Yoga for Stillness Finding

Develop your awareness to find the still point at your centre

Wouldn’t it be greatif there was aguaranteed way toreduce stress, boostyour mental and emotional wellbeingand enhance your interpersonalexperience – all at the same time?The wheel of awareness meditation,developed by neurobiologist Dr Dan Siegeldoes just that. It uses the symbol of awheel – central hub, spokes and outer rim– to help you gain insight into who you areand what matters most to you. It’s quite adetailed meditation, but practised regularlycan bring a deep sense of peace andpurpose to your life.Begin by closing your eyes andbecoming aware of your breath, thendraw your attention inwards. After a fewmoments, direct your awareness out to therim of an imagined wheel. Divided into fourquarters, each section of the rim representsa different element of conscious experience– sensory awareness, physical sensation,introspection and connection.

MAKING SENSE

The first quadrant relates to how you drawthe outside world in, via your five senses.From your centre, imagine extending aspoke out to the rim of the wheel and allowyour attention to rest on the sense ofhearing – the sounds in the room, thebuilding and outside the building. Let themfill your experience, then imagine movingthe spoke to the sense of sight. With youreyes slightly open, give your completeattention to what you see. Continue in thisway with taste, smell and touch, each time allowing your experience to fill the hub of your awareness. Take a deep breath in, let it go, then visualise moving the spoke to the second quadrant.

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LOOKING INWARD

Now rest your attention inside your bodyDo a body scan by taking your awarenessto the whole of your body, attuning to yourmuscles, bones and organs, and noticingif you can sense any heat, coolness,movement or difference in density. Finishby resting your attention on your heart,then take a deep breath, let go andmove the spoke to the third quarterof the rim.

MIND MATTERS

Here you focus on mental activities –thoughts, memories, beliefs, images, plansfeelings and desires. First, open your mindto whatever comes forward, whether athought, emotion or memory, and noticehow it feels. Next, bring your attention tohow a thought or feeling arises. Does itappear suddenly or slowly? Observe howit feels while it’s present (Is it constant?Does it intensify?), then be aware of howit leaves your awareness (Instantly?Immediately replaced by another thought?)If you can, be aware also of the spacebetween your thoughts. What does thatfeel like? Again, when you’re finished, takea deep breath in, let go and move thespoke to the final quarter.

GETTING CONNECTED

This section is about interconnectedness,so spend some time reflecting on andfeeling the connection you have with yourfamily, friends and the communities you’rea part of (your neighbourhood, workplaceand clubs you attend). Next, expand thisawareness to include your county, countryand eventually the entire globe. Finally,extend thoughts of loving kindness bothto your communities and yourself. Finishwith a deep inhale and exhale.The wheel of awareness is a quietlypowerful meditation and, as you practiseit over time, you’ll begin to deeplyappreciate that you are not your thoughtsor your emotions, but the one whoobserves them.

SHELF HELP Q

Each issue, we bring you the best advice from the self-help classics.

This month we look at The Dramaof Being a Child by Alice Miller(Virago, £9.99 )

In a nutshell: Originally titled, TheDrama of the Gifted Child, Milleroutlines the emotional impact ofbeing highly sensitive as a child. Ifthat sounds like you, you may havebeen so attuned to your parents’expectations that you tried to be thechild they wanted at the cost of yourown needs. Still seeking externalapproval, you lose your sense of self.

A nugget: ‘In order to becomewhole we must try, in a long process,to discover our own personal truth, atruth that may cause us pain beforegiving us a new sphere of freedom.’

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