Meditation Unlocked: Understanding and Practice

Teacher: Gary Kraftsow

Dates: Tuesdays, July 11, 18, & 25, 2023

Time: 6 – 9pmET

Where: Online via Willow Street Yoga

Recordings will be available to participants until the end of 2023.

Meditation is an ancient practice, found in all world religious traditions, linking the hearts and minds of practitioners to sources of guidance, inspiration, and/or the Divine.

Dysfunctional patterns at the level of thought, feeling, and behavior create attachment, identification, conflict, and distraction, and are obstacles to finding the peace of that deep connection. The Ancient Yogi-s recognized that the root of these dysfunctional patterns is the conditioned mind. They developed the science of meditation to understand, transform, and ultimately master the mind. Mastering the mind, according to the Ancients, is the path to Self- or God-realization, fulfillment, and ultimate liberation.

Scientific and medical research is now demonstrating the incredible health benefits of meditation for the brain and physiology. When undertaken with sincerity and intention, a Yoga meditation practice can help us transform our dysfunctional patterns so that we may:

  • Understand the mind-body connection and gain the ability to influence and regulate autonomic functions.
  • Recognize and transform deep-rooted patterns that underlie and drive our desires, feelings, thoughts, and behavior.
  • Find happiness and a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
  • Tap into and actualize our higher potentials.

In this course, we will explore the ancient art and science of Meditation, understand its practical relevance for our own lives, and learn the fundamental methods of practice. We will follow Patañjali’s model for inner practice (Antaraṅga Sādhana), presenting meditation in its component parts, we will give examples from different traditions for each of these stages:

  • Dhāraṇā focus, one-pointed attention
  • Dhyānam inquire, reflect, understand, realize
  • Samādhi connection, absorption, communion

The course will include three 3-hour sessions: each session will include a presentation, time for discussion and Q&A, and a full integrated practice with āsana, prāṇāyāma, mantra, and meditation.

Session 1
Understanding the stages of Meditation
Dhāraṇā – mind training, mastering the field of attention
Methods of Dhāraṇā
Using Dhāraṇā in your personal practice

Session 2
Understanding the art of Meditation
Dhyānam  – deepening our capacity for self-reflection
Methods of Dhyānam
Using Dhyānam in your personal practice

Session 3
Understanding the goal of Meditation
Samādhi – merging with something beyond the mind
Understanding traditional methods that support an experience of Samādhi
Using those Samādhi ‘methods’ in your personal practice
Examples in world traditions

Recordings will be open to participants until December 31, 2023.