I have found it useful to have combination sessions, for example, we sit 30 minutes, then asana yoga 30 minutes, then we chant 20 minutes. It seems right to address the mind, the body and the heart together in this way, something difficult to find in practice communities which tend to focus on asana yoga OR meditation OR chanting OR prayer OR talking & thinking. The meditation community may under-emphasize the body. An asana yoga community may add some pranayam and a minute of chanting and a guided 10-minute savasana but doesn’t really get to the sitting meditation practice very deeply. So, sometimes I like to do them all in one session, with a focus on one (usually meditation) or alternate practices session to session, but not become too unbalanced in overall practice.
Visiting sessions with other practicing communities / Pilgrimage
Having visited various practicing communities around this city and other places in the world has been revealing and enriching. From a distance, communities or groups with a specific practice may appear “closed” or “too cult-ish to visit”, “too ethnic” or “only welcome for members of that religion” – but this is often not the case. Many wonderful things are waiting out there in temples, dance schools, music workshops, yoga schools and meditation centres. These can be mini-pilgrimages, a practice recommended by many masters. Sometimes I’ll invite a group to attend these, and we’ll have a pre-session to tune into what it’s all about – or an after session on another day to share about it. Attending others’ offerings as a group is a powerful way to build up our awareness, open our minds and give some support to those offering their hearts and often not getting enough takers. As a community, we flock to those offering sexy things, drinky things or sporty things! Certainly those have their place but we can take a balanced approach by spending time like this also.