Skillful Means Podcast

Skillful Means Podcast

Spiritual nourishment for yoga practitioners and teachers. Experienced teachers Jennifer O’Sullivan and Sarah Jane Shangraw discuss the ways in which the Buddhadharma, Taoism, and spiritual psychology enrich and expand a yoga practice. <br><br>Drawing on their own inquiries and inspired by their teachers — including Sarah and Ty Powers, Don and Amba Stapleton, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield, and Tara Brach — Jen and Sarah Jane discuss opportunities for awakening amidst challenging, 21st-century life. Along the way, they model a modern, spiritual friendship.... Show More

Episodes

January 16, 2020 49 min

Yin yoga, the slow and quiet approach to asana, flows against the current of mainstream yoga practices these days. With this episode, we urge you to try it based on the ways in which it bolstered us during challenging times.

Not to dismiss the physical and energetic benefits of the practice, here we’re talking about an often unspoken aspect of Yin Yoga, that the poses serve as accessible containers for mindfulness me... Read more

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January 2, 2020 26 min

Metta, or loving-kindness, is the first of a series of meditation practices offered by the Buddha to cultivate the four qualities of love: metta (loving-kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy) and upeksa (equanimity).  Practicing loving-kindness (metta bhavana) begins a process that, when mature, leads to a more accepting, kindly, and caring relation... Read more

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Maintaining practice is a must for yoga and meditation teachers, as well as serious practitioners of all sorts who are interested in spiritual growth. Establishing and maintaining the habit of practicing regularly is often hard won. It doesn’t take much to disrupt a daily routine, so what happens when holidays arrive? What happens when we travel for work or go on vacation? How does our practice life fare when we are among family... Read more

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December 5, 2019 23 min

This relaxing Body Scan practice is inspired by a Buddhist teaching called Mindfulness of the Reality of the Body that appears in the First Foundation of Mindfulness. It's designed to help cultivate non-attachment to the body and to demonstrate one of the Buddha's most fundamental teachings: impermanence.

Jennifer begins this episode with a short talk on the context and intention behind the Body Scan practice... Read more

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November 21, 2019 13 min

In this bonus episode and companion to Episode 6, Sarah Jane takes you through a guided RAIN practice. Experience for yourself this transformative method for reframing your relationships with your feelings while cultivating self-compassion.

Skillful Means Podcast offers these guided practices to help you deepen into your yoga and mindfulness journey.

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November 20, 2019 39 min

RAIN (Recognize, Accept, Investigate, Nurture) is a mindfulness meditation method developed by western Insight Meditation teachers to support practitioners in skillfully dealing with difficult emotions. RAIN can be used as an antidote to obstacles when they arise during meditation practice, as a practice in and of itself, in partnership, or off-the-cushion as a means to simply and mindfully pause during a challenging situation.<... Read more

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November 7, 2019 17 min

In this practice episode, Sarah Jane guides you through the practice of walking meditation. You can expect instructions, reminders, and several periods of silence for you to focus on the experience.

A formal meditation practice doesn't have to be static. Walking meditation is particularly helpful when you're feeling restless, but it also takes your practice off the cushion and into daily life. And the Buddha himsel... Read more

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October 23, 2019 38 min

In #4, we discuss what it means to advance in a yoga practice. Through the lens of the koshas--concentric layers of a human’s identity described in the Upanishads--you can view advancement as moving from the gross to the subtle, from the physical to the mental.

We unpack the koshas and their related practice methods from the outside in, from asana for anamaya kosha (the physical or “food” body), to pranayama for the pranic... Read more

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Breath awareness is the heart of a mindfulness practice, a gift that brings the mind and body together in the present moment. This simple, yet profound, meditation will help you relax while also boosting concentration and focus.

You can practice with this meditation by itself. The short format also makes it ideal for meditating before a yoga practice to help you settle the mind and cultivate a state of inner listenin... Read more

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September 29, 2019 38 min

In Episode 2, we unpack “skillful means”: teachings and methods that support a practitioner’s journey on the path toward enlightenment. Serious yoga practitioners and teachers know this both includes and goes beyond asana and pranayama. So, what other means can we take up to wake up?

According to the Buddha, there is no one prescription. In Buddhism, skillful means (Pali: upaya) are whatever is expedient to continuing alon... Read more

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September 29, 2019 43 min

In Episode 1, we start at the beginning, with the phenomenon that gave rise to the shared project that is Skillful Means Podcast: spiritual friendship. 

In Buddhism, spiritual friends (Pali: Kalyāṇa-mitta, Sanskrit: -mitra) provide support and encouragement along the path. They may be monastic, lay peers, or teacher/student pairs. These relationships are fertile ground for better understanding the nature of the mind while ... Read more

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Welcome to Skillful Means Podcast.

Through the lens of Insight Yoga, hosts Sarah Jane Shangraw and Jennifer O'Sullivan will offer conversations on a variety of topics including:

  • an emphasis on the quieter, yin aspects of practice
  • nourishing the energy body
  • weaving in meditation with asana, and
  • inquiry methods, particularly Internal Family Systems
  • Launching: Late September 201... Read more

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