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 hindrancesUseful list for meditation and mindfulness1. Sensory desire/craving2. Ill will3. Sloth & torpor4. Restlessness & worry5. DoubtI discussed the antidotes to each of these hindrances in the podcastGood 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 tipsAsk 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

I really enjoyed an interview with my friend Gary Goldberg on his “In the Spirit” radio show based in New York. Gary’s a wise and kind man – and he’s great at linking spiritual teachings to his own experience. We focused a lot on being in the present moment. Here’s what we talked about…The Seven GuidelinesThe importance of being in the Present Moment.Links between the books Being Present & Living a Life of Harmony.The Process (the universal process we’re all a part of) and how it contains intelligence to guide humans so they can be psychologically at peace and aligned with what the universe requires of them.Bringing a kindly acceptance to physical and emotional pain.Resisting the present moment is saying “no” to the universe – you suffer every time! It causes stress and we become lost in thought. It’s better to say “yes”!The best thing we can do is to accept where we are – then influence things positively for the future. The importance of communicating skilfully rather than blurting out whatever pops into our mind.Awareness and acceptance allows us to skilfully communicate what’s helpful.The only way to guarantee true skilful communication is through being in the present moment.Everything is conditioned and all a part of The Process. It’s infinite in terms of time – there’s no beginning or end to it. It’s also infinite in terms of depth. Scientists will never get to the bottom of what’s going on!You cannot wrap your mind around The Process – it’s too big.The Guidelines help you operate intelligently within The Process.The intelligence within The Process guides our actions when we’re present and open to being directed.If you were permanent connected to the intelligence with The Process you wouldn’t need the guidelines. However, because most of us are disconnected for much of the day, it’s good to have the guidelines embedded in our memory so they can be followed subconsciously.The guidelines can be recited daily to help us to remember and follow them.The Process provides us with feedback. It rewards us when we’re following The Guidelines and corrects us when we’re disregarding them. If we don’t respond to a correction from the Process it will intensify the correction until we take action. Ideally, we should take action from the correction as early as possible – then we suffer less!The importance of connection between people and how being lost in thought separates us.The Process enjoys human beings connecting. The Process wants to connect everybody and everything together harmoniously – this is evolution.

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

Here are the highlights of what’s covered:

The definition of Yoga as being in union with the divine, spirit or God.
How being lost in thought separates us from this connection and union. And how mindfulness enables the union.
We can only achieve Yoga when we’re mindful.
This union is available at any time. The challenge is being able to maintain it.
Enlightenment or awakening means that the state of Yoga or connection with spirit is there permanently – you never get lost in thought.
In the meantime, we’re mindful sometimes and lost in thought at other times. This can happen many times during the day.
At any point in time, we’re lost in thought or present.
If we’re mindful and spiritually open or receptive, we can allow the transcendental love and wisdom to flow through us.
Three levels of mindfulness
Level 0 – Being lost in thought
Level 1 – Mindfulness
Level 2 – Mindfulness+ . Mindfulness with openness to spirit – allowing spirit to flow through you.
We are always in one of these three states – and this goes for Yoga students too.
Keeping some awareness on the breath (even just 10%) – keeps us mindful.
We can be mindfully busy although it can be more challenging.
If we lose our connection with mindfulness we can slow down as a tactic.
Benefits of mindfulness
Improved concentration and memory
More positive
Reduces stress and anxiety
Quieter mind
More acceptance of yourself, others and situations
Helps relieve stress and depression
Improves sleep quality
Increase in resilience to health issues
Enables kindness
Useful for pain management
Enhances happiness and wellbeing
Can enjoy pleasure more when you’re mindful
Problem solving
Creates better relationships
Better listening
Self control
Access to the spiritual dimension
Mindfulness+ or yoga is about bringing together the form with the formless. To work with our experience and what’s external to us. Enjoying all of that and meeting our obligations, whilst integrating the spiritual dimension.

This podcast is the second audio extract from a workshop I delivered for a group of British Wheel of Yoga teachers in March 2019. We had a lot of fun exploring mindfulness together 🙂

Here are the highlights of what’s covered:

* A practical mindfulness exercise on identifying the different components of your experience
* Mindfulness definition
* How mindfulness links to yoga philosophy and the goal of yoga
* Transcending thoughts
* Choosing how we respond to thoughts
* Getting lost in thoughts
* We don’t need to think as much as we do
* Mindfulness hotspots
* We must be mindful to reach the goal yoga