According to the classic yoga texts, the practices that we commonly associate with yoga, such as asana and pranayama, are preparations for meditation. Once we have balanced our minds and bodies through these practices, we take our calm, awakened energy to the meditation cushion in order to pursue the ultimate purpose of yoga, union with our highest Self.
In this day and age, meditation is frequently minimized or neglected as part of yoga practice. The reasons are many – we are more drawn to the physical practices; we don’t have time to meditate; meditation seems too esoteric; we have tried meditation and believe that we are doing it wrong, or that we can’t do it at all.
In order to remedy these misconceptions, teach you accessible meditation techniques, and balance your yoga practice, Laughing River Yoga is pleased to offer a weekly meditation class. The class is taught by Miv London and Mike Conway, on alternating weeks, on Mondays from 11:30-12:15. The class is donation-based.
Miv and Mike offer two different approaches to meditation. Miv’s classes focus on mindfulness meditation, stemming from the Buddhist tradition. Mindfulness meditation is the practice of gently training the attention to become steady, and cultivating nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment. Different meditation techniques will be offered, such as mindfulness of breath, walking meditation, and lovingkindness meditation, i.e. the practice of cultivating beneficial wishes towards oneself, towards others, and ultimately towards all beings.
Mike’s meditation classes are focused mainly on mantra and pranayama. Mantras are Sanskrit invocations and prayers used as a tool to focus the mind. Mantras can be chanted aloud or silently. They steady the mind, as well invoke peaceful and calm attitudes in meditation. Pranayama is a practice involving the control and lengthening of the breath. Focusing energy and awareness on the breath helps promote stillness and easiness of the mind. Together, these two practices open the door for an easeful, enjoyable meditation. Many of the mantras come from the Bhakti-Vedanta Yoga tradition (an ancient philosophy based on ancient Yoga texts), which Mike learned at Ananda Ashram in New York.
We invite you to explore meditation by trying out both of our approaches. We each aspire to create a safe, supportive environment to practice meditation, in which you cannot fail or do it wrong. We are looking forward to sharing these profound techniques that have benefited our own lives so greatly.
Class meets Mondays from 11:30-12:15 and is by donation.