All posts filed under: Mindfulness

Autumn and Cultivating Equanimity

As Mother Nature changes with the seasons, human beings also experience transition. Everything from the activities we participate in, the foods we eat, and the time we go to bed, to our external/internal reflections change. With Fall right around the corner, we thought it was a good time to share Sara Avant Stover’s podcast “Reflection for the Autumn Equinox” to understand how Autumn asks us to change. Celebrate Autumn with Sara and Drala Mountain Center by Filling Your Well

Bringing Together East and West, Meditation and Movement

By Michael Sandrock Leave it to German novelist Herman Hesse to give some great insight into the life of men and women. Hesse, the Nobel Prize winner who influenced many in the 1960s in the era of consciousness-raising, wrote in his 1922 novel “Siddhartha:” Most people are like a falling leaf that drifts and turns in the air, flutters, and falls to the ground. But a few others are like stars which travel one defined path; no wind reaches them, they have within themselves their guide and path. How to find your guide and path? For many of us in the West, it is through athletics and a focus on the body, specifically long-distance running in recent years. In the East, the path included a meditation practice as exemplified by the journey of Siddartha, the future Buddha. Over the Labor Day weekend, the Drala Mountain Center will once again host a retreat that brings together East and West, meditation and movement, in its “Meditation and Yoga for Runners & Hikers,” one of many DMC programs …

Exhaling Deeply

By Kelly Lindsey It’s a beautiful sunny day in late July and I have just arrived at Drala Mountain Center for Family Camp, an annual retreat for families that I have been attending with my children for the past 20 years. Drala Mountain Center has been my spiritual home since I first set foot on this sacred land more than two decades ago. Each time I return and I glimpse the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya in the distance, my body softens. My heart opens. My breath deepens. I notice that as I exhale, a gentle sigh escapes my lips. It feels like I have been holding my breath for awhile. Living though a pandemic and bearing witness to the increasing amount of confusion and conflict in the world has at times felt like too much to bear. This is a place where I find refuge. I take a walk and begin to reacquaint myself with this place again. As I wander, I recall sacred moments of connection that I have felt throughout my many summers …

Three line expression by Barbara Bash

Creativity to Awaken Your Mind

Three line expression by Barbara Bash By Victress Hitchcock The weekend of October 8 & 9, 2022 Barbara Bash and I are leading a Drala Mountain Center online retreat:  AWAKE MIND: Write – Draw – Contemplate.  As the writing guide for the retreat, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to bring to this journey into the world of natural creativity. I love words. I love playing with words and constructing worlds out of words.  Let me share a couple of quotes that I feel perfectly describe what we will be doing in our two days together:  One by Flannery O’Connor: “I write to discover what I know.” And another by Mary Oliver: “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”  As we dive deep into free writes and prompted writes and haiku we will be paying attention, exploring, discovering and telling all about it.  One of the ideas I am playing with is free form writing where we put words together in different ways to create a simple poetic expression. You can use …

The Gift of Attention

By Melissa Lago When we feel calm, we have more options about where to place our attention. One of the many gifts of yoga and mindful movement is that it can help us to calm our sympathetic nervous system designed for fight, flight or freeze, which causes stress, and activate our parasympathetic nervous system responsible for rest, which promotes an experience of relaxation, inner peace, and well-being. Since we are wired for survival, it’s natural that when we are overwhelmed or stressed, our negativity bias turns on, which is designed to keep us safe. In these moments we often notice what is out of balance in our bodies or challenging in our lives rather than what feels supportive or is working.  Many of us have had the experience of noticing when our back is sore, and then barely noticing it once it’s healed. This can be true in our relationships too. We might find ourselves focusing on the one thing that we find annoying that our partner, friend or family member is doing rather than …

Flowing with the Seasons

By Heather Lindemann The realities of living in our modern culture can often impose a quick pace that is focused on “doing.” From getting to the next meeting to answering e-mails or texts, to checking off items on the never-ending to-do list, it’s easy to get consumed by the forward-moving cadence of a “productive” life.  The natural flow of the seasons offers us another way to move through our day While the to-do list might remain, we can also align our movement, intention, and practices with the energy of the seasons as a way to slow down and harmonize with the innate rhythms of Mother Nature. By connecting with the subtle energies of the Earth, we create a flow in our daily lives that boosts our innate superpowers and fosters ease and a sense of calm within our busy and over-scheduled lives. Alignment to the seasonal flow isn’t a new concept. Ancient cultures prayed, celebrated, worshiped, and built monuments to synch with the summer and winter solstices as well as the fall and spring equinoxes. …

Connecting to Blessings

By Judith Simmer-Brown During the academic year 1988-89, my family and I lived in Bodhnath in the Kathmandu Valley, just outside of Kathmandu. Our home was adjacent to the powerful Bodhnath Stupa, one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites of the Himalayans. We joined the vibrant Tibetan refugee community that practiced there every day, circumambulating early in the morning and in late afternoon, reciting prayers and mantras or just socializing with friends. Sometimes we sat quietly inside one of the tiny lamp-lit shrines. Our Tibetan friends embraced our baby son and us, sweeping us along with them as they walked and introducing us to everyday devotional practices of the Valley. Invisible Waves of Blessings These months of practice deeply influenced my understanding of what is called adhishthana, the Sanskrit word for blessings (Tibetan, jinlap). The word comes from the Indian sutras that speak about the powerful atmosphere generated by the enlightened mind of the Buddha, creating a kind of force-field that made it possible for practitioners to ripen spontaneously as they absorb non-conceptually the transmissions …

Why Meditation and Yoga for Runners & Hikers?

“I drove myself with an unconscious motivation of fear. Afraid that I am not special unless I prove I am special.” ~Marty Kibiloski In our upcoming Labor Day Weekend program, Meditation and Yoga for Runners & Hikers (formerly Running with the Mind of Meditation), you’ll learn how to enjoy the journey — not just the finish line. “The people that, I think, are drawn to running are used to hard work and pushing themselves and tend to be goal-setters,” says Marty. “We start to compare ourselves to other people.” This is where mindfulness, which employs the same principles used in yoga and meditation, comes in. Mindfulness is the basic ability to be fully present. It’s a mental state achieved by calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations without judgment.​ There are sound evolutionary reasons why running and walking have surged in popularity in the new millennium to become the exercise of choice for reducing stress, bringing us greater perspective, and connecting us directly to the wisdom of the body. The practices of …

Allowing the World to Come to You

Exploring the rich world of natural creativity we all share is the focus of our upcoming online retreat – AWAKE MIND: Write • Draw • Contemplate on October 8 – 9, 2022. Experience a little taste of this playful virtual adventure with this simple practice, Sky Earth Heart : A Threefold Path, offered by Barbara Bash, co-presenter of the retreat. Join Barbara and Victress for this virtual retreat in October! About the Presenters Barbara Bash Artist/calligrapher Barbara Bash has taught Brush Spirit and Contemplative Drawing workshops over the years. She was a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche during the early years of the Vajradhatu sangha in Boulder with Victress Hitchcock. Barbara was a teacher of calligraphy and contemplative art practices at Naropa University. Barbara is an artist and writer/illustrator of books including her most recent True Nature: An Illustrated Journal of Four Seasons in Solitude Useful Links View Barbara’s website Upcoming Workshops Victress Hitchcock Filmmaker/writer Victress Hitchcock was a founding member of Centre Productions, the film company Rinpoche started in 1975. Victress has been a …

Yoga Heart Opening Work

Most people are aware that yoga improves heart health by increasing circulation and blood flow. Research shows that practicing yoga can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels, as well as the heart rate. All these benefits can add up to a lower risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart disease. In this practice video, De West shares another benefit of Yoga for your heart. The heart open practice is noticing what is happening and then being very kind to it. You’ll use your body to help you be more in touch with what you feel. About the Author De West, Certified Yoga Therapist and a Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher is a leader in the Boulder, Colorado yoga community with over 29 years of teaching therapeutic yoga. She has developed a movement practice that allows people of all ages and abilities to experience a positive, relaxed, and transforming experience in both body and mind. Observation, listening, and respect of one’s unique anatomy contribute to her passion for helping students create more peace and freedom. De …