Zenspirations

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Mindfulness for Wellbeing

Mindfulness is more than meditation - it's a way of life! You can learn a range of meditation and mindfulness methods to improve your wellbeing on the next 6-week course. Learning ways to feel better within and give yourself a toolkit of methods to use in your every day life. - Give yourself an hour a week and 30 minutes a day to listen within- Find the space you need [...]

What is a Koan?

A koan is a word, phrase or story used in Zen practice to bring about an awakening. Contemplating the question or phrase, given to you by your teacher, leads you beyond the dualistic mind to a sense of completeness. On the 8-week 'Mindfulness for Insight' course, we introduce you to koan practice, by encouraging you to sit in meditation asking the question "Who am I?" You simply sit, being aware [...]

Mindful Movement

Mindful movement or meditation in action is the perfect transition between sitting meditation and daily life. It helps us start to bring our meditation practice with us into our day and into our activities. Moving, stretching, breathing, being aware of each motion, each breath, staying aware and focussed as we take it slowly and mindfully. Just allow thoughts and emotions to come and go as we focus on our body [...]

What is Zen Taiso?

Zen means 'meditation' and Taiso is Japanese for 'exercise', so Zen Taiso is a way of practicing 'moving meditation' or 'mindful movement'. Taiso is often practiced in Zen temples, as part of their daily exercise, as it helps to prepare the body for sitting meditation. Methods may include Zen Yoga, breathing into the hara and movements for the meridian lines in the body, allowing energy to flow. Taiso can be practiced [...]

Mantra’s in meditation

The word mantra means ‘mind protection’, used in a similar way to an affirmation, it uses repeated sounds to bring the mind into balance. Mantra's can aid deeper states of meditation, they can be spoken, chanted or said quietly in your mind. Matching your mantra to your breath – breathing in, pause, breathing out, means that your mantra can be practiced in meditation as well as while you walk, wait [...]

A lotus for you…

My first introduction to mindfulness was through books by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, such as "Peace is every step" and "Peace is every breath", they offer wonderful examples of daily mindfulness practices, such as walking meditation and washing the dishes, as well as deeper methods of loving speech and deep compassionate listening. In Peace is every step, he contemplates flowers and garbage and how one turns into another. "If [...]

Zen mini retreat – celebrating the Sangha

Sangha means community and in Buddhism it is one of the three jewels, where we take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma (the teachings) and the Sangha (a community of like minded people practicing together.) Sangha Day is a Buddhist holiday celebrated in monastic communities around the world. It is celebrated on the full moon of the first lunar month, in 2020 this is on 7 February. Our Zen mini retreat [...]

Calming our inner fear

The most terrifying thing I have ever done, is not something that most people would think of as terrifying, it’s simply facing the parts of me that scare me, the bits of me that bring up fear, vulnerability, panic, terror in everyday life. If I move away from my safe space, home, loved ones or my known comfort zone, fear sets in and my body reacts as if something terrible [...]

What is Zen Yoga?

Zen yoga is a term that describes a variety of physical and energetic practices that can be found within the Zen Buddhist tradition. In Japan there are many forms of movement that have been practiced for hundreds of years, influenced by the Chinese movement of Dao Yin, Japanese monks practiced similar forms of movement or exercise such as Do In, Zen Taiso and Do Zen. Do Zen means moving meditation and [...]

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