On & Off The Mat – A Yoga Blog

by Christy DeBurton

 

Seven retreatants came together for a Day of Mindfulness at The Yoga Room this past weekend. They came for a variety of reasons: Two couples attended–one of which have a 7-month old baby, so they were looking forward to some peace, quiet and relaxation; a middle school principal wanted to deepen her own mindfulness practice so that she could bring mindfulness into her school; one woman is a caregiver for a friend in the last stages of cancer so she needed the retreat to re-center and ground herself; others were looking to deepen their meditation practices in a supportive setting.

 

After some brief introductions we began observing Noble Silence as a way to deepen and intensify our mindfulness experience. We did a Yin yoga practice to prepare our bodies for the 20 minute sitting meditation that followed. After a short break we enjoyed a simple vegan lunch of lentil soup and bread, where we continued our Noble Silence practice for 20 minutes to be mindful of what we were eating, where it came from, and all the effort and love that went into it, and then chatted for 10 minutes while we enjoyed our cupcake dessert. We then shifted back into silence for a mindful walking meditation to a small, old cemetery down the road where a Civil War soldier is buried, spending a few minutes in contemplation there. Upon our return we did a longer, 30 minute seated meditation, and then closed with a group discussion where we each shared our experience of the day.

 

Some of the most important things we tried to keep in mind during our Day of Mindfulness: connecting to our inner stillness, shifting into the witness/observer role, practicing present moment awareness, and practicing non-judgment toward ourselves when our mind wandered off. 

 

Everyone agreed that having a full 4 1/2 hours to commit to our mindfulness/meditation practice was very beneficial. (In fact, I shared some information on a recent study on meditation that showed that although a short, daily practice is good, the most beneficial effects to our brain occur during more intensive meditation retreats. So…needless to say, we are all looking forward to more Days of Mindfulness here at The Yoga Room. Stay tuned and join us for the next one!

 

Here is what a one retreatant shared about her experience:

 

“It was a wonderful day. I enjoyed the Yin Yoga to start the session. It got me back in touch with my body and also relaxed and loosened my muscles so that I could sit still for the first sitting meditation of the day. The sitting meditation was easier than I had expected and the time seemed to go quickly which surprised me. The Mindfulness Walking Meditation was enjoyable and helpful. It is something that I can see myself practicing even as I walk my dog. Probably the most enlightening and surprising experience of the day was the Mindful Eating we practiced at lunch. What an eye opener!! There was quite a bit of discussion about that. BTW–the lunch was wonderful!! I also appreciated the Noble Silence. It was something that I had been looking forward to. I hope that you will  be repeating this workshop in the future. I will definitely be there. Just a little story about the day after the workshop. That next day I found myself in a very frustrating situation. It started to get the best of me. Then I said to myself, “Look you were at a meditation workshop yesterday–for heavens sake use what you learned”. So I found a Deepak Chopra  meditation on YouTube, sat down, closed my eyes and settled into it. It had a tremendous affect on me and allowed me to be open in a different way to the experience. I had a dramatic shift that day and was very surprised by all the positive moments that ensued just because I took the time to be still and meditate.”

 

You can click on the pictures for a slightly larger view.

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