Resources

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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:

www.facebook.com/yogaconnectionNH

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

www.facebook.com/yogaconnectionNH

All of the readings for the Winter Session, are quotes from Matthieu Ricard.

Week 1
  • “By happiness I mean here a deep sense of flourishing that arises from an exceptionally healthy mind. This is not a mere pleasurable feeling, a fleeting emotion, or a mood, but an optimal state of being. Happiness is also a way of interpreting the world, since while it may be difficult to change the world, it is always possible to change the way we look at it.”
    ― Matthieu Ricard, Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill

Week 2
  • “Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things.” ― Matthieu Ricard, Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill

Week 3
  • “Ask any number of people to describe a moment of “perfect” happiness. Some will talk about moments of deep peace experienced in a harmonious natural setting, of a forest dappled in sunshine, of a mountain summit looking out across a vast horizon, of the shores of a tranquil lake, of a night walk through snow under a starry sky, and so on. Others will refer to a long-awaited event: an exam they’ve aced, a sporting victory, meeting someone they’ve longed to meet, the birth of a child. Still others will speak of a moment of peaceful intimacy with their family or a loved one, or of having made someone else happy. The common factor to all of these experiences would seem to be the momentary disappearance of inner conflicts. The person feels in harmony with the world and with herself. Someone enjoying such an experience, such as walking through a serene wilderness, has no particular expectations beyond the simple act of walking. She simply is, here and now, free and open. For just a few moments, thoughts of the past are suppressed, the mind is not burdened with plans for the future, and the present moment is liberated from all mental constructs. This moment of respite, from which all sense of emotional urgency has vanished, is experienced as one of profound peace.” ― Matthieu Ricard, Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill

Week 4
  • “I have also come to understand that although some people are naturally happier than others, their happiness is still vulnerable and incomplete, and that achieving durable happiness as a way of being is a skill. It requires sustained effort in training the mind and developing a set of human qualities, such as inner peace, mindfulness, and altruistic love.” ― Matthieu Ricard, Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill

Week 5
  • “We try to fix the outside so much, but our control of the outer world is limited, temporary, and often, illusory.” ― Matthieu Ricard, Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill

Week 6
  • “Voluntary simplicity is at once joyous and altruistic. Joyous because it is not permanently plagued by the hunger for “more”; altruistic because it does not encourage the disproportionate concentration of resources in the hands of a few, resources which—were they to be spread evenly—would significantly improve the lives of those deprived of basic needs.”
    ― Matthieu Ricard, Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World

Week 7
  • “The ultimate reason for meditating is to transform ourselves in order to be better able to transform the world or, to put it another way, to transform ourselves so we can become better human beings in order to serve others in a wiser and more efficient way. It gives your life the noblest possible meaning.”
    ― Matthieu Ricard, The Art of Meditation

Week 8
  • “Understanding that the essential nature of consciousness is neutral shows us that it is possible to change our mental universe. We can transform the content of our thoughts and experiences. The neutral and luminous background of our consciousness provides us with the space we need to observe mental events rather than being at their mercy. We then also have the space we need to create the conditions necessary to transform these mental events.”
    ― Matthieu Ricard, Why Meditate?: Working with Thoughts and Emotions

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.