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Yoga for Meditation

Foundation Practices for Yoga and Meditation

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Foundation Practices for Yoga and Meditation

The course draws on the teachings I received during my training at Mandala Yoga Ashram and explores basic yet profoundly effective breathing practices, movement, relaxation and meditation techniques which provide a solid foundation for regular practice.

The course is suitable for complete beginners as well as more experienced practitioners and teachers who wish to share the practices with their students.

Breathing Practices - Breath Awareness, Abdominal Breathing, Full Yogic Breath

Breath awareness helps settle the mind and is a useful technique to develop and maintain presence. Breath awareness also helps us recognise the relationship between how we are breathing and how we are feeling.

Once we recognise this relationship we can influence how we feel, by applying the technique of abdominal breathing. Abdominal breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and the natural relaxation response conducive to good physical and mental health, rest, recovery and healing. This helps ease the symptoms of stress-related disorders and mental health conditions.

Once we are familiar with abdominal breathing we can move on to the full yogic breath.

Movement - Joint Releasing, Hip Opening, Spinal Movements and Core Strengthening

Asana practice helps to improve suppleness, strength and stamina. Through regular practice one's range of movement will increase, and one may feel lighter and more energetic as physical tensions are released. Western yoga practitioners tend to find traditional meditation postures uncomfortable. This is mainly due to a lack of back strength and hip mobility. Verse 2.46 of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali; ‘sthira sukham asanam’ reminds us that meditation postures should be steady and comfortable; our sitting postures should be active and light rather than rigid and forced. Asana practice will help you to sit in a comfortable and steady posture, and is helpful as a preparatory practice before pranayama or meditation. If the body is free from physical distraction and the mind is settled then the practices will be more effective.

The Joint Releasing Series helps to loosen up the joints and also strengthen and lengthen weak and tight muscles. The movements help to improve the circulation and are therefore recommended for both arthritic and cardiovascular conditions. Furthermore the series serves as a foundation for all asana, and helps develop body and breath awareness as well as a meditative approach.

The Hip Opening Sequence explores the 7 different movements of the hip joint; flexion, internal rotation, external rotation, circumduction, abduction, adduction and extension in one simple sequence, which if practiced regularly brings strength and stability to the hips as well as increased mobility and agility.

The Spinal Movements Sequence explores the 7 movements of the spine; rotation - twist to the left, rotation - twist to the right, flexion - curving forward, extension - curving backward, lateral flexion - side bend to the left, lateral flexion - side bend to the right and axial extension - lengthening the spine in one simple sequence. If practised regularly this sequence brings greater flexibility and range of spinal movement.

The Back and Abdominal Strengthening Sequence explores safe and effective core strengthening techniques to develop core strength. The sequences are progressive so there is a starting place for all abilities. Instruction is given for supported practice as well as more challenging work. If practiced regularly this sequence brings greater back and abdominal strength.

All the movements above can be slow and gentle and are therefore suitable for complete beginners and those with conditions for which strenuous exercise is not advised. The movements are also suitable for more able and experienced practitioners who may wish to work more strongly.

Relaxation - Yoga Nidra and Yoga Nyasa

The practice of Yoga Nidra is a deep relaxation which can lead to conscious sleep. The practice is particularly useful for those who have trouble sleeping as it is said to be more effective than sleep. The practice of Yoga Nyasa also induces a state of deep relaxation.

Meditation Techniques - Kaya sthairyam, Antar Mouna Stage One, Antar Mouna Stage Two

The simplest meditation instruction is to sit quietly in a state of awareness. To begin with this is difficult, due to physical discomfort and mental distraction. Kaya Sthairyam helps us learn to be with our physical experience. Antar Mouna Stage One helps us learn to be with our external experience and Antar Mouna Stage Two helps us learn to be with our internal experience. They are simply tools and techniques which we can use to enable us to sit quietly. Where we have a state of awareness, free from distraction, a state of meditation becomes possible.

The meditative technique of Kaya sthairyam (body stillness) helps us to overcome physical discomfort by using the physical experience as the focal point for practice. The technique is excellent preparation for meditation practice and a useful practice in it's own right.

Antar Mouna Stage One is a traditional meditative technique designed to overcome external distraction. Antar means inner, Mouna means silence. It is a form of sensory withdrawal (pratyahara). By paying attention to the sensory experience, the mind gradually withdraws from that experience creating a state of inner silence.

Antar Mouna Stage Two is designed to develop a deeper understanding of the workings of the mind and also to help us learn to be with our own internal experience, just as Kaya Sthairyam helps us learn to be with our own physical experience and Antar Mouna Stage One helps us learn to be with the external experience. During Antar Mouna Stage Two we use thoughts as the focal point for our attention, in the same way we use physical sensation as the focal point in Kaya Sthairyam and the sensory experience as the focal point in Antar Mouna Stage One.
Antar Mouna Stage Two helps us become aware of how the mind continually produces thoughts. This helps to overcome the notion, that somehow, during meditation, thoughts should stop. Instead we learn to acknowledge whatever arises within our own mental landscape.

Create Your Own Routines or use the Practice Sessions I use on my Courses.

Feel free to create your own classes and routines from the practices offered or simply follow the suggested Practice Sessions I use on my one day workshops, weekend courses and longer retreats. You could begin with breath awareness or abdominal breathing and continue with one or more of the joint releasing, hip opening, spinal movement or core strengthening videos. It's up to you what you do. You can then conclude with one of the relaxations and /or meditation techniques.

For many people it can be challenging trying to develop a meditation practice, both physically and mentally. Breath work, movement and relaxation will not only help you achieve better physical and mental health, it is also the perfect preparation for meditation.

This online resource is suitable for complete beginners as well as more experienced practitioners.

"Johnny Glover completed our two year Teacher Training Course at Mandala Yoga Ashram from 2005 - 2007. He is trained in both the Yogic and Buddhist traditions and the courses he proposes to give promise to be an excellent opportunity for those who participate and who want to go deeper into Yoga."

Swami Nishchalananda, Director, Mandala Yoga Ashram.

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Acknowledgments to my teachers:

Yoga Therapy and Training Centre;
Marie Quail, Michael McCann (Spandan) and Valerie McCrory.
Mandala Yoga Ashram;
Swami Nishchalananda Saraswati, Swami Krishnapremananda Saraswati, Black Feather Moon, Vimuktananda.


Your Instructor


Johnny Glover
Johnny Glover

Johnny Glover has been teaching yoga and meditation since 2001. He first qualified as a Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Therapy and Training Centre (YTTC) in Northern Ireland where he later qualified as a Yoga Therapist. Wishing to deepen his experiential understanding of yoga he went on to complete a two-year teaching training programme at Mandala Yoga Ashram in Wales.

Johnny is aware of the personal transformation that meditation and mindfulness can bring about and is grateful for the guidance from his main teachers who are Swami Nishchalananda Saraswati and Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche. Johnny shares the practices with an open heart, encouraging participants to do what they can with awareness and acceptance.

Johnny has been delivering yoga for meditation weekends and courses at Kagyu Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and Centre for World Peace and Health since 2003.


Course Curriculum



Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you keep your annual subscription - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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