Wisdom speaker Natasha Korshak, will be at Sacred Space with Stephen Pedone accompanying on gutiar Sunday 8/9/15 at 4:15pm

Natasha will explain to us the foundations, guide us, and help us practice Yoga Nidra also known as iRest (not an apple product). This traditional Yoga practice helps heal ills such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and PTSD. Yoga Nidra is a simple and doable meditation that reminds us of our intentions and our potential to break through limiting perceptions that generate stress and tension. Natasha’s teaching will also help us understand how this practice can be applied to daily life.

Sacred Space, 3202 E 1st Street Tucson …click for map.

Natasha Korshak is an Interfaith Contemplative Minister, Yoga Teacher, and Director of the Mindfulness Programs of Tucson.

Stephen Pedone is an aspiring accountant, musician and renaissance man.

I was introduced to MBSR over 20 years ago by a colleague who had just completed his psychology doctoral dissertation on MBSR.  I was already teaching yoga so I thought I knew what mindfulness was, but as I began to notice through my own practice, mindfulness was different.  It was more bare bones, it helped me rest and it helped me see and be in a new and powerful way.

So I came to appreciate the practice of mindfulness itself, which MBSR fosters in a secular and universal way.  And I was also deeply moved by how it was being taught in the MBSR curriculum.  The way the teacher positioned themselves in the circle as a guide rather than an authority, the way participants were invited to speak about what was real for them and come to their own insights, the way the Eastern origins of the meditation practices became tools for looking deeply at our humanity.

Integrative Restoration or iRest is a newer mind/body method pioneered by Richard Miller, a clinical psychologist with a deep interest in Eastern meditation models.   Like Jon Kabat-Zinn (MBSR’s pioneer) who blended his personal experience with Buddhism and Hatha Yoga with his scientific training to create a curriculum that met a powerful need in health care; Richard Miller has done the same. One notable difference that is that iRest’s foundation draws more from the Yoga paradigm than the Buddhist paradigm.

iRest’s origins are less academic and clinical, in that it is not embedded in a university medical center where its development was documented from the beginning.  Yet, iRest has developed into a protocol that now qualifies as evidence based and is the subject of numerous studies for its treatment potential for trauma, pain, addiction relapse, compassion fatigue, insomnia, memory, and learning. There are currently over 30 iRest programs in VA’s and Military settings across the US.

For me personally, I find the 2 methods distinct yet entirely complimentary.  For several years I have taught both MBSR and iRest, and have seen students benefit from the combination.  If I were to sum it up I would say that MBSR is an amazing tool for grounding us, for helping us connect to the moment and learn from what is right here and now.  We only have moments to live.  iRest is deeply relaxing and expansive,  it gives us tools to see our difficulties and distractions as pointers towards a deeper clarity and a healthy resolution.

Winter Solstice 2014 – Dakshinayana

Solstice in our hemisphere marks the shortest day, the longest night, and the beginning of Winter. In the Vedic Calendar the period from Summer to Winter Solstice is called Dakshinayana , the dark half of the year.  The energy of waning light is similar to the dark half of the month, but more pronounced.

In mythology this part of the year is when the demons prevail and the gods are subdued.  The correlation to human affairs has been to traditionally use the dark half of the year for planning and purification as the tide of consciousness is more negative.

The exact point of Solstice in Tucson will occur at 4:03 pm on December 21st 2014, followed by the New Moon at 6:35 pm. An interesting coincidence this year is that the moon is also very dark, meaning close to the Sun.  They are in the constellation called Mula which means root and aligns with the center of or our galaxy.  In Vedic Astrology this constellation has deep significance.  It is place of healing and reconciliation if one knows how to be fierce and work with darkness.

It is a powerful day to pause and reflect on events and experiences of the last six months, or deeper back into your past.  Our lives move fast.  We have much that is undigested and unassimilated that yearns for the light of our consciousness to return to it.  We are easily distracted from what really matters.  Now is the ideal time.

Ask yourself: What has occurred? What has impacted me?  What needs light?  What is the essential message for my healing?  What will help me more forward anew?  Be brave. Be kind.  Be Fierce.  As Krishna says to Arjuna on the eve of his battle, “On this path no effort is wasted, no gain is ever reversed; even a little of this practice will shelter you from great sorrows.”

As we approach the Winter Solstice I am reflecting on the last six months since Summer Solstice.  This is the waning phase of the year, the days growing shorter.  Traditionally, this is an auspicious time for planning and preparation.  What have you been up to? What is the theme of your past 6 months?

The Vedic understanding of time is vast and incorporates eons. Our individual lives are part of an enormous whole.  We come from the invisible womb of being and return there, again and again until the soul’s journey is complete.  We are made of stars and possess the innate intelligence of the universe.  This is a theory of course, an ancient way of framing the unknown, a poetic contemplation.  It is true that we are literally made of stars, the same substance of the universe.

Time is personified as Kala Purusha. The word Kala contains sounds related to the beginning, middle, and end of all manifested things.  Purusha is the essence of consciousness, beyond manifestation.  The implication is that we each have a time limited opportunity to express our essence.  We are all bound by time and go through cycles of time; natural, collective, and personal.

Classically, yoga practices are designed to work with natural cycles, to help us be in harmony with the deeper pulse of the planet and cosmos.  For instance, dawn and dusk are the considering the most powerful times to meditate and pray.

Collective cycles relate to our family, our peers, our place on the earth.  Consider your family’s cycles,   your generation’s expectations of life (boomers, x’s, millennials), the cycles of your neighborhood, your city, state, country?   Can you sense how this contemplation of time turns us towards the complicated subject of karma?  Why me?  Why not me?

There is a great Hindu story regarding how personal time cycles affect even the mighty Shiva.   It is believed that we all go through regular periods where the harsh gaze of Saturn tests us and transforms us.  It is called Sade Sati, the 7 ½ years of Saturn, and occurs every 23 years or so in a person’s life. When you are in Saturn’s gaze specifically, depends on personal birth factors.

The story goes that Saturn was the student of Shiva, yet still had to do his duty and cast his terrible gaze upon his guru.  Shiva tried to outwit him by submerging himself in the River Ganges for the entire 7 ½ years.
When he emerged he was delighted with his feat and cried,
“Oh Saturn! What could you do to Me?”
Saturn replied,
“You call that doing nothing to You?”

Where ever you are in regards to Saturn, in regards to your personal cycle, may the new phase of the year bring you deeper peace, greater wisdom, and fruition of your current hopes and dreams.

Happy Solstice, Happy Holidays.

Natasha

 

 

There are 2 Free Mindful Meditation classes in December

December 8th we will honor the mindfulness methods of Thich Nhat Hanh.
Present Moment, Wonderful Moment: Experiencing Mindfulness

December 15th a mindful practice related to the change of seasons.
The Fruitful Darkness: An Evening of Mindfulness Practice

All are invited to attend either or both classes:
Simply register 
No experience is necessary.

 

Ongoing Class

Meditative Yoga Sundays (Class continues uninterrupted thru the Holidays)
10 – 11:30 am at The Movement Shala 435 E. Ninth Street

Class happens every week without fail.  You never have to wonder.  On the rare occasions I am away, one of our regular students, who is also a trained teacher, subs and you get to experience someone else who appreciates meditative yoga.  Downtown is flourishing too, with great places for Sunday brunch- come to class, stay and play!  First time students are always free.
$10 class or $32 for a 4 class pass

 

Upcoming

Winter 2015 MBSR Schedule

MBSR Free Information & Introduction Session For Winter 2015 – Monday January 5th

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program MBSR Winter 2015 – Monday January 12th

Please see the full Schedule and Complete details here

Greetings,

We have two free Mindful Meditation practice offerings in December.

December 8th we will honor the mindfulness methods of Thich Nhat Hanh.
Present Moment, Wonderful Moment: Experiencing Mindfulness

December 15th a mindful practice related to the change of seasons.
The Fruitful Darkness: An Evening of Mindfulness Practice

All are invited to attend either or both classes:
Simply register
No experience is necessary.

January 5th we will have the free Introduction session for the MBSR Program . If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness or registering for the Winter 2015 MBSR program please register and join us.

As a holiday treat for those that have been to our classroom in the Library of the Ada Peirce McCormick Building, we all know what a great influence Moses is on our mindfulness practice.  For those that have not had the pleasure to meet him yet, he has a new video out.

Mindful Cat

Our message is first and foremost a nonverbal one; our message is our own action. thich nhat hanh.

 

Thank you for your support.

Natasha

A documentary film exploring the mind and bodies connection and its missing link in healthcare. With Andrew Weil, MD, Jon Kabat-Zinn …

Tucson premiere is Monday 29th September 2014 at 7:00pm  at the Gallagher Theater, Student Union Memorial Center, U of A

There will be a panel discussion after the film with Dr. Esther Sternberg ( U of A Center for Integrative Medicine ) and director Shannon Harvey.

Shannon Harvey created the documentary after an autoimmune disease diagnosis and a worldwide search for the missing Mind Body link in Healthcare. In the search there are interviews with recognized leading researchers, scientists, physicians and of course the folks actually living with and recovering from severe pain, cancer, multiple sclerosis.
Featured in the film, are: Alice Domar, PhD; Andrew Weil, MD; Craig Hassed, MBBS, FRACGP; Damien Finniss MBBS, PhD, MSc Med, BPhty, BExSc; David Spiegel, MD; Dean Ornish, MD; Esther Sternberg, MD; Herbert Benson, MD; Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD; and Sara Lazar, PhD.

 

Free to attend with the code: MBSRTucson

or if you wish to make a small donation of $6 and simply pay as profits are being donated to

U of A Center for Integrative Medicine

Tickets

Tickets for the Connection Documentary

 

Trailer

 

The July series of classes was a wonderful interlude for me personally this summer.  They were designed to stand alone each week, so people could come even if vacationing some part of the month.  And they were intended to both support alumni and welcome people exploring mindfulness anew.  It was a different experience than the MBSR program which gradually unfolds over time; and each week’s subject could have been its own seminar, but we put our toes in some healing water nonetheless. Thank you to everyone that participated.
Here are a few gems from each class to contemplate for yourself:

Deep Listening:   Listen with the intention to understand rather than help, fix, change, or even respond….

Mindful SpeakingWhen I’m quiet and solid as the ground, then I talk the low tones of thunder for everyone –Rumi

Group DynamicsTo understand true self- which knows who are in our in-wardness and whose we are in the larger world- we need both the intimacy that comes with solitude and the otherness that comes with community –Parker Palmer

Grief & Loss:  Only other wounded people can understand what is needed, for the healing of suffering is compassion, not expertise –Rachel Naomi Remen

Presented as 4 classes

Mondays July 7th – 28th 2014.

The cost is $20 per class and there is a $15 discount available for attending the entire 4 week series, making your cost $65 for the series.

The first three classes explore, The Mindful Communication of:
Deep Listening / Clear Speaking / Group Dynamics
&
The fourth class of the series is: Bringing Mindfulness to Grief and Loss

Ada Peirce McCormick Building, in the Library. 1401 East First Street at Highland Underpass on the UA campus.  Free parking available next to the building, in any space after 5pm.
Directions to the Ada Peirce McCormick Building

Thank you, Natasha!

After being able to discuss things in class, the meditations have been even more enjoyable. It is nice to let go of my fears and welcome the experience.

I am finding myself already noticing being almost in a trance like state at times, even when I am not in a meditation. I also feel what seems like physical sensations within my forehead. This feels calming and peaceful. It seems surprising that I would have such a quick and significant benefit from starting eight days ago, but it sure feels like I am. I have been doing two to three meditations per day and have been doing both the body sensing and the yoga nidra from the start. I am loving it! Thanks for all if your help.

The Spring seems to be coming fast.  At the recent Day of Mindfulness practice it was almost 80 degrees.

It made for lovely walking meditation and fresh air in the room, yet I found myself fielding weather anxiety.  If it is this hot now, what will it be like in June?! Come back to now, feel the sun on your face…  It is so warm we could almost use air conditioning!  Noticing the feeling of warmth in the body…  Something is terribly wrong on the planet!  Breathe, be where you are, this moment matters…  This is the practice, staying present, checking the tendency to be carried away by thoughts- as rational and noble as they may seem.

As the 12th century Zen master Wu-Men reminds us:  If your mind is not clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life. 

There will be another opportunity for alumni to attend the Day of Mindfulness May 17th.  I’ll send out an invitation closer to date.

There is a new 4 week Integrative Restoration course beginning March 3rd.

John Kabat-Zinn will be speaking at a public forum Friday, March 7th.

And the Spring MBSR program orientation on March 31st.

Natasha 

Some Feedback:

Thanks so much, Natasha.  The day was wonderful.  Surely facilitating groups like these is work you were born to do.  You have such a strong, gentle, kind, wise, and skillful hand on the rudder.  It’s a joy and a gift to watch you work, even when (I know, I know, I know) “watching you work” isn’t why I’m there.  It’s just a fringe benefit.