MEDITATION AND YOGA
I teach a variety of meditation techniques (mindfulness, breathing techniques, mantra, visualization, yoga, etc.) from the world’s contemplative traditions (Buddhism, Yoga, Greco-Roman Stoicism, etc.) offered in various formats (weekly sittings, workshops, day retreats, etc.), for individuals, groups, organizations, at places of employment, hospitals, libraries, community centers, etc., customized to venue/audience. These are more narrowly-defined, specific philosophical practices and tools that are worth devoting time to both for their own sakes in general, but sometimes they are particularly appropriate for certain individuals. I tailor these techniques to make them explicitly philosophical, to draw out their philosophical practice implications, and to integrate them into a coherent practical philosophy or philosophy of life.
How does this work?
This depends on many factors, but I typically customize both meditations and yoga sessions to the needs and interests of participants, though sometimes I create a program with its own structure and interested individuals sign up to participate. Meditation sessions need not involve any yoga postures, and may be conducted with participants sitting in chairs, on pillows, or on the floor. Yoga requires loose fitting clothes and a yoga mat.
How long does it take?
This depends and varies, based on needs and interests of participants. Typical meditation sessions for beginners are approximately 15-20 minutes, but a workshop might be 90 minutes to two hours and might include two to three 20-minute sessions together with introductory instructions and Q&A. Typical yoga sessions are 75 minutes, and begin and end with meditative elements. All-day or weekend workshops are also useful for an immersion experience. Contact me for possible alternatives.
Who can benefit from this?
Almost anyone can benefit from both. Exceptions might involve individuals with serious mobility and related disabilities, but I also offer chair yoga, gentle yoga, and other forms of yoga modified to individual limitations. Also, anyone interested in experimenting with the idea of consulting a philosophical practitioner/counselor for some individual issue or problem can get a good sense of what a particular philosophical counselor is like and whether they sense the likelihood of developing a synergy with that counselor in private sessions by engaging with that practitioner in his or her role as facilitator of a meditation or yoga session or workshop.
What types of meditation do you typically teach?
I have been practicing a number of types of meditation for over four decades, and have learned many techniques from the variety of types available, so I offer the same variety. However, I tend to favor types of meditation that are easy for beginners to understand, practice, and take home, so to speak, so they can continue to cultivate a meditation practice in their daily lives. In my experience, there are a handful of techniques that fall into this category, including one-pointedness on any object, mindfulness of breath and/or of bodily sensations, mindfulness of the stream of consciousness, yogic breathing exercises, candle gazing, guided visualization, loving-kindness (imaginative empathy building), and Stoic meditations (reflections on what we can and cannot control, on what there is to be grateful of, on imagining the day ahead, on remembering the day behind, on imagining a challenge, on imagining yourself from the perspective of the infinite universe, etc.). In workshops, I typically expose participants to several of these different techniques in order to give them many options and an opportunity to see which one(s) resonate most with them, for purposes of continuing their practice at home.
What types of yoga do you typically teach?
Typically, I tailor my approach to the needs and skill levels of the audience members with a blend of the many types of yoga that I have studied, although my focus is typically slower, more traditional styles that do fewer poses, held for longer periods, with an emphasis on mindful breathing coupled with a focus on being fully experientially present in the zone, in each pose—body, breath, and mind fusing together, rendering each pose a meditation on the effects of the pose on that part of the body where the work is being done in that pose. Classes can be tailored to beginners, intermediate, or advanced practitioners, or open (mixed: in these, I offer alternatives for all levels).
Do you make house calls, office calls, or related on-site sessions?
Yes, under the right circumstances. For example, if you have a room that will work for yoga or meditation in your house, at your workplace, or some other space that will work (a church basement, school gym, library room, dance school, wellness center room, etc.), we will likely be able to arrange for individual or group sessions. If you have a group, or can put one together, the prices may be reduced for each individual. Please inquire.
What if I think I am unable to focus enough to meditate?
Then you may need meditation more than most do, and you’ve come to the right place. Based on hundreds of success stories with others who thought they couldn't meditate, I can teach you to realize, in practice, and relatively easily and quickly, that there are no distractions in a certain, very easy-to-learn type of meditation.
What if I think I’m too out-of-shape for yoga?
If you are a "private" student, meaning just you, then everything we do will be specifically tailored to begin exactly where you are and take you into the "yoga zone" defined by your body: that place where your comfort zone ends and your discomfort zone begins. Regardless of where that line is drawn, that is where you belong, in every pose: stretching the rubber band gently, never threatening to snap it. The line separating these zones expands over time, so your comfort zone grows. If you are in a group session, the same principles apply. Most of my classes are “open level”, so there will be participants who are more or less able to do very well in yoga, but I always tend to cater to the students at the lower end of the ability spectrum, and I expect more advanced students to recall that they began at some point with little ability themselves, and to remember that their yoga teachers (I hope) treated them with the same care. I also offer chair yoga, gentle yoga, and other classes geared toward individuals with physical limitations.