Resources for Asanas (postures) and meditation are provided here to encourage and support safe home practice for those for whom these practices are suitable. These resources are provided for free.
Resources for Asana PracticesYou may like to try this chair variation of Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations), which is one of many variations available. This sequence is beneficial as a stand-alone practice, as a warm up for a longer yoga session, or as a wind down at the end of your practice. A pdf file with instructions and photos and an audio file for this practice are provided below. Chair Sun Salutations Instructions and Pictures
Chair Sun Salutations
Resources for MeditationYou may like to try some of these meditation practices: the deep relaxation practice of Yoga Nidra, the Loving Kindness Meditation, the Joy of Meditation as Nourishment practice from Thich Nhat Hanh, the inner silence practice of Antar Mouna, the body steadiness practice of Kaya Sthairyam, or a walking meditation practice.
Yoga Nidra Deep Relaxation Practice (4 stages)
Stage One: initial settling relaxation | Stage Two: body rotation | Stage Three: breath awareness | Stage Four: externalization
Yoga Nidra Deep Relaxation Practice (8 stages)
Stage One: initial settling relaxation | Stage Two: sankalpa (a positive resolve) | Stage Three: body rotation | Stage Four: breath awareness | Stage Five: experience of opposite sensations | Stage Six: visualizations | Stage Seven: sankalpa | Stage Eight: externalization
Loving Kindness Meditation - Towards Someone You are Having Difficulties With
Stage One: focusing thoughts and feelings on a respected, beloved person | Stage Two: focusing on yourself | Stage Three: focusing on a dearly beloved person | Stage Four: focusing on a neutral person | Stage Five: focusing on someone you are having difficulties with
Joy of Meditation as Nourishment
Stage One: preparation | Stage Two: breathing in, knowing I am breathing in; breathing out, knowing I am breathing out | Stage Three: breathing in, seeing myself as a flower; breathing out, feeling fresh | Stage Four: breathing in, seeing myself as a mountain; breathing out, feeling solid | Stage Five: breathing in, seeing myself as still water; breathing out, reflecting all that is | Stage Six: breathing in, seeing myself as space; breathing out, feeling free
Antar Mouna Meditation Practice (3 stages)
Stage One: preparation and development of pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)| Stage Two: awareness of the spontaneous thought process | Stage Three: creating a thought, witnessing it and disposing of it at will
Kaya Sthairyam Meditation Practice (12 stages)
Stage One: preparation | Stage Two: body posture | Stage Three: visualization of the body | Stage Four: body tree | Stage Five: sensations in the body | Stage Six: body parts | Stage Seven: immobility of the body | Stage Eight: steadiness and stillness | Stage Nine: psychic rigidity | Stage Ten: breath awareness | Stage Eleven: state of concentration | Stage Twelve: ending the practice
There are many ways to do walking meditation. Here is one way:
- Choose a comfortable position for the hands; here are some suggested positions:the hands can be relaxed by the sides of the body; the hands can be in front of the body at the waist in a position called sasshu (the left hand forms a loose fist with the thumb curled inside, while the right hand lightly covers it; the clasped hands are held about waist high at the front); the hands are positioned behind the back (one hand can hold the opposite wrist)
- Stand quietly with the feet about shoulder width apart.
- Take a few moments to be aware of your body.
- Slowly shift all your weight to your right foot; then shift the weight back to the centre; then shift the weight on your left foot; then shift the weight back to the centre; then focus your weight evenly resting on both feet.
- Keep the eyes open and gaze at the ground a few feet in front of you.
- Taking shorter strides than you normally would, start by taking a step with the right foot with awareness of lifting the heel, then moving the foot forward, and then placing the foot on the ground, paying careful attention to each stage of the step. Then step with the left foot.
- Silently note: 'lifting' – 'moving' – 'placing' as you take each step.
- If the mind wanders, take a few breaths, feeling your breath and then continue ‘lifting – moving – placing’.
- If you come to the end of a path simply note ‘turning’, as you turn around.
- 10 minutes of walking meditation may be adequate to start with; this can subsequently be increased to 15 minutes or longer.
- Be gentle with yourself without any judgements or expectations.
- After the practice notice the effects on your body, mind and emotions.
Walking meditation can be done alone or with a group. If practising with a group, the participants follow a leader in a straight path or circle. The leader would repeat the words ‘lifting – moving – placing’ out loud for the group for some time and then invite the group to silently repeat the words with the actions. After some minutes pass, the leader may repeat the words aloud again for some minutes to help the group focus and then invite the group back to a silent practice. At the end of the practice the leader invites the group to come to a still point and take a few quiet moments to absorb the effects from the practice.