Almost two years ago around this time, I wrote an article about my first experience with guided meditation and it was life-altering to say the least. This past weekend, I had the honor of hosting a Gratitude and Forgiveness Workshop with my teacher Michael DeFrancisco at La Jolla Yoga Center. This two-day event combined yoga postures with breath work to prepare the body and mind for meditation and blessings.
The concept of being grateful and forgiving is not meant to be intellectually absorbed. In fact, Michael asked that we not “try” to remember anything. He kept reminding us that these attributes are not meant to be treated like a to-do list or something that we set out to accomplish. It is something that happens naturally when we connect with our hearts. In order to listen to the heart we must sit and do nothing. Michael’s system of teaching meditation is unique. He says “We don’t do much. There is no contemplation and no concentration. It goes almost by itself; Just be innocent.”
For this workshop we had the following schedule:
10 minutes of light yoga postures to stretch the hips, spine, back muscles, shoulders and neck
5 minutes of breath work to calm the mind and soothe the nervous system
20 minutes of deep meditation with hands-on blessings
5 minutes of final relaxation on the back
We did two rounds of this schedule on two consecutive days. I filmed the first day and witnessed the look of peace and contentment on many of the students during the meditation. It was interesting to feel the energy in the room. I felt very relaxed, happy and aware. The second day I meditated with the rest of the class and experienced the deepest meditations I’ve ever had. Michael’s voice faded in and out with words about the natural state of being. “The world creates separation among us and it feeds our feelings of inadequacy. Love says we are whole and equal. ”
I am still feeling the effects of this powerful combination of yoga, pranayama, meditation and blessings. It is almost as if I am carrying a sense of trust in the process of life and being grateful for whatever happens on a daily basis. Not allowing ourselves to forgive keeps us stuck in negative feelings and as Michael said, “Forgiving equals freedom.”
model: Erica Rood
art: Jane Wheeler
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