Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

YJ Tried It: Holotropic Breathwork

The breath is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of yoga practice, yet many of us tend to get lost in our thoughts or bring too much attention to the poses, making it easy to forget about the breath entirely.

Enter Holotropic Breathwork, a technique completely dedicated to the breath, was originally developed by Stanislav Grof in the 1970s. Through breath and music, the practice allows participants to tap into inner wisdom, without judgment from the conscious mind (or our egos).

Michael Stone, a certified facilitator of Holotropic Breathwork, created shortened version of the typically 12-hour holotropic breathwork sessions called Neurodynamic Breathwork, which is a 60-minute session designed to help participants reap the benefits of the breathwork in an accessible way. Watch here as Stone leads Yoga Journal contributor Sky Cowans through Holotropic Breathwork for the first time.

See also The Science of Breathing

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How Tasha Eichenseher Embraces Constant Change

In my life, the only constant has been change—jobs, apartments, scenery, relationships, health, opinions, and so on. Accepting change is hard for someone like me who is drawn to structure, organization, and clear goals and expectations, but I can honestly say that I’m always happier when I let go of rigidity and control and surrender to the natural ebb and flow of things.

When I trust that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be—instead of trying to force an outcome—teamwork improves; creativity flourishes; and my life feels more interesting, rich, and full of opportunity.

Rosie Acosta

Ashley Turner

How Rosie Acosta Is Open to Constant Change

In the December issue of Yoga Journal, teacher Rosie Acosta’s story, is the perfect example of how life can point you in the right direction if you are open to reading the signs.

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Slow Flow: A Foot Massage to Boost Balance and Stability as You Age

Ready to move deeper into vinyasa and build a practice that supports you for decades to come? Start today with Slow Flow: Sustainable Vinyasa Yoga for Life, designed by Cyndi Lee, renowned yoga teacher and founder of OM Yoga. This six-week online course will refine your approach to vinyasa yoga through creative asana sequences, essential modifications, dharma talks in mindfulness, and much more, so sustainability and precision are top of mind every time you flow—now and in well into the future. Learn more and sign up today!

Who doesn’t love a good foot massage? This one not only feels fantastic but is functional. As we age, balance becomes a top priority to prevent falls. And, as your body’s foundation, healthy feet are key to better balance. In this video, you’ll learn self-massage techniques to keep your feet mobile, strong, and flexible for better stability. 

Original linkOriginal author: Cyndi Lee
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The Art of Being Peace

For the Fifth International Buddhist Conference in May 2008, the Venerable Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh was invited to offer the opening keynote address. The event took place at the National Convention Center, Hanoi, Vietnam with the theme Buddhist Contribution to Building a Just, Democratic and Civilized Society. Hosted by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and co-organized by International Organizing Vietnam Buddhist Sangha and National Coordinating Committee for the United Nations Day of Vesak. The date is May 13, 2008 and both audio and video are available below. The talk is 53-minutes. 

Promoting Peace

Practicing Buddhism is the art of being peace, the art of promoting peace, in the society and in the world. We all should learn this art. We all have elements of war in our body. Practicing Buddhism is recognizing these elements so that we can then transform these elements. In the Sutra on Mindful Breathing, the Buddha provided us the practice to release the tension in our body. It only takes a few minutes. If we can release the tension in our body, then our body can learn to heal itself. When we make peace body, we can begin to make peace with our feelings and emotions. Do you know how to recognize your emotions? This is the art of making peace with ourselves. Our body, and our feelings and emotions. The Buddha also taught in this sutra how to recognize and transform our mental formations. The Buddhist practice means going home to oneself. To restore peace. How does this work in the family setting? Or in the school setting? Why is it important for parents and teachers to learn this art of being peace? 

Deep Listening and Loving Speech

During our time teaching in the west, we have also taught listening with compassion and using loving speech to restore communication. In Plum Village, we have practiced this intentionally with groups in conflict – Israelis and Palestinians. What is outlined above is used to illustrate practical application with these groups. In Mahayana Buddhism, we have the Bodhissatva Avalokiteshvara – the bodhissatva of compassion. They do this practice in order to suffer less. 

Right View is the view of dependent co-arising, no-self, interbeing. Practitioners should always remember to maintain this right view in their daily life. How does this look between a father and a son? We learn that suffering is not an individual matter. Everything this is linked to everything else. To protect other species on earth, and the earth itself, is to protect ourselves. This is the insight of interbeing. 

The Five Mindfulness Trainings

Thay reminds of Unesco’s Manifesto 2000 which Thay helped to create with several Nobel Peace Prize laureates. There are six points and has been signed by 75-million people. This arose from the teachings of Buddhism and are very similar to the Five Mindfulness Trainings. If we practice these, we will have peace in ourselves and in the world. Just signing is not enough; we need to put it into practice. This is why we recommend forming ourselves into communities – in our families, schools, workplace, and within governments. These can all become a sangha and bring these six points (and Five Mindfulness Trainings) into practice. 

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11 Best Yoga Podcasts Every Yogi Needs to Download Right Now

Here are Yoga Journal’s top picks for the 10 best yoga and meditation podcasts to download right now.

It was a rainy Tuesday morning, and things were not going well. I had slept in late, snoozing my iPhone alarm twice and missing the morning yoga class I had been counting on—for the second time that week. Annoyed and frustrated, I had rushed out the door in the rain to get to work on time, only to find myself stuck underground in a grimy subway station, waiting for what felt like forever for a delayed train. I sighed, slipped my headphones on, and turned on a podcast.

Even though the train didn’t come for a full 17 minutes, the longer I sat in the subway station listening, the less upset I was. In fact, by the time the train arrived, my mood had entirely shifted.

Thanks for watching!

Seventeen minutes later, I was calmer—even though I’d missed my morning practice. I was feeling more aware and in tune with myself—even with my less than stellar surroundings. I had switched on “From the Heart,” a podcast by yoga celebrity Rachel Brathen. That day, Brathen talked in a vulnerable and revealing way about her foibles and anger, about how upset she sometimes got about stupid things outside of her control (like sleeping through a yoga class, or in her case, noticing someone had painted a fence outside her studio), and about holding on and letting go. It was like she was talking directly to me, in a way that made me both forgiving of myself and forgiving of the train for being late.

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