Mindful Living with Natasha Rix – Mindfulness Course Night Two

Pre-Mindfulness 6 week Course in Tauranga
I have intended to participate in one of Natasha and Grant Rix’s introductory classes for the past 5 years (since we moved back home to Tauranga and I saw a flyer for their mindfulness courses at Playcentre). A generous handful of my closest local friends have completed the course and LOVED it. They’ve talked gently to me about how it’s positively influenced their lives.

Some say these courses on mindfulness with the Rix duo have saved their marriage. Some say it helps them be the calm, peaceful, loving person they want to be around their children. Others say Natasha (Mindful Living) provides a ‘How to’ to lead a happy life.

Stay tuned for a weekly update of my experience with Natasha and the mindfulness for well-being course (an introduction to meditation) in our bountiful Bay of Plenty.

Post Night 2 (of 6)

Mindfulness is GOOOOOOOOD.

I like these classes with Tash.

We (I carpooled with a friend) were the first to arrive for Night 2. Fireworks cracked through the silence and hum of the air con above. I noticed the chairs were semi-circled differently to the week before – less space between each participant. Is this ‘deliberate’? I noticed I wasn’t so comfortable with the arrangement. I wanted to move my chair out a bit, to give myself more space, but i was concerned about offending someone or not being ‘part of the group’. Interesting. This is mindfulness at play already. 1) Noticing/observing what’s going on and 2) recognising how i feel about it.

Tash reminded us of an acronym for mindfulness, appetising to return to: C O A L. Curiosity. Openess. Acceptance. Love.

Can I have Curiosity, Open-ness, Acceptance and Love with all around me – with life, with people, with emotions, with beings, with relationships, with self?

And indeed I sit curious with my response to having less room to shuffle and be smelly in. This reminds me of one of my dear teachers from 1997 Sue Weston from the UK. She essentially taught movement ‘therapy’. Her student was Kate Hamblyn (who brought Sue out) and who originally taught a bunch of us for a bunch of time whilst at Drama School. From Sue and Kate we learnt sound and movement. They were teachers that were truly wise and saw each and every one of us, and gave such gentleness and kindness and (without us being aware at that stage most of us in our early 20s) therapeutic relief. With these women we learnt Chi Kung, dancing the elements, ancient rounds, rolling the bones and other body work, bubbling well points on soles. I remember Sue marvelling how large our circle was – the wider than English gap between each person in the circle, symbolising the space in New Zealand. This space indicated in the amount of DOC land, green, blue, white (natural) space, coupled with the lower population equalling less density.

A-ha, time to return to the children, to continue where a friend has left off, and encourage into moe time. I return anon.

SueDouble a-ha, I am again helping littlest intomoe time again, and in between soothing have some to write. I cyber-searched dear Sue Weston and ‘jackpot’ she’s offering mindfulness and relaxation (still involving Qigong) classes and retreats in Scotland (e.g. the Holy Isle, Pontypool). Click here to go to her organisation Relax the Mind – direct your Scottish friends here.

Today’s post is becoming about teachers. And why not? This is the aspect of living I have most gratitude after my senses and physical body. I have written about the glory of teachers and learning before.

Lamas+Samten+&+ShedrupAnd to complete the curious circle I typed in dear Kate Hamblyn. I’ve know for years Kate tours with Lama Samten as his personal assistant around the world. I’ve included a photo from about the time of my visits to Karma Choeling. I found this websiteinteresting (and will return to the chanting) so will include it today. Click here to visit a site dedicated to the Buddhist Healing Prayer Chants.

I realise we live in a world of fast and that articles should cut to the chase before readers get bored and jump to the next ‘writer’.

But, I am into the slow movement. To honour this I shall include a message from Kate which I find suitably adorable and you may too:

The Land of Wisdom teaches us wisdom.
Wisdom sees that everything is ok.
Everything is simple,
Everything is pure,
Nothing is complicated.
With everything be natural.
The Land of Wisdom teaches us to slow down.

That is why my Christmas message is slow…
There is nothing wrong with slow.
Good things take time.
Wisdom teaches us we are ok,even when we see a land of pooh, it is still ok.

Everything is just arbitary and names.
Ultimately pooh is not pooh. It is considered nectar.
Pooh doesn’t exist, it is just a name.

Relatively in the Tibetan tradition it is a very good omen. Human beings are never satisfied and never say no.
When they see pooh however, they say no. So that is a symbol of contentment and satisfaction.

I hope you are satisfied with your life.
Keep breathing and so will I.

Kate Hamblyn
5th January 2015

Back to class.

I can report 7.30pm-9.00pm flew by. We started the class ‘with a sit’ (meditating). Actually this was after being encouraged to walk around the room and feel the sensation (and information) of our feet contacting the floor. Walking with Body-Mindfulness, or without mind and in body. Allowing the body to inform our sensational experience and recognition. We returned. Then encouraged to sit (and shown positions which would sustain a comfortable practice) and sit we did. Some in chairs, others on wooden meditation stools, and myself and many on the floor upon a conglomerate of strategically stacked and stuffed supportive firm cushions.

I found this meditation fairly enjoyable. As we shared later, I find when asked to focus on my breathing, i notice a sense of tightness or self-consciousness, or actually if i’m authentic challenging the instruction. When asked to breathe in I observe this: sucking breath in from outside of my body. My shoulders and chest rise up. It feels tight across the top of my torso, almost the band in line with my armpits. Then there’s a suspension a holding ‘at the top’ which i can register in my upper torso back. When my inner dialogue says the words ‘focus on breathing out’ has this sensation: breathing out feels gentle calm, but again there is a subtle panic at the end of the breath.

Tash suggested to apply C O A L to the above awareness.

Curiosity. Open-ness. Acceptance. Love.

I have this week (during homework) been playful with breathing – experimental. Now that i’ve gone to share my findings i’m struggling to find them. Humph.

One visualisation or sentence i used (instead of breathing out and in) was: Expand (a gentle moving down of the diaphragm?). Contract (a gentle meeting back). I think i in fact did the opposite of the words from my mind, in my body. When my ‘nose’was breathing ‘ïn’ air by diaphragm moved ‘down and out’. Breath out through nose and diaphragm moved in. I removed the notion of air coming into my body, and leaving it, and focused on the action of my diaphragm or my lungs (cue anatomy lesson). The result was the breath stayed centred in my body as opposed to almost in my throat. It took the spotlight off my nose and mouth and the idea that breath was being taken from outside of my body. Instead, it put the empowerment on the inside and the centre of my body.

This week I facebook fed me this clip of the lungs being in-and-de-flated. Thanks life.

I wonder who else is talking about the mechanism of breath? I wonder how many people feel relaxed or stressed about breathing as a highlighted process? I wonder how many other sports/movement people do the opposite of the word? e.g. I want to talk fast I think slow, I want to jump high, I think down (first).

If you’d like to check out Mindful Living and the courses they have on offer, click here for their facebook page.
Their website is: http://www.mindfulliving.co.nz/

Mindful Living is based in the Bay of Plenty and is a husband wife dynamic duo.
This is what their About Page says:

Our vision for Mindful Living is to provide individuals, workplaces and organisations with practical mindfulness skills and strategies for increased wellbeing in our daily lives.

We have been studying and practicing mindfulness and meditation since 1999. We have been teaching in Tauranga since 2008, giving classes that are relaxed and inclusive, encouraging enquiry and personal growth.

We are graduates of a unique three-year mindfulness teacher training study and meditation programme, run through the Wangapeka Study and Retreat Centre under the guidance of our principal teacher Tarchin Hearn (a master of mindfulness with over 40 years experience). During this period of intensive training we lived as part of a mindful community from 2005 to 2007 exploring mindfulness through Body, Speech and Mind.

In addition to completing numerous periods of intensive deep retreat work, we continue to study with experienced mindfulness teachers and attend practice retreats. We are committed to living and parenting mindfully, and helping others awaken to the fullness and richness of life unfolding now.

Grant is the Mindful Aotearoa Operations Manager for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and creator of the Pause, Breathe, Smilemindfulness in schools programme. Natasha is a Mindfulness Strategy Consultant to the MHF and trains and supports mindfulness facilitators to deliver Pause, Breathe, Smile.

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