Yoga, Pranayama & Meditation Workshop.
Yesterday, on the eve of the Celtic New Year – Samhain – 30th October, We held a Yoga Meditation Workshop at The Yoga Meditation Studio we Teach at in The West End of Glasgow. It was a wonderful morning, clear blue sky, cool autumn air, and as the warm morning sun shone through the studio windows, we could already sense that the Yoga Meditation Workshop was going to be very special. And it Was. The Workshop was attended by twenty students of varying levels of experience, but the one thing they all had in common was they had made the effort to get out of bed early on a sunny Saturday morning, to Exercise their Right to have a Good Day.
The name Samhain is derived from old Irish, which roughly means “Summers End“
The Yoga, Breathwork and Meditation Workshop included some of the following:
- Indepth practice of Classical Hatha Sun Salutation – Surya Namaskarasana:
The first section of the Yoga Meditation Workshop opened in easy seated posture, with a very meditative start, which lasted approximately 5 minutes. This aided to relax the body and mind in preparation for the Yoga routine. The second section focused on The Sun Salutation, and as the warm morning sunshine shone through the windows, it truly was a Salutation to the Sun. We began by gently openning our bodies, and focusing on the slow flowing movements between each posture, learning the fuller meaning of each posture, building deep, mindful awareness of the Flowing Yoga Movements, until then gradually switching to slowly building the pace and dynamic of the routine. Once the whole students in the class where synchronised in movement, verbal instruction was steadily decreased, until the routine moved into a silent class, where each student continued to practice at their own pace and level in complete silence for a further 25 mins. In total the Sun Salutation Yoga routine lasted approximately 50 minutes, and by the end of the 50 minute routine, the class had twenty sweaty, smiling yoga students standing in it. One huge benefit of taking a class through a format like this, is that once the student enters the silent sequence, they will go through a process of letting go of worrying about being able to follow the class, and end up completely within their own practice, ultimately emptying the mind, as the physically demanding, and hypnotic repetitious nature of the Sun Salutation routine induces a state of Deep Calm. It also is a fantastic and very easy method of detoxifying the body within a short period of time, as the toxins within the body are drawn out through the skin within the body sweat built up within the dynamic routine.
- Yoga Asana – Poses:
For the Remaining 35 minutes of the Yoga class we focused on a section of seated Yoga Postures. Each student could easily see how the previous Sun Salutation routine had really openned their bodies, making it much easier for them to go deeper into each seated posture. It never stops surprising me how successful the Sun Salutation is at doing this.
- Guided Relaxation:
After such an invigorating and physical workout it was then time to take the students into a deep guided relaxation. This is such an important part of the yoga system, easily neglected within a standard Yoga class. However, with the benefit of the extra time we gain within a Yoga Workshop, it was lovely to set aside 15 Minutes to take the students into a deep state of relaxation. Using various styles of Relaxation Music within the classes I take is a prominent feature, as the Meditative benefits gained are many. You can really feel the levels of Stress decreasing throughout the class as the students are guided through relaxing every muscle within their bodies. Music is a wonderful tool for any Yoga Teacher to take advantage of within a class, and a Guided Relaxation sequence is a very simple way of bringing an effective form of Stress management to many students.
- Moving Meditation:
After a short break we began the Moving Meditation section of the Workshop. This section was closely tied to the Fusion Yoga Meditation Technique I Teach. It uses very simple, slow movements, all done in an Easy Seated pose, and the aim is to keep the Body as still as is physically possible, moving only any given part of the body that you are instructed to move, in a given amount. The movements are done in a way which would be akin to what people would know as the technique known as Tai Chi – In a very slow, mindful way. It sounds easy, but as anyone who has tried the technique, it is to the contrary quite demanding, but the benefits to the Mind are huge. The routine lasted 30 minutes, taking the students to an even deeper level of stillness. Again, the use of Music throughout the sequence is used to deepen the foucus of the mind, and the trully Deep, Calm and Peaceful relaxation achieved from this focus.
- Pranayama – Breathwork:
This Section of the Workshop built upon the many benefits gained from the effort the students had already put into all of the above practices. Again, it was a joy to be able to set aside 15 minutes for this section. I chose to use a style of breathwork that I use in many of the Shamanic Sessions I use with Clients, and sometimes use within the Fusion Yoga Meditation Classes. It is a very simple and Ancient breath technique sometimes known as the “Little Death Breath” and uses various simple techniques similar to those within Pranayama. But it is a technique that anyone can pick up very quickly, especially for those without any previous knowledge or practice of Pranayama, or other such like Breath control techniques. With such a diversity of abilities that the students within the workshop had, this technique is always a wonderfully simple method in providing the benefits that more complex breathwork techniques bring. This penultimate section of the Workshop brought the students to a level of relaxation which would prepare them for the final section of the Workshop. The Guided Visualisation.
Note: The word “Death” conjures up a reponse from many of us at it’s least sensational, in the form of Avoidance, or at the most Extreme reaction, that of Revulsion. Yet it is one change in our circumstances that we have absolutely no control over. However, we do have control of the Breath within the “Little Death Breath“ and it’s the Space within our inhalation and exhalation that we find our true selves. Peaceful nothingness.
- Guided Visualisation:
The last section of the Yoga Meditation Workshop was the Guided Visualisation. With the use of emotive music, and verbal prompts, the students where taken through a gentle, guided visualisation, directing them to travel throughout the different parts of their bodies, which by now where already deeply relaxed, and completely destressed. They where subtley guided to observe that deep state of relaxation, that they, and they only had brought to themselves. It is sometimes very easy for any teacher of yoga, or meditation, or any individual who works within the healing realm to mistakingly believe that they have brought about that sense of peace, or deep relaxation within any given student or client. But in truth, it is only the individual who can do that. So towards the final point of the Workshop we all floated: “That we are all Born Perfect, We Just forget That”
All in all, it was a joy to share such a wonderful experience and Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation Workshop with so Many.
For Further details on all up and coming Yoga Workshops throughout Glasgow and Scotland – See List of Yoga Workshops Here: