Mindfulness Health Presents...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Buddha's Gift of Mindfulness

Yesterday was celebrated by many as Buddha's birthday and in honor of the Awakened One I thought we could reflect on a verse of the Dhammapada.

"The mind is very hard to perceive, extremely subtle and wanders at will.
Let the wise person guard it; a guarded mind is conducive to happiness."

The mind is hard to perceive because it is the instrument of perception, it is extremely subtle in the face of the denseness of our attention and focus and it wanders faster than we are able to witness. How then, can we guard it? A guard is attentive, watchful, single-pointed. The guard holds the needs of another as supreme to their own. Be the guard of the mind today. Watch it closely. Notice the thoughts arising in reaction to the events you are perceiving throughout the day. Notice the effect of thoughts on your emotional nature. Sometimes you will not be present to the thought that triggers the emotional response, these are opportunities to root out the source which lie in our own pain and attachment.

I try to hesitate before blaming another for these reactions. This can be harder at some times than others and harder with some people than others. Usually we do not want to see the pain that lies at the heart of our reactions and the ego will do almost anything to scramble out of the way of that awareness. We practice being present on the yoga mat and on the meditation cushion so that we may cultivate the strength of presence that will allow us to remain steadfast in that trigger moment when our buttons get pushed. We practice being the guard so that we are protected from ourselves as are those around us protected from our reactive tendencies.

Be mindful this day, do one thing at a time and take it to completion. It is Friday and the end of the week so let us work with awareness and intention. I think of my desk which carries the residue of a busy week and will be mindful as I resolve things that have been left unresolved. Resolution is an effect of mindfulness and mindfulness may have never been articulated as beautifully and passionately by anyone as it was by the Awakened One, the Buddha. Thank You!

All the Best,


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Look for the Hook: Build Strength and Stability

Hello All,

As the new season unfolds itself and the earth's creative potential transforms into new green growth it is a perfect time to bring our attention down to the earth. Too often we spend our days moving from the neck up as though our entirety is contained in the head. By bringing our attention down to the feet, legs and core we access a strength and stability that flows to every part of our life. One way to do this in our yoga practice is through something my Teacher called hooking. This is where we actively hook one part of the body into the earth exerting a force that is directed into the floor and towards the core.

A simple way to understand hooking is to place your hands on your knees or thighs while sitting in a chair and press the palms downward and simultaneously pull back towards the center of the body. You will feel your core muscles engage and even some heat generated. For me, this is a central practice of yoga postures and can be applied to any yoga style. You may remind yourself from time to time during the day to "hook-in" to the earth gripping the ground with your feet and legs. No show need be made but your attention will be brought to the earth and the qualities of strength and stability will be realized.

We will practice hooking in our postures this evening at the Milo Boathouse in Yarmouth and then we will work on the mental equivalent in our meditation practice afterwards. Bring this powerful concept into your yoga practice wherever you may be and observe the deepening that occurs. Let me know how it goes.


Yogi Jayanta