Meditation for Busy Minds Course


Learn techniques to focus the mind, reduce stress, and find more clarity and ease in your life.

This course will consist of three 45- minute evening sessions. The intention of the course is make meditation accessible and to provide you with guided meditation experiences using different techniques that help focus the mind and lead to a meditative state.

Course Details:

This course will run three consecutive evenings, from 7:00 to 7:45 PM. Cost is $25, which includes 3 live Zoom classes, course handouts, and question and answer periods.

To register, please etransfer $25 to Leslie at getyoga@getyoga.ca

Dates:

March 2, 3, 4 from 7:00 – 7:45 PM

Course notes:

Session One:

  • Options for meditation postures: finding a comfortable seat for meditation
  • Meditation for stress relief and self regulation
  • Discussion of the steps that lead towards finding a meditative state, based on the 8 limbs of yoga
  • Short seated movement practice to release tension and prepare the body for meditation
  • Guided breath based meditation – count 1,2,3,4
  • Forming the meditation habit: some tips to make it stick
  • Guided body scan meditation and savasana

Recognizing thought patterns and stories as they come up

Samskaras: According to yogic philosophy, we’re born with a karmic inheritance of mental and emotional patterns—known as samskaras—through which we cycle over and over again during our lives.

Our samskaras make up our conditioning. Repeating samskaras reinforces them, creating a groove that is difficult to resist.

Abhyasa (Practice)

When starting a new pattern, or in times of stress, the lure of old patterns is strongest. Abhyasa (practice) helps make our new samskara more powerful than the old; the more we reinforce the new groove, the stronger it becomes.

-Habit stacking: adding the meditation habit to something you already do – e.g., morning coffee, Monday night yoga class

Historical context:

From the Yoga Sutra, a compendium of yogic thoughts and practices put together by Master Patanjali, written about 1000 years ago:

“Yoga is stopping the modifications of the chitta (mind); then the Self remains established in its true nature. “  YS 1.2-3 

“Mental pain, despair, nervousness, and hard breathing are the symptoms of a distracted condition of mind. For removing these obstacles, there should be constant practice of one truth or principle. “YS 1.31-32 

“Concentration is the fixing of chitta (mind) upon a particular object. This is dharana.” YS 3.1  (Mindfulness, focused awareness)

“Sustained concentration is dhyana, meditation.” YS 3.2 (Meditation)

The Eight Limbs of Yoga:

Yamas – Ethical Principles

Niyamas -Personal Observances

Asana- Physical Postures

Pranayama – Breath Control to change energy in the body

Pratyahara – Sense Withdrawal

Dharana- Focused Concentration

Dhyana – Meditation

Samadhi – Bliss, Pure Consciousness 

Session Two:

  • Busy mind during meditation, and the concept of practice
  • Techniques to focus the mind: Patterns, Repetition, Body Awareness

Conditioning the brain: Practicing one of these can lead to a more automatic/faster transition to a meditative state over time- 

The body and brain say “I know this..” 

  • Mantra (repeated phrases)
  • Mudra (hand positions, energy in the body)
  • Internal focal point: forehead, chest or belly

Create/Choose a personal mantra and practice

Mudras

-hand gesture or “seal” used during yoga and meditation practice as a means of channeling the flow of vital life force energy known as prana.  

There are dozens of mudras.  Here is one. 

Dhyana Mudra – focus 

Mantras 

A mantra is a special combination of words, repeated over and over to ourselves.  Often mantras are phrases that communicate profound truth.

Some ancient mantras:

“Inhaling the breath flows in, exhaling I become the sky. “

“In me, the limitless ocean, let the wave of the world rise or vanish of itself. I neither rise nor fall. “

“In me, the boundless ocean, is the imagination of the universe. I am quite tranquil and formless. In this knowledge do I abide. “

Some simple mantras:

I am breathing in, I am breathing out

Inhaling I smile, exhaling I relax

You can make up your own mantra – a truth you would like to feel/live

Session Three:

  • Breath based meditation (pranayama) to calm the body and the mind
  • Cultivating 3 part breath and ujjayi breath
  • Techniques for keeping focused on the breath
  • Practice using breath ratios
  • Savasana/Guided metta meditation – may you be well, may you be at peace

Pranayama (Using Breath to change energy in body)

-using the breath to change the energy in the body – can help us focus inwards and be mindful of the present moment experience

Dirga – 3 part breath

-full inhale- belly expands, ribs, top of lungs expand out, then exhale slowly and fully

-Use to warm up, activate, bring awareness of breath

Ujjayi – Ocean breath

-slight constriction at back of throat, feels like fogging up a mirror, but with mouth closed, air still flows freely

-Use to bring awareness of breath, as we hear it and feel it more

Breath patterns and ratios for breath based meditation (no set rules)

1.  1:2 Ratio breath – the exhale is twice as long as inhale  (e.g. inhale 3, exhale 6)

2.  1:1:2 ratio breath – inhale 3, retain 3, exhale 6 (or any other count with this ratio)