Lotus Yoga Yin and Meditation Retreat, Deerheart Sanctuary, Hornby Island, BC

deerheart yurt temple

“Only by working in the present can real work be done and real results achieved.” Oscar Ichazo.

I was invited to teach 2 days of classes in May incorporating yin and yang yoga into contemplative practice, leading to meditation. Yin yoga works on deep connective tissue around the joints, stimulating the synovial fluid necessary for healthy joints.

The synovial fluid, along with the electromagnetic system of the body is linked to the energetic meridians used in acupuncture. So Yin is like a self acupuncture treatment working on meridians and their correlating organs.

These longer held postures, usually held for 3-5 minutes, work on the deep connective tissue that is hard to get at with “yang” or more active yoga.

Yin can also be a practice that helps to set up the environment for meditation, in that it teaches us how to be present with all sensations that arise. We usually try to move away from discomfort in our lives, and yin teaches us how to be attentive to the subtly of sensation, often changing the experience of discomfort. We cannot avoid discomfort in our lives, so it instead teaches us how to transform it.
This heightened focus allows us to go deep into our experience and avoid distracting ourselves by pushing away or clinging to what arises. We do differentiate between pain that is telling us to back off or come out of a pose and discomfort that accesses areas that are dull and need stimulation. When we bring breath and awareness into these areas, discomfort releases and our tissues become healthier as circulation flows more strongly.
We feel more vital, energized and alive. It is a perfect set-up for meditation, as it is necessary to stay with the extremes of discomfort and bliss and to not get distracted by either.
Bliss is as tricky, if not more than discomfort, as we become quite identified with it, thinking it is the end result. We can then loose presence and focus and become attached to it. When it leaves we can become devastated and not want to practice, or we may become “blissed out” and unable to function efficiently in our everyday lives. A dichotomy between blissful peak experience and our day to day experience can be created and bring problems such as escapist tendencies. The reality of peak experience and the reality of day to day needs to be integrated. So we train ourselves through yoga and meditation to allow and work with whatever arises, not trying to chase after positive experience or push away negative experience. Many wisdom traditions advise that bliss may be more of a pitfall than anything. There is a large amount of contentment, satisfaction and kindness that come as a result of meditation, which is different than feeling blissful or powerful. This ultimately gives us more vitality and options to choose how we are in the world. This is true freedom.

sacred forest around the yurt

Adyashanti on “True Meditation:”

“True meditation has no direction, goals, or method. All methods aim at achieving a certain state of mind. All states are limited, impermanent and conditioned. Fascination with states leads only to bondage and dependency. True meditation is abidance as primordial consciousness.

True meditation appears in consciousness spontaneously when awareness is not fixated on objects of perception. When you first start to meditate, you notice that awareness is always focused on some object: on thoughts, bodily sensations, emotions, memories, sounds, etc. This is because the mind is conditioned to focus and contract upon objects. Then the mind compulsively interprets what it is aware of (the object) in a mechanical and distorted way. It begins to draw conclusions and make assumptions according to past conditioning.

In true meditation all objects are left to their natural functioning. This means that no effort should be made to manipulate or suppress any object of awareness. In true meditation the emphasis is on being awareness; not on being aware of objects, but on resting as primordial awareness itself. Primordial awareness (consciousness) is the source in which all objects arise and subside.

As you gently relax into awareness, into listening, the mind’s compulsive contraction around objects will fade. Silence of being will come more clearly into consciousness as a welcoming to rest and abide. An attitude of open receptivity, free of any goal or anticipation, will facilitate the presence of silence and stillness to be revealed as your natural condition.

Silence and stillness are not states and therefore cannot be produced or created. Silence is the non-state in which all states arise and subside. Silence, stillness and awareness are not states and can never be perceived in their totality as objects. Silence is itself the eternal witness without form or attributes.

As you rest more profoundly as the witness, all objects take on their natural functionality, and awareness becomes free of the mind’s compulsive contractions and identifications. It returns to its natural non-state of Presence.

The simple yet profound question “Who Am I?” can then reveal one’s self not to be the endless tyranny of the ego-personality, but objectless Freedom of Being — Primordial Consciousness in which all states and all objects come and go as manifestations of the Eternal Unborn Self that YOU ARE.”

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