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Posts from the ‘teaching’ Category

Judgement vs Right Perception

Today I had an interesting conversation with students around the idea of judgement and acceptance. The conversation evoked inquiry, and ultimately a renewed clarity for me, and I hope for others as well.

In spiritual communities, judgement is sometimes misperceived as bad, especially in light of ideas like acceptance and kindness. However, judgements are neither good nor bad. They are simply a facet of the thinking mind. They may have some information to relay, often about the person judging, rather than the object or person that is being judged. If we allow it to be, without suppressing or reacting from it, we can come into greater clarity and alignment with life. This allowing is the essence of accepting.

Acceptance does not mean we submit to life all the time, nor that we tolerate disrespect or abuse. It simply means that in this moment, I surrender to what is. This surrendering is not one of resignation. It is alert and awake. It is feeling and sensing. Through this, there is the potential to come into clear relationship with life. In time, we may open into ‘right’ perception, ‘right’ words, and even ‘right’ action when Life is calling for it.

My use of ‘right’ has no opposite. This ‘right’ does not make anyone or any other opinion wrong. It simply states what feels true; what brings me into alignment and harmony with life. When this truth calls for us to say ‘no’ to something, as Eckhart Tolle describes, it will be a “high quality no” that is free of all reactivity. “Without egoic defensiveness, there will be power behind your words, yet no reactivity.” (A New Earth, pg. 216) This ‘right’ also has no good or bad. In fact, what feels right might be very uncomfortable to navigate at times.

A little more often now, I can discern ‘right’ perception from judgement. Judgement often has a charge to it, an edginess, a sense of inferiority or superiority. The words and action that stem from judgement are less than skillful, sometimes hurtful, and I have had my fair share. ‘Right’ perception on the other hand feels clear and even strong at times, yet it has a calm, grounded and open quality to it. Generally it does not arise through thinking, instead it emerges from the vast, open, wise ground of Being.

In Peace,
Sheila

An iRest Yoga Nidra Rest-Shop

The new year is a beautiful time to slow down, restore and rest in the depths of one’s heart. In this rest-shop at Dharma Yoga Austin, I will offer a gentle practice, including breathing, gentle embodied movements and iRest Yoga Nidra. We will close by planting seeds of inquiry so that when the answers appear, we may hear – what (way of Being) is most calling us into the year that can guide how we show up for ourselves and others, and where we engage.

Their will be no agenda, other than for this to be a safe space for you to meet the truth and wisdom within you.

No experience required, simply your curiosity.
January 26th 4-6pm
Registerhttp://dharma-yoga.net/workshops/

** iRest Yoga Nidra is a healing practice of guided meditation/rest.  Please click on this link for more information.  

Yoga Nidra with Sheila Singh jpeg

Simplicity of Being, March Retreat

In a few weeks, I will be heading out to offer a weeklong retreat with Karlie Lemos in Tulum, Mexico at the beautiful Shambhala Petit.  This will be an opportunity to slow down, to immerse in the beauty of the nature as you return home to your most essential self. There will be opportunity for morning meditation, afternoon yoga asana, and evening guided yoga nidra and relaxation.  You will be invited to participate as it serves you, with ample space to restore and replenish.  We hope the restlessness of the world can subside for a time, as you reconnect with yourself, and with what carries meaning and purpose in your life.

The retreat dates are March 17 to March 24, and we have one remaining casita left (two people) and two roommate spaces.

http://www.oneyogaglobal.com/current-yoga-retreats/tulum-mexico-with-karlie-and-sheila/

If this interests you, please feel free to connect with me.

Warmly,

Sheila

Nourishing Joy

Nourishing Joy.  This can sound somewhat self-indulgent, but instead I believe it to be self-sustaining. It is important to take time to reflect on joy, what it means, how it comes forward in life, and how it feels in our bodies. By joy, I am referring to the feeling of lightness and happiness within. Perhaps the deepest joy that we might explore is the one of being at home in ourselves.  Without recognition of joy, life can feel dull, and our attention more fixated to the things that are not going well for us.  Instead, joy helps us to feel resilient over time, balancing the heaviness of life with a vital lightness.

Joy can be personal. Perhaps I feel light when I am in nature, when I have the opportunity to paint, write or be in a loving relationship. Joy can arise for many reasons.  A skillful inquiry is to reflect on whether our joy feels wholesome; that it does not arise out of disregard for or diminishment of others or the environment.

We can also open to a joy that arises without cause; one that is innate to us, and an expression of our essence. It can become available just by virtue of meeting life as it is, without agenda.  This might be at odds with what we believe, that life must go our way for joy to be available.  However, I invite to explore what emerges when you meet life as it is.  Is there a background of ease that becomes known? This joy is less personal, and more subtle, but it exudes a warmth nonetheless.  This flavor of joy might feel closer to stable peacefulness or equanimity.

This week in classes we will explore making fresh commitment to include joy in our lives. In my experience, a key component is to have periods of time to slow down during my day. In time, the inclusion of joy can enable a fresh and skillful way of meeting life that is less burdened by history or conditioning.  While I share these thoughts and explorations, know that I am equally on the path with you, making mistakes along the way and feeling the joy of being aligned when it arises.

This week some of the questions we will consider might be:

  • How does joy resonate in your body? How does it arise as sensations? You can bring forward imagery or a memory that evokes the feeling of joy for you now to explore.
  • Where and how do I experience wholesome joy in my life?
  • If you broke down your life into a few broad categories: home, professional work, relationships, etc. – what does it mean to feel light in any one or more of these areas?
  • How can you include the time and space for joy in your day?
  • What is your felt experience of joy when you are deeply at rest, perhaps in those moments where one task has completed and the other has not yet begun? Does this joy depend upon circumstance? Or is it always here? What enables you to orient to this feeling of joy?

 

“Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.” 

Kahlil Gibran

 

Fresh Commitments to Ourselves

As I continue to teach and explore classes in a more thematic way this year, I will share my thoughts here occasionally.  We have spent several weeks exploring the feeling of purpose and longing in life.  We will now begin to dive into the experience of intention.  You can think of intentions as more short term, whereas heartfelt direction, longing or purpose is an overarching theme that spans a lifetime.

Intentions can be affirmed for a single practice, or they can span the duration of a day, a week, a month.  Intentions help us to recognize why we are choosing to practice.  On any given day it might be to return to the feeling of Being with life, rather than constantly planning and doing life.  Intention can also be to return home to our true self, perhaps to remember the clarity of presence, or to take time to meet an emotion or a memory that has been arising.  When recognized and felt at the beginning of a practice, intention becomes an internal compass that reminds us to pay attention to the moment that is unfolding.  This said, sometimes intention is less cognitive, and rests as a feeling sense.  You are here practicing without interpreting why and that is perfectly fine.

Over the course of the next few classes, we will also inspire a fresh commitment to practice itself.  By practice, I am referring to anything that allows you to feel at ease and grounded in yourself.  This might be meditation for some. It can include yoga asana, walks, painting, tai chi, cooking, or whatever this means for you.  A beautiful way to uncover fresh motivation for practice is by taking time to appreciate and embody the gifts you have already received from them.  Then as we venture into our day, and we veer away from ourselves and our practices, the motivation and commitment we have come to know in our bodies will eventually bring us back.  Perhaps after days, weeks or months of falling away from practice, you might feel like something is missing and slowly make your return.

A fresh commitment to practice is also skillfully paired with a commitment to minimizing the things that pull us apart from ourselves.  You can make a commitment to do less of something.  For me, this has meant less time on my phone, eliminating social media for now, and taking in news by choice rather than being inundated by sources that are not serving me.

In the following weeks, we will also explore bringing alive the intention for joy.  The world is full, and life has its ups and downs.  It is important to recognize what brings us moments of lightness, and true and wholesome joy. By wholesome I mean a joy that is not harmful to other sentient beings. Joy can arise both as a result of something, and also as byproduct of simply Being with life exactly as it is.  Taking time for these kind of reflections can help us to make room for Joy, both caused and uncaused.  I am not implying that we should only experience joy.  Instead, making room for lightness in life helps us to feel resilient during moments that are difficult and outside of our control.

While I will be leading classes with a progressive theme, they will be offered in a way that is completely accessible for beginners or the occasional drop in.  The Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes at noon at Yoga Yoga North include time for check-in, breathing exercises, a few minutes of light movement that would be fine to do even in work clothes.  I will lead you through a 25-30 minute guided iRest yoga nidra meditation, often followed by inquiry as appropriate.  I would love to hear from you if you have feedback or comments. Feel free to comment here or to send me a private message through the home page.

Gratefully,

Sheila