In June 2020, Sami Aaron, founder of The Resilient Activist, began a weekly online “Resilience and Morning Meditation” class. Participants of the class requested access to the meditation sessions afterward, and this page hosts those (sometimes not very professional!) recordings.
“I come to meditation because it’s like my weekly reset. Even when things get busy and flustered and whatever, if I come here and I do it, it’s like a brand new start to my week and I feel better. It’s my must.” CJ
Want more information about meditation and its benefits? Want to know how meditation can help with Climate Anxiety? Then check out EnviroTip #13: Meditation – A Powerful Resiliency Tool and read all about it.
This first recording is the introduction that was given during the initial session. The classes are recorded, then edited to protect the privacy of the participants. Because of this editing, there are some sections of the recordings that sound a little abrupt or choppy, but the content is intact. The meditations themselves are unedited.
“I come every week because it’s the only place I can go to receive a breathing practice, and I come for the community that I really value.” TH
Chakra Color Meditation
Experience the balancing and activation of your energy centers of the body through their resonant colors.
- Muladhara – Root – Red
- Swadhisthana – Sacral – Orange
- Manipura – Solar plexus – Yellow
- Anahata – Heart – Green (inner) / Rose (outer)
- Vishuddi – Throat – Turquoise blue
- Ajna – Third Eye – Deep Blue/Purple
- Sahasrara – Crown – Purplish White and Gold
- White and Gold surrounding the whole body
Guiding through various colors to release negativity and darkness, embodying nurturing through the metaphor of the colors blue, lavender, white/gold, and green.
Introduction & Orientation – Week 1
This is the introduction and overview of the weekly classes. This intro begins a little abruptly as it was not originally set to be published for the public, but give a listen anyway – lots of good information there!
This week we introduce Brahma Mudra (gentle neck opener) and a simple form of Bhastrika (energizing breath). The body scan is a deep, earth connection. The visualization explores the summer solstice.
In week 3, we add a variation on Brahma Mudra (neck opener). The body scan focuses on deep relaxation of the face and mouth and 3-part breathing with a short pause at each step. The visualization is all about summer.
“I’m here because this is such a perfect little sangha that we have going on Sunday mornings. I meditate a couple of times a day, but this is something special because every week it’s something different and very rewarding to do.” DB
Week 4 came on July 5th after a night of Independence Day celebrations and a morning of degraded air quality and reflection on this due to COVID-19 and systemic racial injustices. This class, emphasizing coming into balance, introduces a beginner’s alternate nostril practice and a body scan that focuses on sensations of the skin.
Week 5 explores appropriate seated postures for meditation, mantras and falling asleep, then deepens the practice of alternate nostril breathing. The meditation focuses on the magic of the body, the breath, and nature.
“I feel like I have friends here even though I’ve never met most of the others in person.” JB
Week 6 expands the alternate nostril practice with the addition of hand position, vishnu mudra. The meditation is enhanced with the addition of a kriya mudra with three finger positions along the thumb. The visualization is an exploration of cold and heat.
Week 7 adds level 2 of bhastrika, an energizing breathing practice, and allows for deeper exploration of alternate nostril breathing. The visualization is to imagine how to bring more nature into the home.
Week 8 includes a cooling breath, sitali, and adds using the left hand to count the number of rounds in alternate nostril breathing. The guided body scan focuses on the spine – from top to bottom, from the back to the front.
“There are not many places I can go and have this type of conversation and feel comfortable.” JG
Week 9 includes an explanation of the terms “meditation” vs. “mindfulness” and adds counting the length of the inhalations and exhalations in alternate nostril breathing. The visualization is a mindfulness journey in your favorite place in nature.
Week 10 goes over ways to include or exclude pets from your meditation sessions – the pros and cons of allowing furry family in the room. We add victorious breathing (ujjayi breath) in a discussion on energy locks (bandhas). The guided visualization focuses on moving awareness from the head to the heart to the belly to deepen the sense of stillness.
“I always wanted to learn more about meditation and I’m grateful for the opportunity to come and learn. I’m getting a lot out of it. I can tell that my ability to deal with circumstances is getting better about certain things.” AM
Week 11 instruction focuses on using meditation techniques for physical illness or pain. We talk about the grief we carry in the lungs and how pranayama practices like alternate nostril and ujjayi (victorious breathing) can help. We added a retention on the inhalation of the ujjayi breath and focused on our sense of communication.
Week 12 explores the various methods of “Silent” meditation through the lens of different schools and teachers. The intro includes information about the practice of ujjayi breath in the presence of medical conditions.
Week 13 discussion is on finding and relating to your teachers from a place of internal truth and what feels safe and supportive. The practice offers a silent practice with a set script. Details of some of the practices shown in this script are explored in earlier meditation introduction sessions.
- Stretch and release tension throughout the body
- 3 rounds – Brahma Mudra – open through the neck and throat – slowly move your head to look over the right shoulder, then the left shoulder, then lift the chin, then drop the chin
- 5 rounds – Alternate nostril
- 3 rounds – Ujjayi breath (victorious breathing) – the sound of an ocean wave – with 3 bandhas (energy locks: pelvic floor, rib cage & throat lock with retention)
- Prana Kriya mudra – hand where the thumb is straight, 3 positions – begin with forefinger touching the tip of the thumb, then move the forefinger to the crease in the thumb, and then curl it down into the base of the thumb – count backward from 27 at each of the 3 positions
- Sit in silence
Week 14 introduces the “Shopkeeper’s” pose – thumbs gently lift the armpits to open the heart center. The visualization introduces rubbing the hands together to be able to feel the pull of the energetic connection between the two hands.
“I like the idea of community also. Especially with the virus and having to stay at home, I realize I’ve felt the need to connect with people. I love the idea of the consciousness, the awareness, and the emphasis on nature. That’s important to me.” DP
Week 15 introduces the ratio breathing for alternate nostril and explains the phrase to “exhale with control.” The guided visualization includes a short Yoga Nidra practice moving awareness through the five senses.
Week 16 introduces Pratyahara, withdrawal of the senses, and includes an in-depth review of the Alternate Nostril practice. Each person guides their own body scan.
Week 17 – Yoga Nidra
Week 17 has the intention of softening higher levels of stress and anxiety through the profound relaxation of Yoga Nidra (yoga sleep). If you’re not familiar with Yoga Nidra, please listed to the Full Introduction below.
Week 18 – Eight Limbs of Yoga
Week 18 gives an overview of the Eight Limbs of Yoga – first as discussion, then as the guided meditation.
Week 19 brings conversation on the wind and how it impacts us and the concept of creating traditions for mourning the loss of trees or other natural areas. We are guided through a heating practice with a variation on the alternate nostril breath, focusing on the right nostril. We introduce the gentle vibrations of chanting – OO – OH – AH – AA – EE – OM. The teachings are about the silence that is always with us and how meditation helps us peel away the petals of everyday life that covers it over.
Week 20, on the first freezing day of the autumn, revisits one version of the energizing breathing practice, Bhastrika. The body scan focuses on warmth and shedding layers of tension, and the silent meditation focused on shedding tension within the image of the leaves dropping from the trees.