055 – Mindfulness Workshop for Yoga Teachers – Part 4

Mindfulness Online Training

Download or play as MP3

This podcast is the fourth audio extract from a mindfulness and meditation workshop I delivered for a group of British Wheel of Yoga teachers in March 2019.

Here are the highlights of what’s covered:

  • A quick recap of some mindfulness basics from the previous yoga workshop podcasts.
  • Yoga teachers are taking responsibility for student’s awareness – by guiding their awareness to the breath and bodily sensations. So yoga teachers help people to let go of being lost in thought! Yoga teachers are teaching mindfulness.
  • The ego is related to being lost in thought. When we’re lost in thought – the ego has taken over.
  • The ego is the sum total of all our attachments.
  • It’s good to be aware of what we’re attached to.
  • Meditation is “training the mind to achieve higher states of consciousness”.
  • Meditation trains the mind to be less lost in thought – to be more aware and concentrated.
  • Beyond this, meditation can help you connect spiritually.
  • Meditation is setting the conditions up to train ourselves to be more mindful.
  • In yoga, the meditation is there to get us into a state of union.
  • Most people that I’ve worked with who have tried meditation have found it to be beneficial: more mindful, kinder, understanding, relaxed, calmer etc.
  • A small percentage of people are not ready for meditation.
  • A sitting meditation posture needs a balance of being both relaxed and alert…
    • If we get too relaxed, we drift off into a dream.
    • If we’re overly alert we can become anxious.
    • A relaxed and alert posture will also make the mind relaxed and alert.
  • Having a straight posture/back is helpful.
  • We’re trying to find the sweet spot between being relaxed and alert. This also applies outside of meditation. It helps you stay mindful.
  • The podcast contains advice on how to meditate sitting on a chair.
  • If you’re sat on the floor – give the knees some support with cushions if they’re off the floor – or elevate the hips.
  • It’s good for the body to do a little work whilst we’re meditating. For example, if the abdominals or back muscles are engaged a little.
  • Relax the shoulders.
  • Have the head balanced as though you imagine your chin is on a shelf.
  • It helps to reflect on your meditation practice, keep a journal or discuss meditation with others.
  • I had a good sharing discussion with the group members on their meditation experience – you’ll hear this in the podcast.
  • The five hindrances
    • Useful list for meditation and mindfulness
    • 1. Sensory desire/craving
    • 2. Ill will
    • 3. Sloth & torpor
    • 4. Restlessness & worry
    • 5. Doubt
    • I discussed the antidotes to each of these hindrances in the podcast
  • Good to investigate constant themes in meditation that are hindering your practice. E.g. talking to a friend, seeing a therapist.
  • It can be helpful when there are minor disturbances in meditation e.g. a little background noise and a few distractions. The biggest disturbance is internal not external! It’s our ego and being lost in thought!
  • Integrating meditation into yoga classes tips
    • Ask yourself “why” you want to integrate meditation.
    • Be considerate of people’s expectations.
    • Meet people where they are.
    • Teach from a place of confidence and personal practice.
    • Guidance versus silence.
    • Keep it simple.
    • Option – Create a separate meditation class.
    • Consider referencing meditation on any advertisements for classes – being transparent about your intentions.
    • Consider using chairs for seated meditation.
    • Consider integrating walking meditation as this is a better option for some people who are unable to sit still.
    • Some people may not be ready for meditation, instead it may be better for them to start by slowing down or spending time relaxing first. And then moving onto meditation later. 
    • Music can be helpful to relax students ahead of meditation.
  • 5 to 10 minutes of meditation is enough for people who are starting out. Possibly using guided meditation on an app like Insight Timer.
  • Having occasional breaks from meditation can be helpful. For most of us, we’ll find that our life experience will degrade temporarily on the days when we aren’t meditating – and this motivates us to have a continuous practice.
  • Meditation and mindfulness practice is similar to exercise. If you stop, you tend to degrade. So it’s good to keep going with it.

Copyright © 2019 Darren Cockburn. All Rights Reserved


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