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Sean Oakes

hatha, tantra, raja yoga – the body in the body

This month in Sweat+Study, we’re reading the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a 15th century text by the Indian sage Svatmarama. It is a manual for yoga practice that starts, like Patañjali’s Yoga Sutra, with ethical practices (yama), observances (niyama), physical postures (asana), and breath control (pranayama), but then instead of simply offering a sequence of concentration-based meditation practices as Patañjali does (pratyahara, …

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Satipatthana Sutta, april 2012. video

satipatthana sutta, April 2012 Video of 4 classes on the Satipatthana Sutta, the Buddha’s instructions on the practice of mindfulness. This is the core text that teaches meditation and the path of insight in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, and is a beautifully clear and inspiring guide for practice. We’re reading Anālayo’s translation (you can download the text here). (The sound …

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Vegetarian Buddhist? How unusual.

Despite having strong personal feelings on the topic and I think a pretty clear head about it culturally, I haven’t written about vegetarianism in modern yoga and Buddhist practice in this forum, though I have in others. I’m inspired to now because of a question that was asked at the end of a training I just finished, and because meat-eating …

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Theory+practice

I’ve been loving my Sweat and Study classes lately, and the discussions we’ve been having, ranging from formal meditation to how to bring wisdom to conflicts in everyday life. At the heart of these conversations is a desire, expressed by many of the participants, to integrate our practice of yoga and mindfulness into all our activities, work, and relationships. It …

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Mindfulness = intimacy

The Foundations of Mindfulness Sutra (Satipatthana Sutta) is the core Buddhist text that discusses meditation and the path to Insight. The word “mindfulness” isn’t so exciting sounding, is it? It’s the standard word we’ve inherited from the early British translators for a skill that the Buddha praises as the “direct path for the surmounting of sorrow… and the realization of …

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“It’s like this.”

Suddenly today, it feels like spring. There’s a warm breeze through the back door, and the sky is bright clear blue. Lots of pleasant sense contact, mindfulness might note. Yum. Often nowadays, especially in busy periods where I have less time for formal meditation practice (on the cushion, on the mat), my practice gets really simple. (Maybe it should be …

“It’s like this.” Read More »

"It's like this."

Suddenly today, it feels like spring. There’s a warm breeze through the back door, and the sky is bright clear blue. Lots of pleasant sense contact, mindfulness might note. Yum. Often nowadays, especially in busy periods where I have less time for formal meditation practice (on the cushion, on the mat), my practice gets really simple. (Maybe it should be …

"It's like this." Read More »

State of the Union, 2012

As I write these words, on the train coming home from school (Davis), the president is giving his State of the Union address. Since I can’t watch or listen to him speak, I’ll offer my own version. I’m sure this is exactly what he’s saying: Our union is in a dire state. Nothing new. But what does “union” mean, anyway? …

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Resolutions, renunciation, Ganesha

As we begin the new year, many of us are making resolutions – often to improve some aspect of our personality or habits. This resolution-making is an aspect of the yogic practice called sankalpa, which is a Sanskrit word often translated as “intention”. Intention is so important on our path as yogis that the Buddha included it as an entire …

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Occupy, karma, results?

Wednesday tens of thousands of people gathered peacefully for the first General Strike in Oakland in 65 years, filled the streets, and shut down the port. People around the world noticed, and many stood in solidarity with the Occupy movement here. Signs appeared in Tahrir Square in Cairo supporting Occupy Oakland! I wasn’t at the port yesterday, but heard the …

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