Tag Archives: mindfulness

Viniyoga – a new experience

When I moved to Wales one of my first priorities was to find a yoga class.  Everybody’s yoga is different and so I tried several classes before choosing my current teacher.  She was trained by Paul Harvey and practises Viniyoga.  I had never done this before.  I had to un-learn a few things before I could begin to appreciate it.  The classes are very challenging, but on a very subtle level.  Breathing and breath control play an enormous part, as do micro movements of the spine.  This is the first class I have taken where The Cat posture is extremely difficult!  I am expected to mobilise bits of my spine that I had never thought to involve in practising The Cat – somewhere between the base of the skull and the bottom of the shoulder blades.  This requires concentration.  My teacher says she is hoping to share with us the ability to discriminate.  Discrimination requires mindfulness.  Increasingly in yoga I am discovering that less is more….. sit in Dandasana for a while with your eyes closed and feel how hard your body has to work to keep you there!.

The yoga I teach does include some of the viniyoga sequences I practise with my teacher, but not exclusively.  I like the yoga that I like.  Perhaps that’s the great gift of yoga – that we all pass on our own versions and adapt and extend what we know:  a bit like cooking.  Great recipes are born from experimentation!.

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Bells of Mindfulness cont’d

‘Listen, listen, this wonderful sound brings me back to my true self.’

This week I gave my students homework; find a bell with a sound that gives you pleasure, and ring it.  In his book ‘Peace Is Every Step’, Thich Nhat Hanh explains the importance of the sound of the temple bells in the Buddhist tradition.  ‘Every time we hear the bell, we stop talking, stop our thinking, and return to ourselves, breathing in and out and smiling.’

Since he moved to the west, Thich Nhat Hanh has learned to enjoy the sound of church bells for the same reason.  He says the sound of a bell serves to remind us of the wonderful world around us, and it invites us to pause and experience the present moment.

I have a little porcelain bell that I brought back from Japan many years ago.  It is a beautiful thing and now I am trying to sound it whenever my mind is overwhelmed by the soup of anxiety that we all carry around in our heads.  Pause, breathe, smile, and be here now.

xxx

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Bells of Mindfulness

Listen, listen, this wonderful sound brings me back to my true self.

My little Japanese bell

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Filed under Yoga