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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

Winter Session. All the quotes are from Pema Chodron’s Heart Advice emails.

Week 1
  • “The essence of bravery is being without self-deception. However, it’s not so easy to take a straight look at what we do. Seeing ourselves clearly is initially uncomfortable and embarrassing. As we train in clarity and steadfastness, we see things we’d prefer to deny—judgmentalness, pettiness, arrogance. These are not sins but temporary and workable habits of mind. The more we get to know them, the more they lose their power. This is how we come to trust that our basic nature is utterly simple, free of struggle between good and bad.”

Week 2
  • “Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”

Week 3
  • “As people who want to live a good, full, unrestricted, adventurous, real kind of life, there is concrete instruction we can follow: see what is. When you catch yourself grasping at beliefs or thoughts, just see what is. Without calling your belief right or wrong, acknowledge it. See it clearly without judgment and let it go. Come back to the present moment. From now until the moment of your death, you could do this.”

Week 4
  • “What will happen to us today is completely unknown, as unknown as what will happen at death. Whatever happens, our commitment is to use it to awaken our heart. As one of the slogans says, “All activities should be done with one intention.” That intention is to realize our connection with all beings.”

Week 5
  • “When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently, endless opportunities to dissolve the seeds of war where they originate—in the hearts and minds of individuals like you and me.”

Week 6
  • “As a way of working with our aggressive tendencies, Dzigar Kongtrül teaches the nonviolent practice of simmering. He says that rather than “boil in our aggression like a piece of meat cooking in a soup,” we simmer in it. We allow ourselves to wait, to sit patiently with the urge to act or speak in our usual ways and feel the full force of that urge without turning away or giving in. Neither repressing nor rejecting, we stay in the middle between the two extremes, in the middle between yes and no, right and wrong, true and false. This is the journey of developing a kindhearted and courageous tolerance for our pain. Simmering is a way of gaining inner strength. It helps us develop trust in ourselves—trust that we can experience the edginess, the groundlessness, the fundamental uncertainty of life and work with our mind, without acting in ways that are harmful to ourselves or others.”

Week 7
  • “None of us wants to be miserable; we all want to be happy. But we can’t achieve this aim if we stay stuck in biased, narrow-minded thinking. No matter how much we long for joy, it will elude us if we continue buying into concepts of right and wrong, good and bad, acceptance and rejection. What ultimately frees us from these constricting patterns is to stop reifying our experience, and to connect with the ineffable, groundless nature of all phenomena.”

Week 8
  • “There are many stories, but the basic message I’m trying to convey is that to the degree that each of us is dedicated to wanting there to be peace in the world, then we have to take responsibility when our own hearts and minds harden and close. We have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid, to find the soft spot and stay with it. We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility. That’s true spiritual warriorship. That’s the true practice of peace.”

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.