Calming Restorative Yoga
This week we continue with the five hindrances. The five hindrances are common mental states that arise in our practice and lives that can impede our practice. They have been observed and taught as part of Buddhist studies.
In teaching about the five hindrances, Sharon Salzberg quotes the Buddha, he says, “Our minds are naturally radiant and pure, our minds are shining. It is because of visiting forces that we suffer.”
The five hindrances (grasping, aversion, sleepiness, restlessness and doubt), are guests in our home. They are just visitors. Sharon Salzberg says that they may visit a lot or even continuously, but they are still visitors.
Naturally, as human beings, we become identified with these visitors and we take them personally. We think we are right or wrong, good or bad depending on who is showing up at our house on any given day. When we see ourselves as bad and horrible, these states pull us in and distort our perception and make us stuck. However, they are not personal, they are normal things that happen to us as human beings.
This week we are focusing on the third aversion, sleepiness or dullness or sluggishness. Our lives are so busy. Often times the moment we slow down for our yoga and meditation practices we realize just how tired we are and how much fatigue we are carrying.
When we slow down and come to our yoga mats we are saying no to the disease of busy-ness and the result can often be that neutral experiences can seem dull and boring and even put us to sleep. If we are not mindful we can be off looking for the next experience to entertain and occupy us. Our North American culture is obsessed with doing and definitely does not celebrate being.
One of the most common complaints I hear about my yoga classes is that they are too slow and boring. I often feel this complaint comes within a cultural context of depending on the intensity of doing to feel alive. When our experience is neutral we are trained to look for something, anything to do, or to numb out and go to sleep.
In our yoga practice we are training in mindfulness, that is we are training our attention. When we begin to numb out because our experience has become boring for us, we are experiencing the aversion of dullness or sleepiness. This can be our meditation bell to remind us to come back to our training in attention. We can bring our awareness and interest to our breath and our sensations in our body. Even if our practice is calming, we can train ourselves to pay attention to what is happening. We can challenge ourselves to not numb out when the experience is “dull.” This is the practice.
Props Needed: Wall, yoga blocks, yoga bolster, blanket, meditation cushion or chair
Yoga Postures/Asanas: Legs up the Wall or Viparita Karini, Supported Bridge Pose or Salamba Setu Bandhasana, Front Lying Twist with bolster, Sleeping Pigeon or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, Standing Forward Fold with Back Against Wall, Reclined Bound Angle or Supta Baddha Konasana, Reclined Twist or Jathara parivartanasana, Savasana or Corpse Pose
The Disease of Being Busy by Krista Tippett: click here
Metta Hour Podcast with Sharon Salzberg The Five Hindrances: click here
Jack Kornfield: Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
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Thank you for your donations Alison, Rickianne, Peggy and Viola
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Today’s question to answer in the comments is: How do you let go of the tyranny of busy-ness?
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