, to let go of our pain. Why do so many feed and nurture and grow the pain? Often, we do not even know the real cause of suffering in our lives as it is so deeply embedded. I see people clinging to the very things that drive them insane, unable to let it go, to free themselves. No space is allowed to live with joy, to live free. This is where numerous studies support meditation. There are so many meditation techniques and they all have varying effects so it is important to distinguish between methods instead of having the generic term “meditation” or “Yoga”.
One of the most effective practices is Satyananda Yoga Nidra–there are many who have “borrowed” this practice without giving the source due credit. We suggest going to the original source and reading Yoga Nidra by Swami Satyananda. There are several transcripts in the book.
Satyananda Yoga Nidra is a the modern adaptation of the tantric practice of nyasa which works at five levels or bodies–physical, energy body, emotional, mind, and spirit. Repressed emotions manifest themselves at all levels as they are an intricate web and not distinct. The practice is ingeniously simple on the surface and safely allows emotions to surface. They are witnessed with awareness, not judgment or reaction. This process saps the emotion of energy and it is free to dissipate. The emotion no longer has the powerful grip over the mind and no longer consumes the person.
Yoga Nidra is a pratyahara (sense withdrawal) method in the eight limbs of Patanjali Yoga (yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi--see What is Yoga). Disturbances from the mind, and by implication the unresolved issues of life, must be settled before dhyana can begin.
Experience beats theory and so readers are invited to try out the Yoga Nidras from Mahari Yoga–they are all free on-line tracks. Begin with the first one and then gradually work your way up. These are shared freely with all who seek peace within themselves.
Being a Witness:
|In this practice, we will learn to be a witness, a neutral spectator, without actively participating in the physical breathing or mental processes. Simply being, observing, has a significant effect in calming the body, mind, and emotions. You will feel it in this practice.
Who Am I?:
|This meditation reveals the perpetual and consequential programming, or the conditioning process, of the mind that began at birth. Think of the body and mind as hardware and software that are constantly growing, and being shaped and formed, by everything the body-mind is exposed to. This body-mind complex takes, absorbs, processes, and stores everything. As we witness it, is “I” the body-mind? Who is the silent witness? Who am “I”? Even if there is no burning desire to seek an answer, just being aware of the continuous, ongoing, cumulative process of conditioning can empower us to reprogram ourselves consciously in positive ways. Conscious thinking can lead to a deeper, compassionate understanding of relationships and less conflict. It does this by slowly breaking down identification of Self with the mind and the thinking process.
Up to the Summit:
|In this meditation, we begin shedding some of the conditioned programming. We learn to discard excess baggage that weighs us down and prevents us from getting where we need to go. The visualization of climbing to the summit, top of the mountain, and the inner guide part is based on a Yoga Nidra done 30 years ago during a course in Mumbai with Swami Buddhananda Saraswati of the Bihar School of Yoga. Over the course of the years, like an evolving recipe, our interpretation and wording of it has also evolved. This is our version, which too will change over the course of time.
Role of Purpose and Beyond:
|This fourth meditation is about looking at various roles each one of us plays. Some roles are easier and more comfortable than others. Do others see us the way we see ourselves? Who plays the roles? Who watches as the spectator? Exploring these questions is a critical step in self-transformation for a more peaceful life for ourselves and others.
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