I'm just home from leading a nine-day training on teaching meditation. This is part of a 500-hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training program at Kripalu Center. This group of 40 was made up of active and experienced yoga teachers. The retreat was deep, still, filled with tears and laughter. I kvell when I think of each of these gifted and dedicated leaders taking meditation out into the world.
We covered a wide variety of techniques:
- Breath-based Meditation
- Sensation-based Meditation
- Mantra Meditation
- Walking Meditation
- Standing Meditation
- Body-scan and Lying Down Meditation
- Conscious Eating
- Open-eyed Meditation (Tratak)
- Loving Kindness Meditation
- Slow Motion Prana Meditation
We focused on core, simple techniques that help practitioners shift from thinking to 'being.' Through the days of practice and sharing about techniques and their effects, I'm reminded how each moment requires caring attention and a question of 'how this moment wants me to be with it.'
The yogic approach to meditation speaks of the balance of 'chitta and prana.' Chitta is mind and awareness. Prana is energy and feeling.
We are constantly seeking balance between the two. If you come home in your head and wound up tight from a hard day at work, you'll want to do something to loosen up: go for a run, do some yoga, pop a beer, take a nap, cook a meal.
Signs of 'too much prana' are those times when you are over-emotional, have 10,000 idea but just can't complete one, feel confused and lost. You'll want to get your 'chitta together' and focus on what's most important. You might talk to someone to get some perspective or try to get centered, get some perspective and cultivate a sense of priorities.
Some meditation techniques, like counting breaths or steps when walking, are designed to cultivate one-pointedness and concentration. Other techniques, like slow-motion moving meditation and chanting, can open us up to a greater sense of flow and expansion.
I'm honored to have had this time with such dedicated and sincere teachers. More photos at my flickr site. I've got a lot of shots here so folks can pick the ones they like best.