Breath of Clarity

Pranava Teacher Training Journal Entries- February 2017


Today, I meditated at the gym from 8:12-8:17 am with no music, but headphones were in. It was a similar situation to Monday. Both days I listened to my body. However, today, I did the full 30 minute run. It’s intersting that during my greeting with the desk worker yesterday I didn’t mention I was tired but today I did. I acknowledged I was tired today and the physical practice was more advanced. I am working on seeing the discomfort and distinguishing it from pain. The meditation started off rocky in the initial minute. I saw all the thoughts, related specifically to ego i.e. my journal words, and then once I realized they were ego reated I used a new strategy of cutting them off and repeating “ok ok ok”. It was a no-bullshit type approach and it actually worked well. It didn’t feel as though I was escaping a pain that was realisitic because the types of racing thoughts were not about present pain/discomfort but rather unnecessary mental impressions that were giving into anxiety about the future. The purpose of doing the meditation at this time today was to focus my mind before doing a 20-minute class presentation 45 minutes later. So, I didn’t want to focus on the future at all in that session and that experience today taught me that there’s never a time I want to focus on the future during meditation. Focusing on anything not present is just as unproductive as focusing on destructive types of thought. Also, “Bold as Love” by Jimi Hendrix was rad awesome. went to Hethyr’s 5:30 pm vinyasa asana practice today and ahd a no-pressure mentality and it was great. I had a more narrowed point fous only seeing a few things (squeezing towards midline, weight out of the hips and gaze). Pigeon felt sensational today but not overwhelming because losing pressure mentality and I listening to cars during savasana. Pranayama was solid. i would think about other things but used the voice and breath to bring back focus.


Today, I meditated from 12:30-12:40 after a thirty minute tredmill full run. Playlist for the run was: (in reverse order) Lying in the Hands of God by Dave Matthews, Grace is Gone by Dave Matthews, Count me In from Early Winters, Crush by Dave Matthews, No Diggity by Blackstreet, Tessallate by Alt J, Fix You by Coldplay (Aylen Remix), and When it Comes by Tyler Hilton. The run went so well; the refreshing quality was potent. I noticed that there wasn’t quite a balance between effort and ease- it felt ease dominated. However, it can also be true that I normally exert too much effort so today potentially striked the optimal balance. With a different mentality in the past, I definitely would’ve kept running overtime except I didn’t want to be reflecting on it later and see it as a manic mode. Rather, it was all about building groundedness. By the way, I write about my runs in the journal because the strength building I get from this workout transplates into the asana practice and endorphins from running impact my mental game in ife and especially meditation. Also noteworthy, I had just finished a crucial phone conversation that totally transformed a relation dynamic with my dad that was related to financial independence crucially liberating myself from a strong component of manipulative tactics my dad practices. along with abusive behavior due to alcoholism. So, the conversation was important because it helps create a more loving relationship between us and makes it so my dad can self heal. So, after the gym run, I went to the back of the gym and sat cross-legged with my back against the wall, headphones in, no music playing, and made my single point focus the workout machine sounds. I recognized the machine’s comparison to the human body (my human body) as it is essentially a machine. Then, I made the sounds derived from listening to a stranger’s footsteps on the machine so closely. I also thought about how it felt good to run and celebrate self worth and being capable rather than feeling like a workout needs to fix me. I also thought about how my breakfast was healthy and substancial this mornig. I returned to listening to machines and celebrating my bod function a few times and everytime I thought about how much time was left I thanked myself for bumping it to 10 minutes.


I meditated from 9:40-9:50 with my mom in Steamboat Springs house upstairs. My single-point focus was my brothers voices, which started downstairs, then they travelled upstairs and back downstairs. My brother James’s voice sounded different from usual. I also noticed my brother Will’s noises as he got ready for skiing in the room nextdoor. Then, they went downstairs and played the TV and then their own guitar music. I used the heater noises as my single point focus for when there was no sounds from the bodies. However, I want to work on choosing one single-point focus and then sitting with the silence when it happens and watching the silence’s subtitles super closely. The initial five minutes not much comtemplative thought happened. I think it’s because my single-point focus had a lot going on and then it diminished when Will started to get ready and James turned on the TV. I started to think about how much time was left and if my alarm would malfunction. It would’ve been helpful in retrospect to observe myself having the thought about the malfunction rather than being consumed by it in the moment. I enjoyed my conversations with my brother James after the meditation was over. I also felt like asking my mom to meditate with me was a way to empower and enhance vibes between us all in the space. Today marks two weeks since smoking weed. The last night I did was the journal entry about cooking chicken and carrots in Dillon, CO. Last night, when I arrived at the Steamboat house, my brother James was the only one at the house (others hadn’t arrived from out of town yet) and I spent the whole night relaxing and watching movies and cooking with him as he smoked weed and oil every hour. It was tough to be sober around that, but I already committed days earlier I would wait until Friday on the ski mountain to smoke again. So that’s what I’m doing. I think it’s important to do the Pranava journal entries sober so that’s why I did it this morning. That’s all for now.

Today I sat at a table with my mom and looked at 1.5 from Inside the Yoga Sutras. We talked about how it illustrates being one with what is present. If we see ourselves as separate from it, we don’t experience samadhi to its fullest. We expanded to discuss it’s important to feel pure light at our cores and recognize it. There is no ego. There is a radiant energetic love. It is alive. It is what is true. For asana practice I did seated forward fold with legs together straight ahead. I narrated in my thoughts, feel the calves and maintain a back that is aligned. I peddled it out similar to the way we practice downward dog. The moments yoga concepts thoughtfully floated into my consciousness were so awesome. I connected to the kundalini playlist today and it went well. The day goes on so casually and it is a loving vibe. Skiing felt a great balance between effort and ease because I felt physical exertion but simultaneously strong. That is what meditation is all about- it makes us feel capable similar to the preceding example but rather pertained to the mind. Moments feel good if I focus my energy centered around compassion. Moments are chill that way.


Today, I skiied and then ate snacks and then ventured to Strawberry Hot Springs Starting the first few lists I listened to my body and did a mix between exerting and flexing and going fast vs. leisurely floating across the snow. Per usual, James already smoked before we left the house, but I spent the beginning sober skiing and feeling its substancial difference from yesterday. There was a point where my brother complained about being sore after the initial few runs, and I noticed myself being harsh on him in my mental impressions and so I decided to say I was exhasuted as well and didn’t challenge him so much outloud. We ended up splitting up from him (James and I stayed together) and went into these rad open trees. James suggested smoking around 12:30 and I agreed. I didn’t get as high as yesterday because we smoked a chillum rather than a joint and took less hits. The setting was also so beautiful in itself. Around 5pm we went to the Hot Springs. Oh wait! Also about skiing, there were a few moments where I brought asana stretches into the ski day i.e. twisting as I got onto the ski chair and breathing with it. I incorporated more yoga asana into the Hot Springs experience. I focused on my breath as I switched from the super hot/freezing cold pools. I did shoulder stretches in the hot pool by holding onto rocks, lengthening arms and twisting in the opposite direction. I did a two minute meditation- brought my shoulders just above the water and leaned by head all the way back so my ears were in the water. My single-point focus was the people’s voices in the hot springs pool. I wasn’t listening to what they were saying. It was tricky because I was also counting my own seconds and it was difficult to tilt the head back for longer. The last fifteen seconds, I opened my eyes and studied the medium-dark blue’s sky color. There was a cool moment at the hot springs when I told myself I could dive into the freezing cold section as long as I had my breath. And I did. Capable wooo. I just meditated six more minutes and my single-point focus was my brothers’ and mom’s voices and the TV made it challenging especially because they were watching mulan. It felt good to laugh at a few jokes they made. I’m working on being less self-judgemental about “how well” I’m meditating because it’s ok to see thoughts and let them go.


Today, I meditated from 12:16-12:25 upstairs in my bedroom and used the laundry machine’s sounds sourced from the hallway as my single-point focus. It worked well because all I heard was water being dumped into the clothes for the initial nine minutes and it was super soothing because that is one of my favorite sounds. I also had my back against the wall as a significant aid. I learned from today there was ways to design my meditation sessions where I set myself up for a good experience so that the ease/effort balance can be achieved and to minimize self-judgement. I also had a moment where I saw a thought fully and let it go. I forgot what the thought content was but remember doing that once in the session. I had some happy realization moments while stoned yesterday and the day before. However, I have also been working on not idealizing things in my perspective because it interferes with seeing accurate reality. At this point, I’m not changing the moments I idealize, just noticing when I do and I found it happens a lot. I want to strike a middle path between feeling no gratitude vs. idealizing, where the middle equals gratitude. I’m also working on not judging my brother and dad with their substance intake but also not joining them. I already got consistent with not joining my dad ever (it’s a boundary), and I minimize judgement by seeing his pain. However, with my brother it’s harder. I just recently focused on seeing his pain and it’s helping a bit. I noticed today my body feels so much better when I don’t eat junk food. I know it’s true theoretically, but it helps to be reinforced via experience. I am also working on just sitting and doing nothing with people rather than working on homework etc. It’s in progess. Stoked to watch for football player specifically focus in the superbowl this afternoon! I’ll be watching the athlete’s eyes to perceive their focus.


Today, I went to Mike’s 5:30 vinyasa open class. I got there a little rattled mode- feeling a little stressed about a class essay and down from smoking the past few days. However, I resonated a lot with Mike’s pregame talk which foused on unconditional love for the self. A strategy to overcome fluctuating mental states is attaching to a constant self-compassionate attitude rather than mood. I think unconditional self love is especially important on a day like today where my mental process feels a little dry and slow. I was low-pressure during asana practice today. The session felt easy and I appreciate that because it felt aligned with what I needed. I noticed hip pain and practied associating it with unconditional love and that was a great combo. For pranayama, we did inhale (5), hold (5), exhale (5). I’m still working on the same not having other thoughts during it and observing the subtle obstructions closely. Today, it was peaceful, and I wasn’t so hard on myself during moments I thought about other matters. I noticed during pranayama that pranava really served that calming sanctuary recharge purpose that I don’t always notice other days. It was good to just show up for that reason and build habit. When I think about this journal, I get frustrated the entries seem so mood-dependent. I also think feeling deeply is the whole purpose so as long as I’m doing that rock on. side note: I also notice how important being decisive is for me. I’ve been doing it lately moreso often and it builds confidence. I like how yoga offers opportunity to be decisive during the time. For meditation, I sat on my bedroom floor against the wall from 7:42-7:50. I liked my initial decision to make my single-point focus the (non ujii) breath as opposed to noices, roomates were making around the house. I want to listen to myself more when I’m alone rather than other people when I’m alone. That includes music, online social medita, and thinking any sorts of anxious thoughts about my relationships while I’m not in the same physical space as them. I think the meditation went smooth. I just noticed how my blank mind can even cloud a usual good meditation thrill based on objective characteristics. That’s all for now.


Today, I meditated at night from 11:48-11:56. A lot happened during the cafe work shift so I got home at 9:30 and journaled about that. I listened to sad music because I thought it might feel cleansing to cry but everything just feels moreso tensed up and a little inaccessible at the moment. So, I did asana practice doing seated hip opener postures and seated forward folds. It was soothing to listen to “Let it Go” by James Bay (mainstream but helpful lyrics) and sat in the poses for awhile. After, I meditated with my lower back against the bed and my single-point focus was originally the breath, but I changed it right away when I felt a good sensation to simply retunr to “a still mind” is what I label it as in my head. It was whenever I remembered to let my thoughts go. It was this void and I worked on paying close attention to the micro-moment occuring everytime right before I reached the still mind state. I wanted to listen to what it felt like. I compared it to how relieving it feels to return to stability and how everything before that return point is just so damn exhausting. I was identifying sensual characteristics of the still state and working to stay there. I noticed I was more easily able to sense the moment entering the still state when I wasn’t so self-judgemental about following the previous thoughts. Self-judgement is just as ego related as getting excited about being in the still state is. These are both things which inhibit me from staying in the still state and listening to the still state. I think I was less self-judgemental today ebcause I thanked myself a lot for not skipping meditation today. Perhaps, just showing up consistently decreases self-judgement and stability decreases self-judgement. Still thiking about unconditional self love during walks today.