Deep and Simple is a five-week series that combines the practice of yoga with the fundamental texts of the Buddha, namely the Four Establishments of Mindfulness, or the Satipatthanā Suttā.
Mindfulness as we know it today stems directly from the 2,600-year-old teachings of the Buddha. Without an awareness of the body, there can be no mindfulness. Therefore, the practice of yoga offers one the ideal landscape in which to bear witness to the transient nature of all phenomena: the moment-to-moment experience of being in a yoga pose turns out to to be the perfect laboratory in which to investigate our habitual reactivity and judgments.
In Deep and Simple, the body, heart, and mind become the classroom and the present moment becomes the curriculum.
In this series in which each class will build upon the previous, we will explore each of the four establishments, or foundations, of mindfulness as they were taught by the Buddha. Through the practice of yoga, breathing awareness, meditation, and movement, we will learn to distill these critical teachings into practical and applicable gateways to self-awareness, wisdom, and liberation.
This class is ideal for anyone with a basic knowledge of yoga plus an interest in mindfulness, those who have taken MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), or those who have an existing meditation practice wishing to explore deeper. Each class is highly experiential, with ample opportunity for dialog, mindful sharing as a group, and periods of q & a.
May 1: The First Establishment: Mindfulness of the Body
The Buddha said that the whole of his teachings could be understood by paying attention to the body. This class will explore how fleeting and transient physical sensations — when felt and experienced directly, minus our “story” — offer us wisdom and insight into our present-moment experience. Here we will practice sitting meditation, then movement exploring the body and the breath, ending with an extended savasana with guided body scan. Students are encouraged to continue practicing at home during the week, jotting notes down about what sensations are noticed in the body.
May 8: The Second Establishment: Mindfulness of Feeling Tones (vedanā)
The Buddha taught that the whole of our existence can be put into one of just three categories: pleasant (the things we tend to want more of), unpleasant (the things we tend to want less of), and neither pleasant nor unpleasant (the things we simply don’t have an opinion on one way or the other). Using yoga as our vehicle, this class will investigate the ways in which we judge our moments and will shine a light on the subtle nuances of our direct experience in the physical body. Here we will practice sitting meditation, then yoga postures held for longer periods of time to see ways in which our experience will rapidly change from “I like this” to “I don’t like this”, followed by another sitting meditation.
May 15: The Third Establishment: Mindfulness of Thoughts (mental formations, cittā)
Awareness of thoughts or “mind states” is a key aspect of the practice of mindfulness. Fear, anger, sadness, frustration, jealousy, joy, excitement, sadness, etc. All of these emotions tend to show up for us on the yoga mat. You may experience all of these moods in just one single side of Warrior II! By bringing awareness to these changing mind states, by recognizing them as having natural ebb and flow, we can free ourselves from their hold on us. By returning to our breath again and again, we learn to let go. Here we will practice sitting meditation, mindful movement and dynamic poses as a way to befriend our thinking minds, ending with a longer savasana or sitting meditation.
May 22: The Fourth Establishment: Mindfulness of Phenomena or Dharma (dhammas)
The fourth establishment of mindfulness is the truth of how things are. The Buddha taught that everything that is of this world is transient and impermanent; the truth of this moment is that it will change into the next moment. By bringing awareness to our six senses —seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling, and thinking — we become aware of this deeper truth of impermanence. Here we will have the experience of the body, breath, tones, and mental states to work with with during our meditation and our yoga practice, bearing witness to the liberating fact that nothing lasts.
May 29: Integration of the Practice: Open Heartedness (metta)
Lastly, the fifth and final class in the series will integrate the four foundations through the practice of opening the heart. Metta, maitri, or loving-kindness, can be your kryptonite to everyday stress and suffering. On the yoga mat, loving each moment, whether we want what’s arising to be there or not, and meeting it with a kind, open-hearted awareness is the illumination on the path towards liberation, the streetlamp that shines down on the path. This continual befriending of the present moment through yoga asana can end up being the tree that bears the most fruit.
$115 (cash/check in-studio)
3% fee added online via credit or debit