Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My vacation to yoga-land!

Flipping through my class notes from my 500hr yoga teacher training course I came across this note:

Tantras - how to do practices
Purifying practice - heat/burn off -negativity
Nurturing practice - feeds us - nourishes
need a balance of each

It's my need for balance that prompted me to take this week off from work to participate in the morning yoga retreat at Yoga on Main.  Although I try to do sadhana (spiritual practice) every day some days I feel like I want to spend more time on the mat but life gets in the way.  This week my intention is to give myself the time without any restrictions to focus on sadhana. 

This morning's practice was about purifying - we generated a lot of heat.  When I got home I wanted to sit for meditation but I also wanted to be outside enjoying the sunshine.  On the drive home from the studio I was mentally debating, should I meditate first and then do a little gardening or should I garden first and then meditate?  Since I spend most days sitting in a cubical without any windows I didn't want to miss the opportunity to spend some time soaking in the sunshine.  The solution?  I meditated outside.

It was a bit more challenging at first but it wasn't long before I was riding the wave into meditation.
I'm not sure how much time passed but the first thought coming out of meditation was "Damn that guy, Patanjali really knew what he was talking about!"  LOL!   Just to clarify, Patanjali is the guy who supposedly wrote down in a very systematic way the instructions of yoga known as the Yoga Sutras. 

Anyway,  Patanjali gives us the steps, one by one, to reach a state of samadhi - this is the highest state of meditation when we merge with cosmic consciousness.   Some people skip right to step #3 - asana (yoga postures) and stay there.  Some people skip right to step #7 - meditation and wonder why they can't meditate.  "I can't meditate, I can't quiet my mind"  Is what I hear whenever I suggest meditation.  

My pitta mind needs step by step instructions so I follow Patanjali's instructions:

1.  Yamas - Social ethics: truthfulness, non-harming, self-restraint, non-stealing, non-possessiveness
2.  Niyamas - Moral ethics: austerities, purity, contentment, self-study, surrender to the Divine
3.  Asana - physical postures
4.  Pranayama - breath control
5.  Pratyahara - withdrawl of the senses (turning the senses inward)
6.  Dharana - concentration
7.  Dhyana - meditation
8.  Samadhi - Absolute bliss

Today's practice incorporated all these steps which made meditation effortless.  When you plant a garden you first need to prepare the soil.  That's what we do when we practice according to the 8 fold path, we prepare the soil for meditation to happen. 

Step #1&2: I try my best to honor the yamas and niyamas in my life.  (well, I strive to at least)
Step #3: SD took us through a beautiful, purifying asana practice
Step #4: Alternate nostril breathing - to balance out the effect of the strong physical practice
Step #5: I close my eyes and turn my senses inward
Step #6: Mantra
Step #7: Meditation happened - effortlessly.
Step #8:  I realize what a genius Patanjali was/is! 

It doesn't get more balanced then this.  The purifying effects of asana and pranayma and the nurturing
effects of meditation equal a perfectly balanced practice every time.

Although getting up at 4:30am to practice yoga and meditate all day may not be everyone's idea of a fabulous vacation but for me - it's absolute bliss!!  To book your visit to yoga-land check out our
new web-site:

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