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

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

Audio and slide show of my workshop at the British Wheel of Yoga Well Being Festival at Warwick University during March 2018. 

The talk covers the following topics:

My personal journey
The Goal of Yoga / Yoga Sutras
Meditation including hindrances
Two modes of the mind
Definition of spiritual practice
The four A’s model