There are many avenues into our understanding of ourselves and the way we relate to reality. In this series of workshops, we will explore different avenues we can take into meditation, distinct ways we can learn more about ourselves, and our own conditioning. Each week during this 4-week course, we will explore a new theme in the meditation instruction. Concentration, Awareness, Metta (loving-kindness), and Compassion.
All of the sessions will include a guided meditation, in-depth explanation, some time for sharing our experience, and conversation. Let's connect to ourselves and our experience with kindness, care, and friendliness, The Buddha said, “ You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”
June 15th - Concentration Practices
Concentration Practices in Meditation help bring us continually into the present moment. The practices focus on coming back to the present moment through our experience of the breath, the body, and our hearing. A good deal of grounding and energy can come from these practices as we focus our attention on the present, instead of the past or the imagined future. These practices form the foundation of mindfulness and are incredibly helpful for all.
June 22nd - Awareness practice
With Awareness practices, we become more attuned to our own experience of reality. We look to our bodies, our emotions, and our thoughts to see what is here for us now. Through these practices, we can come to see our own patterns, emotions, and thoughts more clearly, and in a less judgmental way. We will stay open to whatever arises as we witness our experience, in order to know more fully about ourselves.
June 29th- Metta Practice
The practice of Metta (loving-kindness) is one of offering goodwill, friendliness, and care to ourselves and others. These techniques help us to expand our hearts, open us to more generosity, reduce fear, and see clearly our innate capacity to love and care. Utilizing traditional phrases and more abstract loving-kindness techniques there will be many opportunities to find your own creative and most heartfelt practice. We will practice to the best of our ability, not forcing or trying to make anything be a certain way, simply learning tools and ways of practice that can benefit our minds and hearts.
July 6th- Compassion Practice
Compassion is often referred to as the “quivering of the heart”. In order for our practices to have an effect in the world and within ourselves, we need compassion. We will utilize techniques to create compassion for ourselves and others. Avoiding the “near enemy” of compassion, pity, we will explore our own hearts, to see where there are blocks, where we can expand, and how much further we may be able to expand our compassion to our own experience. Here there will be room to explore for yourself what makes your own loving heart “quiver”, and how best to creatively use these practices to go to the place within you that knows you are loving and kind.
Danny Johnston has been studying yoga for 15 years and has been a meditation practitioner for 10 years. In 2009, he met Amma (Mata Amritandamayi Devi), "the hugging saint." For the past 9 years, he has been traveling with and volunteering for her programs around the world. He is also a student of Buddhism, attending silent retreats at Insight Meditation Center in Barre, Massachusetts for more than a decade. As a student of yoga, he began his studies with Barbara Verrochi and Kristen Leigh at The Shala in NYC and has had the opportunity to study with many learned teachers around the world. He continues to study at the Iyengar Institute. Danny truly believes in the power of yoga and meditation as transformative tools. Danny currently teaches at the Shala and at various weekend events put on in NYC and LA by Peace Camp & Mind Destroyer. He loves eggplant parmesan, banana splits, and Metta (loving-kindness) meditation.