Meditation classes are one of the three new classes being offered starting June 6th in Vancouver and Toronto!
Yoga and Meditation Instructor Shivani Wells walks us through her journey with meditation, and tells us more about the new meditation classes offered at YYoga...
I started a meditation practice in 2002 while living in New York, and over the years it has evolved greatly and become a very important part of my life. In particular after I sustained a head injury a few years ago, breath work and meditation became an essential daily practice to manage anxiety that resulted from traumatic imprinting in my nervous system. I would be a very different person today if it weren't for meditation!
I think it's important for beginners to know that meditation isn't always going to be blissful in the beginning, but that it gets easier with practice. The reality is that we are engaging in unconscious practices all the time. For example, we practice anxiety by unconsciously establishing ourselves in worry about the unknown. We are the architects of our own stress and negative thinking patterns. What's empowering about that, however, is that we can choose to consciously engage in mindful practices that help us manage stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, and physical tension. It’s a practice!
Whether working one-on-one with clients as a yoga therapist, or when teaching a yoga class, my intention is the same: to help people become more consciously embodied beings. This intention stems from my experience with Embodied Mindfulness, the practice that is at the heart of the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy approach. What I love about Embodied Mindfulness is that it makes meditation accessible for beginners, and that it is a tangible practice of embracing our humanness.
Meditation is about shifting from a thinking state to an aware state. When we are in thoughts we aren't present; our mind and body are in different places. Thoughts transport us to the the past, or future, or immerse us in evaluation, meaning making, and judgement. On the other hand, awareness is about entraining with what's happening now without judgement. From the Embodied Mindfulness perspective, present moment awareness is achieved when we are fully inhabiting our bodies, without the need to fix or change.
In my meditation classes at YYoga I’ll be offering various styles, including Embodied Mindfulness, moving and seated practices, breath work, basic chanting, visualization, and more. This is to give students an opportunity to experience different techniques and to find a practice that works best for them in the hopes that they will develop a home practice.
I find it’s easiest to calm the mind after yoga-asana, and so I hope students will come for my 6pm flow class and stay for meditation, but students are also welcome to just drop-in to the meditation class.