The Heart of a Revolution A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to study with Noah Levine, the original maverick Dharma Punk, founder of the Buddhist community Against the Stream, and iconoclastic promoter of compassion, authenticity, and joy. Noah began the daylong intensive at Kripalu by discussing his background and practice. As I listened, [...]
an excerpt from Devotion: A Memoir, by Dani Shapiro After returning home from Kripalu, I promised myself that each day I would practice metta meditation for at least fifteen minutes. Having been on retreat for three days, I didn’t think this was a particularly tall order. Surely I had the discipline to sit still for [...]
According to the ancient Vedic texts of India, the heart is the source of real feeling and knowing—the very seat of consciousness. Yet we can sometimes keep our hearts so well guarded that true feeling and knowing become inaccessible. The Pali word metta is most often translated as loving-kindness, and the practice of metta meditation helps [...]
Do you suffer from anxiety, poor digestion, or lack of focus? When life’s demands overwhelm us, Angela Wilson, Manager of Evidence-Based Yoga Curriculum for Kripalu’s Institute for Extraordinary Living, explains in her R&R retreat lecture Cultivating Inner Strength, our nervous system gets out of balance. Through the practices of yoga meditation, and mindfulness, however, we can build resilience in order to be fully aware of all our experiences.
As Angela explains, there are two main branches of the nervous system. There’s the sympathetic nervous system, which activates the fight-or-flight response in reaction to stressful situations. It’s a hot, reactive state, which increases heart rate and primes the body for action. The other branch is the parasympathetic nervous system, which is activated when the body is relaxed. The parasympathetic supports a cooling, restful and state. It soothes the system, aids in digestion, and can be fostered through yoga practice.