All over the world, there are all kinds of mindfulness traditions. Seated, walking, running, eating, there is no shortage of methods to ground down into the present moment. As these practices gain popularity in the west, it is important to remember those that laid the groundwork for the different traditions that we enjoy in our modern day era. Zen meditation, or Zazen, is one of the oldest meditation practices still widely employed today.
Zazen is traditionally practiced in a seated position on a thick, round cushion, or a zafu. The practitioner crosses their legs into a full or half lotus, but a more simple cross legged position may be used if flexibility is an issue for ease. Generally practiced in a lit room, the practitioner would find their seat facing the wall, and practice with eyes open.
It is important to draw the spine into a stacked, upright position, so the back of the head can draw back as well as the neck until the practitioner feels the vertebrae fall into alignment. The hands come into a Cosmic Mudra, or Hokkaijoin, in which the hands stack palms face up with the thumb tips connecting. The name of the Mudra translates to “beyond duality,” and maintaining the shape is another tool which can be utilized to effectively stay engaged in a soft focus.
Once engaged in the practice, the eyes remain open, the gaze is about a meter ahead on the floor. The breath is slow and soft, inhaling and exhaling through the nose. When thoughts arise, they are allowed to pass, with the practitioner forming no attachment and returning attention to the breath. With experience, thoughts will arise less and less.
Zen Master, Taisen Deshimaru once said, “By simply sitting, without looking for any goal or any personal benefit, if your posture, your breathing, and your state of mind are in harmony, you will understand the true Zen; you will begin to understand Buddha’s nature.”
In our mindfulness meditation classes that we offer daily (over 15 weekly), a myriad of tools and technologies are offered to help people experience more mental ease and peace in their lives.
Come check one out soon…<3
SANCTUARY YOGA & MINDFULNESS
Sanctuary Yoga & Mindfulness is a healing haven in the heart of Center City Philadelphia. Our premier yoga studio offers weekly yoga & mindfulness meditation classes, as well as workshops and teacher trainings of the highest caliber. “Sanctuary Signature” yoga classes all place an emphasis on: excellence in alignment; thoughtful sequencing; inspiring & uplifting verbiage to support your body, mind and heart, allowing you to feel enhanced on every level. Each yoga class and yoga practice offered also contains 3-5 minutes of mindfulness meditation at its conclusion to further punctuate your profound experience during your time with us.
Our expert and exceptional teachers are highly trained, warm, and knowledgeable in areas of therapeutics, bio-mechanics, philosophy, meditation and so much more! All our classes are highly curated with an excellence in sequencing and intelligent alignment for the body; artful language for the mind; and inspiration for the heart. Come experience our amazing teaching tribe for yourself