The Buddha’s discourse on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness outlines practical methods for practicing mindfulness meditation and for progressing on the path to awakening. In this workshop series we’ll interweave these timeless teachings with body-based yoga methods. Mindfulness practice develops a quality of awareness that enables us to maintain a continuity of presence throughout a movement practice. Asana and pranayama offer clear anchor points for the present moment, making meditative awareness more accessible. These practices sustain each other, and together they support the cultivation of wisdom and the capacity to skillfully meet life as it unfolds.
Each workshop will include both receptive and active (Yin/Yang) asana practice to develop and maintain ease and vitality in the tissues of the body, pranayama for enhancing the pranic system, and mindfulness methods drawn from each of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, all with the mood of loving-kindness.
In the First Foundation of Mindfulness, the Buddha offers methods for cultivating grounded presence in the body. By watching the breath and paying attention to the kaleidoscope of sensations that percolate in an asana practice, we develop the capacity to attend to all of life’s experiences in a skillful way.
The Second Foundation of Mindfulness outlines practices for working with feelings. Not quite the same as emotions, feelings are the visceral, body-based responses to circumstances before the mind turns them into emotions. In our practice this month, we will work on identifying the moment when our feelings gives rise to reactivity.
The Third Foundation of Mindfulness addresses mental activity such as emotions, imaginings, plans, memories — what we call citta vritti (mind chatter) in Patanjali’s yoga. Indeed, the exposition of yoga in the Yoga Sutras is to calm this chatter so that we may touch into reality. Much chatter arises in yoga practice, making it fertile ground for inquiry into our mind state.
In the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness we receive the teachings on the dharmas, or mental phenomena. We can think of these as the filters through which we perceive our world. In this final workshop, we will pay attention to the experiences that enter our consciousness through the sensory doorways and inquire into the nature of change
Developed by master teacher Sarah Powers, Insight yoga is a heart-centered approach that interweaves the insights and practices of Yoga, Buddhism, Taoism, and Transpersonal Psychology. Jennifer has been teaching in the Washington, DC area for more than a decade after completing her first teacher training in 2004. She has studied with exemplary yoga teachers from a number of disciplines but is most influenced by Don and Amba Stapleton of Nosara Yoga Institute and her primary teacher Sarah Powers. Jennifer is an endorsed Insight Yoga teacher and mentor in the Insight Yoga Institute.