Meditation Challenge: Day 3 Soften

Namaste and welcome to day 3!

I hope that you are enjoying the relaxation. Sometimes we just start by noticing how tense we are. That’s a good beginning. Pay attention to the sensations and try to soften the area that feels tense. If there is a lot of tension, consider practicing a few movements and yoga postures before your meditation to relax more easily.
In case you’d like to release tension from your shoulders before meditating, you may try:

Sometimes, as you relax, if you are lying down you may fall asleep. That is OK. If it happens every time, consider if you may need to sleep more at night.

Guided meditation below, when the recording comes to an end, take as long as you wish to enjoy the silence and to savor the effects of the practice.

Softening,

rubén

Meditation Challenge : Day 2 Distractions

Namaste and welcome to day 2

Does it happen to you that when even when you are relaxed and without interruptions you find a lot of internal activity? Perhaps as you are relaxing you remember something that happened at work or your mind starts planning your day or week. Welcome to being human. If your mind is getting distracted, you are noticing how you, like many of us, have been training your mind to stay busy all the time. Meditation is a way to give yourself a break. It will take some time to train your mind to stay focused on one simple object or idea. At this stage, you are just trying to get good at relaxing. When you get distracted, no matter what the distraction is, just release the distraction. Simple. Next, return to your relaxation without any strain, without struggle, without self-judgment and, very important with a gentle smile on your face. It doesn’t matter how many times you get distracted. What matters is to return to your focus, relaxation, every time.

If you want to release tension in your hips and lower back before your practice you can try

Guided meditation below, when the recording comes to an end, take as long as you wish to enjoy the silence and to savor the effects of the practice.

Peace,

rubén

Meditation Challenge: Day 1 What is Meditation?

Namaste and welcome to this meditation challenge.
I am honored you decided to join me on this journey.

What is meditation?

Meditation is being with what is. We can put that definition into practice by:
Meeting ourselves where we are, right here and now
and by,
Meeting ourselves just as we are
In other words, there is no need to add commentary to whatever you are experiencing.

Keep it Simple

Find a good spot where you can make yourself really comfortable. It is best if you minimize distractions and interruptions.
Pick a time where you can give yourself your undivided attention for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 1 Relax

Getting good at relaxing is essential to meditation. Otherwise, all you will notice is how tense you are.
Make things easier for yourself by letting go of your expectations. Expectations are old thoughts in your mind about what should happen. Instead awake to the freshness and uniqueness of this day.

If you would like to start with a little bit of movement to relax more easily , you may want to try:

Guided meditation below, when the recording comes to an end, take as long as you wish to enjoy the silence and to savor the effects of the practice.

Enjoy!

rubén

Yoga Manifesto: How make yoga practice enjoyable, safe and effective

Pathway

 

 

Embarking on any journey of conscious learning requires clarifying what is it that we are doing, why and how. As a yoga practitioner I am keenly aware of how important it is to be clear on my answers to these questions so that I have good reasons for doing what I am doing and also to make sure that I am doing what I think I am doing.

This is even more important to me as a teacher because I want to ensure that I have logical reasons for teaching what I teach. This is one of my major motivation to keep studying, that is, exploring, learning and, most importantly, putting into practice techniques that enhance the quality of my participation in my life. I continually reflect on these ideas to guide my practice, my teaching and my life. This manifesto is one way to communicate this as clearly and concisely as possible.

What is Yoga?

YOGA : You Organically Growing in Awareness

Yoga is Presence. Presence is attending to every unique here and now moment of your life. Being present is a choice that only you can make. As we attempt to be present we start noticing restrictions and inefficiencies that hinder our ability to participate consciously, deliberately and wholeheartedly in our lives.

Yoga is one path to grow in our awareness organically. Organically means that we explore our options for thoughts, feelings, movements, breathing and interaction in a gradual and sustainable manner. As we find limitations, obstacles and restrictions we make adjustments to move beyond our current levels of understanding. Slowly our growing awareness results in more harmonious relationships between our body, mind, emotions and breath. We can see our practice as a combination of Self-Awareness, Self-Care and Self-Regulation. As a result, we enhance the quality of our participation in our life and live a vibrant, meaningful and wholehearted existence.

How to practice yoga

SIMPLE: Self-Inquiry Modulate Propensities for Life Enrichment

In all endeavors it is tempting to keep making things more and more complex. We keep our yoga practice simple. Yoga is one way to know ourselves thoroughly. We start by engaging in self-inquiry. We pay attention to our inner world and to our participation in our life. We notice our tendencies, some helpful, some unhelpful, some conscious, some unconscious. We learn to modulate our propensities so that all our actions contribute to enrich our life.

8 Limbs of yoga

What is the intention for practicing each limb of yoga?

Yoga is a complete system to ensure that we show up to our life every day, at every moment. We show up with our mind and heart open. As we notice our tendencies to close our mind and heart, we regulate these tendencies in thought, action, movement, breath and interaction to bring integrity, harmony and grace into all that we do.

  • We cultivate our capacity for kindness and compassion until, eventually, we learn to love life unconditionally. (yamas) This does not mean that we are passive or indifferent.
  • We cultivate our gratitude and inspiration until we live in contentment. (niyamas) This does not mean that we become complacent.
  • We enhance our natural capacity for moving consciously and deliberately without struggle, strain or self-judgment. (asana)
  • We become exquisitely familiar with our breathing processes. (pranayama)
  • We direct our senses masterfully. (pratyahara)
  • We concentrate steadily. (dharana)
  • We learn to remain effortlessly focused. (dhyana)
  • We integrate all of our systems by releasing all that we think we are or should be. (samadhi)
  • How do we practice yoga?

    We can choose to remember that:

    • We are whole and complete. We are enough.
    • We explore everything with playful curiosity to learn about all aspects of ourselves
    • We release strain, struggle and self-judgment.
    • When we move, we move consciously and deliberately.
    • Clarify the foundation of our life, in mind, emotions , body and respiration.
    • When we move, we engage gentle firmness around our joints specially when moving beyond our usual level of mobility.
    • We avoid pinching, forcing or squashing, especially at our joints.
    • We do the best we can without tension or agitation. We are clear on the difference between best and most.
    • We distribute our actions throughout our whole body.
    • How to keep our yoga practice safe

      What are some potential risks practitioners should be aware of?

      Any activity, even walking, when done carelessly may increase the risk of injury.

      Risk of injuries increase when you:

      • Struggle
      • Force
      • Overstretch
      • Hold your breath
      • Squash your joints
      • Pinch at joints
      • Move with momentum instead of control
      • Move mostly from a single joint

      How can yoga practitioners avoid injuries?

      • We know what we are doing and why
      • We pay close attention to our sensations
      • We learn to distinguish tolerable discomfort from pain
      • We breathe comfortably
      • We move with control
      • We clarify how much is enough
      • We choose our level of muscular engagement intelligently
      • We remain relaxed throughout the practice in body, breath, mind and emotion
      • We smile and enjoy our practice

      How can practitioners know if their practice is working?

      • During the practice we feel our whole body active
      • We notice our body warming up evenly without agitation
      • After practice we feel refreshed, relaxed AND energized
      • We feel more kindness, gratitude, compassion and love

      I hope that these ideas contribute to enhance your approach to your personal yoga practice.

      Peace,
      rubén

      Simple guided meditation with Rubén

       

       

Keep Meditation Simple: 10 minute video

 

 

Namaste,

Enjoy this 10 minute meditation observing the flow of a gentle breeze on a water lily pond.

Check out the video:

Other free videos:

May your day be filled with clarity,

Peace,
rubén

Simple guided meditation with Rubén

 

 

Meditation: Simple and Practical Suggestions

 

 

Namaste,

Growing research in meditation indicates that meditation can offer multiple benefits including, harmony in brainwave patterns, muscle relaxation, lowered blood pressure, reduced heart rate, as well as increased blood flow to the brain. Having received many benefits from meditation myself, I want to make sure that others can also receive these benefits. That’s why I want to share a video and transcript of the first track in the Simple Meditations CD

Check out the video:

If you prefer the transcript:

Meditation is perhaps one of the best gifts that you can offer yourself. We often think that meditation is to bring the mind to have no thoughts whatsoever. This creates high expectations that are hard to live up to. Instead I would like to invite you to think of meditation as being with what is in other words meditation is to learn to be and to accept this moment just as it is/ Meditation deepens the intimate connection between you and your true nature. Please keep in mind that the most difficult part in meditation is to actually take the time to do it. So, give yourself the time to practice meditation by trusting that the world will be able to survive without you while you meditate.
When you are meditating relax and know that most likely distractions will happen, so when you get distracted it is very important not to struggle and not to judge yourself, just come back to the technique. It doesn’t matter how many times you get distracted, just keep coming back with no strain , no struggle and no self-judgment. This is very helpful in meditation. It is also very helpful in life.

You may use these videos to practice:

May your meditation practice be enjoyable and beneficial,

Peace,
rubén

Simple guided meditation with Rubén

 

 

Yoga guiding your life experiment

 

All of us are currently conducting an experiment with our lives. As Samuel Butler said “Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.” As we mentioned before, most of us are not very good at predicting the future, because uncertainty is at the core of life and living. Some people are more or less successful at dealing with the uncertainty of not really knowing how the experiment will turn out, while others become good at pretending that they have it all figured out and yet other people find ways to flow in harmony with the eternal unpredictability of life. Whatever the case, your life is YOUR own experiment, and you get to decide how you want to go about it. Over two decades ago I decided to use yoga as the framework for my life experiment. I am grateful that I found yoga, because yoga has been a helpful system to help me show up to my life every day. I would like to share with you what has been most helpful to me:

  • Yoga is presence. Yoga is being in this moment, trying to pay close attention to what is happening and to what I am doing.
  • As I try to pay attention I notice that I get distracted constantly. With gentle persistence I keep returning to this moment after each distraction. Returning to this moment works best when I return without strain, without struggle, and most importantly, without self-judgment.
  • Smiling softens everything and it reminds me that, like everybody else, I am running my own experiment and that, like nobody else, I have not figured it all out.

Showing up and doing my best, is really what yoga practice (and life) are all about.

You may ask, how do I know if my experiment is working? The yoga experiment is working when there is less physical, mental and emotional pain in your life and when you feel more at ease, more cheerful and enthusiastic to participate in your life.

And you, how is your life experiment going?

Peace,
rubén

Affordable Yoga Retreat Costa Rica

Simple guided meditation with Rubén

 

 

Benefits of Yoga Retreats

 

 

The main reason I go to my yoga mat every morning is because there I find a safe space for exploring the interconnections between my body, my breath, my emotions and my mind. My practice is a process of integrating all these different aspects of myself into the present moment. For me, the practice creates a sense of balance, meaning and purpose. My practice sets up the tone for my day,for my actions and for my interactions with others. In other words, my yoga practice prepares me for participating harmoniously in my life.

Our Yoga practice offers us a refuge where we can center and connect to the best possible version of ourselves. That’s why one of my favorite activities is to go on Yoga Retreat because away from the usual distractions I can create a space to invest time cultivating a more intimate relationship to my own being.

The retreat provides a place where we can:

  • forget about our usual tasks, chores and responsibilities
  • have time to rest and relax
  • reconnect with what is truly important to us
  • verify that we are moving along the best path to contribute our uniqueness to the world with grace, kindness and friendliness

Of course, since we are social beings, our journey is made sweeter by sharing with other people who are also exploring ways to be in greater harmony with themselves and with the world.

I would like to invite you to join me for the Joyful Being retreat in Costa Rica from June 3rd to June 10th, 2017. Everything is ready for you: a beautiful location in the natural environment of the Costa Rican mountains, comfortable accommodations, delicious food and plenty of time to rest, relax and recharge. Join me on this unforgettable journey!
For more information on this wonderful yoga retreat in Costa Rica please visit the website below:
yoga-here-now.com/retreats.html#next

Peace,
rubén

Affordable Yoga Retreat Costa Rica

Simple guided meditation with Rubén

 

 

11 Simple Steps to Learn Meditation

Bell Reflections

 

 

Meditation is gaining popularity. As a result, there are many options for those who want to try meditation. As suggested previously we are starting by defining meditation as being with what is, which can be understood as meeting yourself where you are and exactly as you are.

In order to make things easier for ourselves, it is a good idea to let go of our expectations about how the practice should unfold as well as about the potential benefits we may receive from our practice. It may be more helpful to recognize that cultivating the skill of being present (meditation) is in itself a way of fulfilling our most important duty, showing up to our lives. In addition, being present also enables us to notice the distractions, limitations and restrictions that may be interfering in our meaningful engagement in our lives.

In other words, meditation, is a way of enriching the quality of our relationship with ourselves, with the people around us and with the world.

The following steps can be valuable in establishing a sustainable meditation practice:

  • Keep it simple
  • Relax
  • Feel
  • Notice
  • Smile
  • Focus
  • Distractions will happen
  • Release self-judgement
  • Persist gently
  • Enjoy the effects
  • Repeat often

 

Keep it Simple

Make it easy to practice. We do not need any special equipment to meditate. Just allocate some space that is ready so that we can take a brief meditation break whenever we get a chance. If we feel pressed for time, we can just start with a 1, 2, 3 or 5 minute practice. Consider if it would help to remember that this moment we are in is new and irreplaceable and that the moment will never come back or be repeated, therefore it makes sense to choose to give this unique moment our undivided attention.

Relax

Release. Let’s give ourselves permission to be here and trust that the world will be able to survive without us. Whatever is not part of this moment can remain outside, if only for the practical reason that we cannot be effective in a place we are not. To relax, we pay attention to the sensations in our body from head to toes or toes to head noticing if there are any areas where we can release holding or tension.

Feel

Feel the sensations, emotions and thoughts. We tend to spend a lot of time in our heads, thinking, remembering, planning, regretting, predicting, etc. Instead of living in the story we have created for ourselves (and others) we can choose to shift into feeling mode, just connecting to whatever sensations are happening right where we are. Be aware of the tendency to put words into the sensations. Rather than describing, liking, disliking or judging what we are feeling, can we just feel what is happening?

Notice

Observe what is happening and notice that whatever we sense is changing constantly. As we pay attention to the ongoing flow of sensations, thoughts, feelings and emotions we may notice that certain ideas, attitudes and memories emerge in our mind. Are we trying to label, describe, judge, like or dislike what we are feeling? Are those sensations keep changing from one moment to the next. As you stay with the ongoing flow of sensations, feelings, emotions and thoughts notice the words that might come up in your mind.

Smile

What is your attitude as you observe yourself in this moment? What happens if you invite a gentle smile? Does the experience change in any way? Is the change helpful and/or welcome? Is it possible to keep a gentle smile on your face?

Focus

When we recognize that this moment is changing contstantly it can be helpful to have an attitude of curiosity, noticing that there are many things happening as we remain still and silent. This curiosity can help us remain focused on being with the experience that is unfoding right where we are.

Distractions will happen

As a normal human being living in the 21st century we are probably well-practiced in keeping track of many ideas, thoughts, events and lists of things to do. We have trained ourselves to keep our attention switching back and forth between different activities and mental processes on a regular basis. So, it may not be surprising that we find it difficult to stay focused on just one thing. Even when we have chosen something interesting to focus on we find that our mind will get distracted sooner or later. In fact, we may get distracted many, many times. From this perspective, meditation is not a contest to see who can last the longest without any distractions. Instead, a very useful skill to develop is our capacity to keep coming back to this moment after every single distraction regardless of the frequency and length of the distractions.

Release self-judgement

As we bring our attention inwardly it may happen that we notice a familiar internal voice constantly offering judgements. For instance, that voice may immediately point out how we get distracted quite easily, maybe even going to the extent of deciding that we are not good at meditation. At those points, it may be helpful to remember that meditation is being with what is, even if what we are experiencing is distraction, boredom, impatience or frustration. Be curious to experience what happens when you give yourself permission to be free from your own judgement.

Persist gently

Just as it has taken a long time for us to develop our postural, mental, emotional and respiratory habits, cultivating the skill of being with what is, like cultivating anything that is valuable, will take time. The best approach is to persist gently, without any strain or struggle, at a pace that we can handle. One of the most valuable aspects of the practice is the capacity to keep coming back to this moment again and again.

Enjoy the effects

No meditation practice is wasted, even if it seems like we were constantly distracted throughout the whole session. Learning to validate our experience can free us to enjoy developing a more intimate and meaningful relationship with ourselves. Our experience is valid because we are having it, even if it doesn’t go according to our expectations. Enjoying the process, and its effects, is a good way to keep generating a positive change towards clarity and inner peace.

Repeat often

Look at any person who is good at something, it is highly unlikely that they developed all their skills overnight. Actually, what we will find is that increased quality results from persisting again and again in a systematic, conscious and deliberate way over a long period of time. So keep trying to dedicate a little bit of time to meditate as often as it is possible and with a gentle and friendly attitude towards ourselves and towards the whole process.

Put it into practice

Below is a 7 minute video that offers you a clear focal point to put these ideas into practice. Be curious to notice what happens if you try this exercise every day for one week or longer. Enjoy!

Peace,
rubén

Simple guided meditation with Rubén

 

 

Introduction to Meditation in 5 minutes

 

 

When we define meditation as being with what is, what we mean is that we try to cultivate our ability to be present with what is happening. This exercise invites you to focus your attention on the video and to stay with the experience. It is quite possible that some part of you may start narrating what is happening or commenting on what you see. In either case just return to noticing what you are seeing. If your mind starts going into other times and places by remembering or planning, just keep returning to the video without judgement. Notice whatever happens and consider welcoming whatever is unfolding.

Be curious to notice what happens if you try this exercise every day for one week or longer.

I hope you find this exercise useful.

Peace,
rubén

Simple guided meditation with Rubén