Jonathan Foust

January 26, 2009

Meditation in Motion

Filed under: Dharma, Meditation — jonathanfoust @ 7:49 pm
A Great Time of Year to Be Inside

A great time of year to be inside.

I’m just back from nine days at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health where I led a retreat and training for the Advanced Yoga Teacher Training program on the topic of meditation.  

What a treat to be with such deep, authentic and caring people.  We balanced our time between understanding more challenging postures and techniques for assisting, but the overall theme was about meditation.  Each morning we chanted prayers in the Kripalu tradition and explored various doorways into meditation ranging from sense-based practices as breath, slow motion movement, walking and scanning to approaches such as mantra and metta.

While my first take on spiritual practice was through meditation, I found the embodied practice of yoga to be grounding and balancing.

The two work together beautifully, though there are traps in both.   A yoga practice unto itself can reinforce the idea that we need to do something to improve our experience.  All the techniques can lead us to believe that we can subtly (or not so subtly) manipulate our way to feeling better and better inside.  A meditation practice alone, if not connected with the wisdom of the body, can lead to a sense of disengagement and delusion.

I celebrate the blending of yoga and meditation and am thrilled to have shared nine days with fellow teachers exploring how we can offer this to a suffering world.

A fellow teacher who has been teaching meditation for over 30 years said that each time he ends a retreat he feels like he just barely has his fingernails in the iceberg.  It’s daunting to take on even the idea of teaching meditation.

One thing I tend to repeat, ad nauseum perhaps, is my definition of a teacher.  “A teacher is one who shares the radiance of her own discovery.’  When we share what we’re most lit up about, the result is not so much teaching as a transmission of energy and inspiration.  

Jack Kornfield was asked his advice on being the best teacher one can be.  His response:  “Be Yourself.”  

Now there’s a lifetime inquiry.

Practice Teaching Slow Motion Meditation

Teaching Slow Motion 'Prana' Meditation

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5 Comments »

  1. She looks like she is ready to levitate!

    Comment by Radheshyam — January 26, 2009 @ 9:33 pm

  2. sounds like a wonderful experience. Jonathan is a true teacher. He is the real deal.
    If you ever get a chance to take a class with him do it.
    Gary

    Comment by Gary — January 26, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

  3. Sounds wonderful. Any plans of offering a course for laypersons in the Metro DC area?

    Comment by John — January 30, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

  4. A little commentary from Dirk’s girlfriend-Hi Sudhir, I love your blog. You know, “Dirk” was just saying to me earlier tonight that meditation would heal me if I could do it. I haven’t been able to for the longest time because I have PTSD and health related issues from that. But in the very long process of healing myself, I have had to really get out of my head and acquainted with my body. Meditation itself is a great tool for “watching the movie” and knowing that it’s a movie. You can create all sorts of space in ypurself for those loops and movies to play without being involved in them. But ultimately, the movie is supposed to end, the anxiety has to be discharged from the body. I could do yoga everyday and feel great, but I am not doing anything to address the needs to end the movie, and that loop from the PTSD will just play itself over and over unless I do something specific to discharge the anxiety from the past. I am doing that now, but if things hadn’t gotten so extreme, I probably would be using yoga or meditation as a crutch rather than a stepping stone. Otherwise, you’re just moving furniture around in the house, but you’re never throwing anything away.

    Comment by T — March 2, 2009 @ 12:31 am

    • What a beautiful observation. I’ve noticed that meditation is a ‘gathering of attention’ that allows us to see / process all our undigested experiences. It can’t help but happen. That’s the power of the ‘pause’ …. or as Robert Thurman describes meditation, as an ‘evolutionary sport.’ But there are conditions that have to be met in order to do it. Buddhism speaks of the Seven Factors of Awakening, but I think an important element is safety. When the system feels safe enough, we start to discharge unresolved experiences. There’s something incredibly wise about suffering. When we start to see it as a teacher or guide, everything starts to turn around. Rather than contracting, we get a wee bit more curious and the edges begin to soften. Many, many blessings to you in your journey!

      Comment by jonathanfoust — March 2, 2009 @ 9:45 am


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