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Location: Shambhala Online

Mindfulness and Embodiment: Keys to a Joyful and Awake Life

Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Eastern 

March 16, 30 / April 13, 27 / May 11, 25

Mindfulness of body is connected with the earth. It is an openness that has a base, a foundation. A quality of expansive awareness develops through mindfulness of body—a sense of being settled and of therefore being able to afford to open out.

—Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Heart of the Buddha

About the Course

Hosted and coordinated by Erika Berland with Special Guests Margot Iseman, Eve Rosenthal and Janet Solyntjes.

The Mindfulness & Embodiment Course is a series of live sessions joining somatic practices of embodiment with the view and practice of meditation to support meditation practitioners of all levels of experience. Presented by a diverse group of embodiment practitioners and Shambhala teachers, we will explore such topics as: 

  • An overview of Mindfulness of Body
  • Discovering ease and joy in the physical posture of meditation.
  • The application and practice of experiential anatomy as a support for mind-body synchronization and awareness. 
  • Connecting our bodies to the body of the earth and the elements of our natural world.
  • Feeling the energy of emotions in your body and holding your seat, with yourself and others. Communicating with others from an embodied place. 
  • Learning to work with physical discomfort through mindfulness of body.
  • Exploration and familiarity with the Four Postures of Meditation.
  • Bringing “mindfulness of body” into everyday life.

Each Live Session will Include:

  • Periods of guided embodied meditation 
  • Physical movement, exercises and visualization practices among other modalities—depending on the live session
  • Reflection and contemplation of the material
  • Group discussions
  • Question and Answer sessions

Live Sessions Breakdown

March 16 (Session #1)What is Mindfulness of Body and Why is it Key to Our Meditation Journey?

Our panel of presenters will discuss and guide participants in exercises and contemplations that will be explored over the 6 session course. Presenters: All

March 30 (Session #2)The Body and the Posture of Meditation—Part 1 

Making friends with gravity and finding the support of the dynamic structure of our Musculo-skeletal system in the sitting posture. 

April 13 (Session #3)The Body and the Posture of Meditation—Part 2  

Exploring the inner support of the organs and other tissues and systems of the body, including the breath, for both physical and emotional ease and well-being.  

April 27 (Session #4)Working with Both Emotional and Physical Pain and Discomfort on the Meditative Journey

Feeling the energy of emotions and/or physical distress in our bodies and holding our seat, with ourselves and others. Exploring how we can communicate from an embodied place.  

May 11 (Session #5)The Elemental Body

Connecting our bodies to the body of the earth and the elements of our natural world.

May  25 (session #6)The Moving Body

An exploration of the principles of movement that enhance our wellbeing and connect us to mindfulness of body in everyday life. Presenters will also show examples of movement modalities, both traditional and contemporary, that support our body/minds. Modalities: Moving w/Mindfulness, Yoga, Lujong, Tai Chi and Qigong. Presenters: All

To be Gained:

  • An introduction to a variety of somatic and embodiment techniques and approaches as they support your meditation practice.
  • Enhancement of your meditation practice through deep contemplation and experience of “mindfulness of body,” 
  • Greater skill at communication and social engagement through a deeper understanding of being embodied 

Why is working and understanding how to be “embodied” so important?

In Shambhala, the ground of compassion and the intention to engage with kindness toward all beings is based on our inherent basic goodness and a lack of fear of oneself. How we feel in our own skin and how we relate to our bodies—either with appreciation and love or with judgment and inwardly directed aggression —is part of the healing journey that one takes on the Shambhala path of meditation. 

When we fear ourselves and lack trust in our own lungta (a Tibetan word for “life force energy” or “chi”) and the confidence that is manifest and expressed in our bodies, it becomes easy to fear others. When we dis-connect from our own “bodyness,” another’s body can become a threat and we fear the intimacy of human contact. The result of this dis-embodiment is a fear of space, feeling too vulnerable to “put oneself out there” and dance with the unknown, and our communication suffers and reaching out to others becomes difficult.  

Another consequence of a lack of embodiment is that we lose the sense that our own body is a smaller reflection of the earth’s body. We contain all the elements of the earth within us, and the appreciation of water, fire, wind, and all the earth’s elements is deeply connected to the care or dis-regard we have toward our physical bodies. 

About the Teachers

Erika Berland, is a Certified Practitioner of Body-Mind Centering (R), a Registered Movement Therapist and licensed Massage Therapist. Erika has an extensive background as a movement artist and has taught workshops in experiential anatomy and dance in numerous studios and schools throughout the US and Europe. In 2004 she co-founded with her partner, Wendell Beavers, the MFA: Contemporary Performance Theater program at Naropa University where she developed a 2-year training for performers, integrating meditation and dharma art principles into a somatic movement curriculum. Her book, Sitting: The Physical Art of Meditation, was published in 2017 and she has presented numerous programs on embodiment and the physical posture of meditation for the Shambhala community over many years.

Margot Iseman has an MA in Dance Movement Therapy from Naropa University (1989) and is aLicensed Professional Counselor (LPC) She has been teaching Body-Mind Centering(R) and Experiential Anatomy for over 30 years at Naropa University. She is a life long dancer and former dance teacher and she has been a Shambhala Training Director in Boulder, CO since the 1990’s. 

Eve Rosenthal is a long time practitioner of meditation and has been a senior teacher in the Shambhala community for many years. Eve began practicing tai chi at the Naropa Institute in 1974, and it has been a consistent practice for her since that time. In 1990, she began teaching tai chi. She currently teaches weekly tai chi and qi gong classes in Nova Scotia. She also offers the embodiment practice of qi gong at meditation programs to support awareness of the body and cultivate the qi (life force). 

Janet Solyntjes, MA, is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist community as well as a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher.  She has been leading meditation programs and retreats since 1996 and has served on the faculty of Naropa University, the Center for Mindfulness, the Engaged Mindfulness Institute, and Mindful Leader. She has incorporated yoga and other body-based practices in your spiritual path since she began practicing in 1984.

2024-04-12 17:45:51