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Compassion Cultivation

Recent discoveries in neuroscience confirm what wisdom traditions have taught for millennia: compassion is both an innate capacity and a skill we can strengthen.

It is a process that unfolds in response to suffering and begins with the recognition of suffering, which gives rise to thoughts and feelings of empathy and concern. This, in turn, can motivate action to relieve that suffering. However, while humans are wired for compassion, everyday stress, social pressures, and life experiences can make it difficult to fully express this capacity. Each of us can learn to nurture and grow this compassionate instinct, like a plant that is carefully cultivated from a seed. This process is supported by patience, steady care, helpful tools, and a supportive environment. We can deliberately train our ability to stay connected to our deepest values in the face of suffering while caring for ourselves and others. Amazingly, doing so can buffer us and others from the negative effects of stress and help us respond in a skillful and sustainable manner.

 

Evidence-based research shows that our mind, heart, and body are actually rejuvenated by compassion. Compassion also awakens us to a sense of the preciousness of life – including our own – and connects us to our common humanity through which it naturally expands to include others: family, friends, strangers, difficult people, all living beings, and even the earth on whom we depend for our lives. As the Dalai Lama said, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” Come cultivate compassion.

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Alexander Technique

“What we practice, we become.”

Learning the Alexander Technique is like re-learning your native language, a language you used to know but have forgotten from lack of use. You have the sense of coming home to your wholeness of self.

 

As a mind-body practice of self-care, the Alexander Technique is more about un-doing what doesn’t work than about adding new rules or exercises. For over 100 years, performing artists have been using the Technique to release habits of tension, develop fuller breath, increase range of movement and build conscious choice. Once you learn the principles, they stay with you, and you can practice ease, balance and wholeness in all of your life’s activities.

 

The Alexander Technique offers an exploration of the underlying principles that govern human posture, muscle tone, movement and breath. Patterns of tightness or collapse affect your whole balance and wellbeing; just like if a piano is out of tune, all the music played on it will be out of tune. In Alexander lessons, you can re-tune your system to a centered ease and practice this balance of the whole self in everything that you do—from sitting at a computer, to gardening, to debating, to carpentry, to meditating, to dancing. Breath-work calms the nervous system and long-held patterns of movement, posture, breath and voice can be released while new patterns of whole being balance emerge. As capacity for somatic embodiment increases, you learn to respond with choice rather than react from habit.

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Realization Process

As an embodied awareness meditation approach Realization Process includes learning how to both more fully inhabit our bodies, our internal space, as well as feeling that we are connect to our environment. We are not separate from the moment, the space that we find ourselves in.

 

Realization Process is an extraordinary path for realizing the undivided, fundamental consciousness that is your innermost nature.

For feeling more alive, more at home in your own skin, more connected to yourself and to other people.

For healing from trauma.

For knowing yourself as the embodiment of nondual presence and openness.

The Realization Process is a direct path to embodied nondual awakening. It is a series of powerful but gentle, precise attunement practices for realizing your own nature as fundamental consciousness– an undivided expanse of luminous transparency, pervading your body and environment as a unity.

Pervading your body, fundamental consciousness is the basis of your sense of existing as an individual.

It deepens and refines all of your human capacities: for physical sensation, emotional responsiveness, understanding, and perception.

It opens you to your innate happiness.

Pervading your body and environment, fundamental consciousness is the basis of an actual experience of oneness with everything around you.

It enriches and refines your contact with other people and with all of nature.

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Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement

The Feldenkrais Method® is a powerful and revolutionary approach to improving your life that uses gentle, mindful movement to bring new awareness and possibility into every aspect of your life.
 

Developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, the Feldenkrais Method has helped millions of people worldwide.

Feldenkrais® group classes are known as Awareness Through Movement® (ATM®) lessons. Similar to Tai Chi or gentle yoga, Awareness Through Movement classes use slow, mindful movements to achieve powerful effects in terms of strength, flexibility, and holistic integration of body and mind. Unique to the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education is that these lessons tie directly into functional movements of daily life, such as walking efficiently, safely lifting objects, and improving one’s posture in sitting or standing.

You can expect a class to last 60 minutes. You might walk, stand, or sit in a chair, although usually, you will lie on the floor in a variety of comfortable positions: either on your back, front, or side. The teacher guides students through a sequence of movements, encouraging them to move with gentle attention within a comfortable range. You may become aware of unexpected and interesting connections within and between the movements. As you attend to the improving quality of movement, unnecessary muscular tensions throughout the body can reorganize and release. Students are often amazed at the quick and clear changes that occur through the neuromuscular repatterning that happens in an Awareness Through Movement lesson!

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Photo credit Rachel Liu Ballard