Who or what has been opening and touching your heart?
This question is an antidote for my fear response, an intervention to not close my heart, and a way to relieve my feeling of being overwhelmed. In my lifetime, the suffering of humanity has never felt more intense and the political atmosphere has never seemed more divisive. Pondering the openness of my heart certainly does feel like a practice of the opposite. Yoga, the union of the opposites, holds a formula to help us keep our balance in difficult times. First it calls for showing up and acknowledging what is true in this moment in time. I quickly see that life now isn’t what I want, but it’s what I’ve got. Sylvia Boorstein tells us that mature people deal with difficulty by meeting the moment fully, accepting responsibility, staying steady, and cultivating a clear mind.
The central teaching of The Yoga Sutras is that when the mind becomes quiet, all wisdom is self-revealing. The 196 sutras offer a view of our dilemma as human beings and a series of self-investigation practices that relieve suffering and bring us back to balance. The early yogis were interested in suffering and the unwinding of suffering. They valued seeing reality clearly. The sutras offer us three strategies:
Practicing the Opposite
Our discursive mind is so easily distracted, a non-stop and at times bizarre stream of thoughts. Our meditation practice offers us a platform to observe the active and wily mind. When we meditate, we discover our profound allergy to being in the here and now! This is partly why we suffer. The Yoga Sutras call suffering duhkha, a pervasive unsatisfactoriness, a constant wishing for things to be different. It’s important to tune into duhkha and investigate it. We need to understand the source of our suffering. The early yogis used themselves as laboratories and discovered three roots of suffering:
Raga – Craving, Grasping, Wishing out of the moment
Dvesha – Aversion and Hatred
Moha – Delusion and Ignorance
The root of suffering is wanting things to be different than they are. You know you are in this afflicted state when what you are thinking is:
Obscuring clear seeing of reality
Through observing our thoughts and feelings, as we do in meditation, we start to see the patterns and begin to discern which thoughts enhance and which thoughts deplete. Suffering is caused when we turn away from our reality. Suffering is relieved when the mind calms down and a new perceptual range is revealed. When we strengthen our ability to be astute observers of our minds, we are practicing self observation without judgement. It is said that we think 61,000 thoughts in a day and 80% of the thoughts are repetitive. Clearly, there are many thinking patterns to investigate! Once we see a pattern, we are more likely to find the opposite pattern that will bring us back into balance.
When I find my self swimming in circles in the river of the surprising, I reassure myself by acknowledging that everything is always shifting and nothing ever stays the same. When I am surprised by the polarization in our country, I can choose to look around and see examples of human connectedness. When I swim in the river of surprise, I can take off my “point of view” glasses to imagine living in a different body under different circumstances. I temper my surprise and acknowledge my unconscious bias and open a space to be less reactive and more compassionate. Compassion supported by wisdom, helps keep my perceptions wide open.
When I find myself swimming in circles in the river of the challenging, I am offered an opportunity to keep myself company. I can find my inner warrior, working to find the strength to keep my heart open. What is challenging is often connected to sorrow. Clear presence can embrace that part that is sorrowful, remembering that sorrow is the other face of love.
As we approach the sixth month marker of living during a world wide pandemic, the future remains unclear and uncertain. Skillful attitudes of mind are the key to facing this ongoing challenging and scary time. With a steady awareness of the way things are and the perseverance to stay with that awareness, we can maximize our sense of well-being. It is up to each of us to choose whether we take the journey. As Don Juan encouraged Carlos Castaneda, “We either make ourselves miserable, or make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.
Thank you for practicing yoga with me.
ANAHATA YOGA with Chris Morton
13 Week Fall Session
September 14 – December 19, 2020
Gift Certificates are available for classes, programs and private sessions.
Email Chris for details!
There are two ways for me to receive payments for the Fall yoga session or for drop in classes. There are two ways for me to receive payments for the Fall Yoga Session or for drop-in classes. My preferred way is for you to send me a check made out to Chris Morton to my home address, 8 Beck Street, Newburyport, MA 01950. You can also CLICK HERE to make a payment to my Paypal account.
If you are experiencing financial difficulty, please let me know and I will waive your payment.
I sign into all Zoom classes a half hour early to talk with students. Please feel free to get on early to say hi, to ask a question about a pose and/or if want to find a modification to accommodate a physical limitation.
The expanded size of my studio on Zoom allows for larger classes. Thank you for spreading the word about Anahata Yoga on Zoom. Interested people can give me call or send an email.
Private sessions are available on ZOOM and may include: • Yoga
• Restorative Yoga Poses
• Processing grief and emotional challenges
• Preparing or recovering from surgery
• The Yoga of Eating
Cost: $50 Please email or call if you have questions and/or would like to schedule a session.
Body Rolling On Zoom Let me know if you are interested in joining me for three sessions of body rolling self massage on Zoom. Once the group forms, we will work together to find a time that works. The video will help you get started and we will add more moves when we meet together. Three one hour sessions for $30.00. The kit can be ordered on AMAZON.
Yamuna Body Rolling Gold Ball Kit About this item
• Body rolling self-massage device from yoga and health expert Yamuna Zake
• Includes gold ball, a pump for inflating and deflating the balls, and Total Body Rolling DVD
• Covers hamstrings, each side of spine up into neck and skull, abdominal area, chest, and shoulders from front
• Recommended for beginners, those with injuries, and seniors
• Ideal for massage and fitness programs, helping to lengthen and release muscles for improved flexibility and bodily health
Tuesday Meditation & Book Group Tuesdays 8:00–9:00am
September 15 – December 15
(no class November 24th)
Virtual sessions on ZOOM
$130 for 13 sessions
This book helps us all understand better the conditioning that keeps us feeling separate and apart. It offers us a way of looking at the injustices with mindfulness and compassion and helps us discover ways to work through the pain to generate new solutions.