Dropping Into Stillness: A Deeply Restorative Afternoon

This soothing afternoon will combine practices from yoga science such as yoga nidra ( a guided restorative process done lying down), buddhi shuddi ( a guided meditation practice aimed at cultivating wisdom and discernment) and very, gentle fluid movement sequences (no prior yoga experience necessary).

I’ve been using these practices for many years on both a professional and personal basis and  I know how effective they can be in decreasing excessive anxiety, quieting the over-active mind and supporting optimal functioning of the autonomic nervous system.These practices have been known to benefit people with chronic pain, sleep disturbances, anxiety, hypertension, restlessness, poor concentration and high blood pressure.

If you wish to join us, here is the information you need:

Saturday, November 8th 2:30- 5 pm at The Living Seed Yoga Center, New Paltz, NY

Cost: 25.00   Register: 845-255-8212 or on line http://www.thelivingseed.com  (events/workshops) or contact me at centerpoint2@earthlink.net

Please bring a thick blanket, eye pillow or scarf, yoga mat ( we have mats you can use of you don’t have one), notebook,pen and wear comfortable,layered clothing.IMG_1770

Moments

The Peace of Wild Things

by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their life with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.IMG_1239

Poolside Yoga at Fox Hill Bed & Breakfast!

It’s that time again……

This delicious class will combine poolside (on the mat) yoga with in the pool stretching and strengthening- all on the beautiful grounds of the Fox Hill B&B in Highland, NY. The on the yoga mat portion of class will take place on a low cut grassy area adjacent to a garden. If the weather is too cool for the in pool portion, we will hold the full class on the garden side lawn with the possibility of a pool dip and quick soak in the hot tub afterwards. Sweet!

For information about, and directions to, Fox Hill and its generous, yoga loving proprietress Sheila Fishman, visit http://www.foxhillbandb.com

Here’s how it works: Registering ahead is not essential  however it is strongly suggested since the class will be limited. You can register ahead by e mail, text or calling me at: centerpoint2@earthlink.net  or 609.731.7748 Questions? Call, text or email me.

Dates:

Please note this change:  Thursday evening classes only offered this year.

Thursday evening classes: June 12,19, 26 & July 3rd      5:30-6:45

All poolside yoga classes are for women only.

Cost: 15.00 per class.  Check or cash only. You can attend one class or all classes. No need to register for an entire series- but you can come to all if you wish.   If it’s raining class will be cancelled.

You will need to wear or bring a bathing suit as well as on-the mat yoga appropriate attire and a yoga mat. There is a place at Fox Hill where you can change into dry clothes after class. I hope you join us!  ~~~ DonnaImage

 

Thorns, Blooms and Open Sky

Cultivating Resiliency and Awakened PresenceImage

Cultivating Awakened Presence and Resilience: A Partial Day Retreat

Awakened Presence- ” A natural outcome of an embodied mind recognizing what is, as it is.” – Lisa Dale Miller

Resilience- the property of something that allows it to retain its integrity after being bent or stretched.

Saturday, May 10th 2-5:30 pm at The Living Seed, New Paltz, NY         50.00

You can expect:

*Clear meditation instruction for both seated and informal (living the stuff of daily life) practice

*Very gently led embodied movement/yoga/stretch (no prior experience with yoga necessary)

*A profoundly restorative yoga nidra (yogic sleep) practice

*Insight practices designed to help you overcome resistance and negative habits

You will leave with a Pragmatic Personal Presence Program (or as I like to call it a “P to the 4th power” plan)

You can scroll down to the next post and read a bit more about content

To register on line: http://www.thelivingseed.com or call 845.255.8212

You can contact me directly at: centerpoint2@earthlink.net

 

Steel, Static & New Delights

Aside

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Don’t let this image make you recoil in horror. Read on.

Anyone who knows me knows that in the past four years I have lived through a cluster of challenges. We all face sucky moments- nothing new in that. But in the past four years big challenges seemed to showing up in rapid succession.

The ugly photo at the top of this post illustrates one of several roughed up life experiences that I’ve recently encountered. There I was driving along Interstate 95, heading down to Baltimore to celebrate a dear friends birthday, on a sunny day in October 2013 when BAM! I was hit from behind. Bending steel, thuds, forceful impacts and glass shattering, landing all over my body. (Thank God for safety glass and Subaru) Pure sensation and shock were the dominant features of the moment. There was slow motion uncertainty as my car bent and buckled.  This “hit” was one of a series of things (one being cancer treatment and multiple concurrent cancer scares that both I and loved ones faced) that were bending, shaking and stretching me.

Life’s seemingly cruel moments that pull us into eye- to- eye meetings with cool mortality often have that strange property of slowing down time, which then opens us up to experiencing the moment as direct, unfettered awareness. Difficulty can pull our delusional magic carpets right out from under us. Waking up can come via sudden, fierce violent shakeups and it can also come via a persistent, compassionate commitment to awareness practices such as meditation and yoga.

Confession: Six months after the car accident I am still hyper-vigilant and anxious when on a highway that widens into any more than two lanes in either direction- I imagine people behind me not paying attention and plowing into me again. When I go to the cancer center for tests and scans I feel a familiar wave of anxiety course through my body. When any of my loved ones wait for results from medical tests, I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. Yet, with all of the static that gets stirred up in me, I do eventually find myself sinking into a pool of clarity where I compassionately witness what is “as it is”.

I know these practices help. This is why I do what I do and teach what I teach.

People often ask me to describe the states that awareness practices can induce and the term that I have been using for a few years now is awakened presence. Awakened presence is a state of being with a notable absence of delusion. A deluded mind will not even know how much suffering it is causing. An awakened mind will be able to clear itself of the static long enough to return to a clear, resting state. A deluded mind will not recognize that it is deluded unless it uses some tools that are designed to help it recognize itself. When we are awake and present we are not lost in a sea of static. We are with the stream of life events, life moments as they arise and dissolve and because we are fully engaged with the world and not shut off in isolation, we can learn to respond to this streaming of life with insight and skill.

My favorite description of awakened presence comes from Lisa Dale Miller in her brilliant book, Effortless Mindfulness: Genuine Mental Health Through Awakened Presence.  Lisa writes: “Awakened presence is a natural outcome of an embodied mind recognizing what is as it is.” She nailed it.

Awareness practices, consciousness practices and any practice that helps us cultivate more wakefulness and presence in our lives already dwell within us. We simply need tools and each other to help remember our essential nature. We possess a deep pool of clear awareness that is bigger than all the passing phenomena that streams through our daily lives. As the yogi’s say:” We experience emotion but we are not emotion, we experience physical pain but we are not the pain.” We are bigger, we have a meta- awareness that can hold and contain the experience of being fully human, with all our foibles and vulnerabilities while fully knowing that we are not fundamentally them.

There is nothing esoteric or mysterious about awareness practices. The practices that I practice have been my companions for  three decades and I can say with 100% certainty that they are feet on the earth kinds of practices- real, relevant to ordinary life and accessible.

I’ll be offering a partial day retreat on May 10th and I’ve deliberately titled it: Cultivating Awakened Presence & Resiliency. This afternoon will not cure you of your existential static. Static happens. Sucky things happen. What this afternoon will offer you is some time to clear your static while nourishing your potential for awakened presence and more robust resiliency.

Beneath the bent steel and shattered glass, beneath the scars, pain and uncertainty of whatever physical, emotional or mental challenge you are wrestling with, there awaits a luminous pool of wakefulness that wants your attention. If your antenna is finely tuned, you will hear that call- when it comes greet it warmly, settle down and see what shows up. Some new delights might be waiting for you.

 

Cultivating Awakened Presence & Resiliency

Saturday, May 10 2-5:30 pm at The Living Seed Yoga Center, New Paltz, NY

50.00

 

Questions and more details contact me at centerpoint2@earthlink.net

Registration: www.thelivingseed.com or call 845.255.8212