CD Cover

Practices for Beginners CD

This audio CD was created for students who want help with their practice at home. Included on the CD are three practices for beginners. Janice leads the listener through the sequences that are 20 minutes long including a sitting meditation to start and a relaxation at the end. The routines are easy to follow.

Here is the link for free access to these audio-only yoga practices:

A 14 minute guided relaxation is now on our Facebook page:

Spring # 1 Session 2017

All the readings for this session are from the book Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett.

Week 1
  • “I take it as an elemental truth of life that words matter. This is so plain that we can ignore it a thousand times a day. The words we use shape how we understand ourselves, how we interpret the world, how we treat others. From Genesis to the aboriginal songlines of Australia, human beings have forever perceived that naming brings the essence of things into being. The ancient rabbis understood books, texts, the very letters of certain words as living breathing entities. Words make worlds.” Homework: Pay attention to the words you use and tone of voice when using them.

Week 2
  • “I have yet to meet a wise person who doesn’t know how to find some joy even in the midst of what is hard, and to smile and laugh easily, including at oneself. A sense of humor is high on my list of virtues, in interplay with humility and compassion and a capacity to change when that is the right thing to do. It’s one of those virtues that softens us for all the others.” Homework: Smile at everyone who comes within 5’ of you.

Week 3
  • “Listening is an everyday art, but it’s an art we have neglected and must learn anew. Listening is more than being quiet while the other person speaks until you can say what you have to say. I like the language of Rachel Naomi Remen who uses the term ‘generous listening’. Generous listening is powered by curiously, a virtue we can invite and nurture in ourselves to render it instinctive. It involves a kind of vulnerability- a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity. The listener wants to understand the humanity behind the words of the other, and patiently summons one’s own best self and one’s own best words and questions.” Homework: Practice generous listening.

Week 4
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn ‘the practice of mindfulness, whether you’re doing it in some formal way, meditating in a sitting position or lying down doing a body scan or doing mindful hatha yoga- the real practice is living your life as if it really mattered from moment to moment. The real practice is life itself. It is coming to all of those senses in hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and also we could say, minding.’ Homework: Practice monotasking!

Week 5
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn ‘We call ourselves homo sapiens. That’s the species name we’ve given to ourselves. And that comes from the Latin sapere, that means to taste or to know. The species that knows and knows that it knows. And now maybe we need to live ourselves into owning that name by cultivating awareness and let that be in some sense the guide as to what we’re going to invest in, how we make decisions. The more we can sort of learn these lessons, the more we will not be in some sense running towards our death, but opening to our lives. And all the scientific evidence is suggesting that when you choose life in the way I’m talking about, your brain changes in both form and function, your immune system changes, your body changes. I mean, we start to really take care of what’s most important.’

Week 6
  • “our bodies tell us the truth of life that our minds can deny: that we are in any moment about softness as fortitude. Always in need of care and tenderness. Life is fluid, evanescent, evolving in every cell, in every breath. Never perfect. To be alive is by definition messy, always leaning towards disorder and surprise. How we open or close to the reality that we never arrive at safe enduring stasis is the matter, the raw material of wisdom.

Week 7
  • Matthew Sanford- ‘He says that he’s never known someone to become more at home in his or her own body, in all its flaws and its grace, without becoming more compassionate towards all of life. When it comes to healing, when it comes to aging, we admire the 80-year-old guy who runs a marathon. We want to see that proof that mind can overcome matter because the body is going to be what ends up shutting down. But you need all kinds of strength. You need to be able to also and it’s an overused word surrender. Being more present, surrendering into the world, feeling more.’

Week 8
  • I do know that taking the care to bring body and breath and intention together shifts my capacity to pay attention in moments and it changes the way I move through the world. To inhabit my body in all its grace and flaws appears as a gift for the new/mundane bodily territory I’m on in midlife. At this stage in life, our brains incline to greater satisfaction in what is routine. Slowing down is accompanied by space for noticing. I am embodied with an awareness that eluded me when my skin was so much more glowy. I become attentive to beauty in ordinary, everyday aspects of my life. There is nothing more delicious that my first cup of tea in the morning; no experience more pleasurable than when my son, who is taller than me, wraps me in a hug; no view more breathtaking over and over again, than the white pine that stands day in and day out behind my backyard.

More Help with Home Practice

The Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York has created excellent level I and Level II sequences for practice at home. Download the sequences here.