Saturday, December 1, 2007

Meditation and Yoga

As I begin this Blog, a lot of thoughts have been going through my mind about where this all began in my life।
In 1975 I was working in the Genesee Hospital in Rochester, NY, and had just bought a house in a residential area near Cobbs Hill Park. Just up Monroe Avenue I had a dancewear shop on a block filled with trendy shops and restaurants. Many of the shop owners had moved to Rochester because of the Zen Center, started by Roshi Philip Kapleau.

My studies their were fanned by an intense desire to know more about myself and gradually I began to see how my actions in the world were having rippling effects। All did not go smoothly for me, more on that later, but I developed a real affinity with Toni Packer who was to take over the Zen Center when Roshi retired. The Law of Unintended Consequences would play with that move as it did in my life personal life for several years...

Richard Squailia in morning Surya Namaskar

I continued with 7 and 10 day silent retreats with Toni, Thich Nhat Hanh and others for many years. The solitude of meditation was so inviting to me that being silent for that period refreshed me and always gave me fresh insights into how I operated as a human being. Still does.

When I moved to Pennsylvania in the lat 1980's I began to sit, meditate and study with Quakers. I found it a wonderful experience and reconciled many issues from my Christian religious training early in life. Most of that healing came through my 2 year participation in the School of the Spirit, a Quaker school of spiritual direction. I became a recorded Quaker Minister and worked for several years in and around Philadelphia bringing meditation and yoga to communities and health care organizations. I presented programs and workshops on Nurturing the Spirit in Recovery and Mindfulness in Recovery for 12-step communities and institutions, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction programs in hospitals, as well as Spiritual Direction for many members of Quaker Meetings and 12-step groups.

Around the early 1990's my physical condition deteriorated from many accidents skiing, motorcycling and horseback riding.; knees, back and shoulders were not functioning well. It's at that point that Iyengar Yoga came into my life. While I had done Yoga for meditation for many years, I never looked to it for therapuetic aid. Once I began, I saw big changes in my levels of daily pain and suffering. As an active person, this was a great combination of contemplation and action. The movement and focus on alignment gave me a missing link for my spiritual life.

Today I'm not as active in community building as I was, but take an interest in helping others in a low key way. My teaching has attracted an intense student group who practice as hard as I ever did. The saying, "there are no coincidences" certainly applies to the coming together of the current teacher/student pairing at Bella Grazia - my studio in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.

Together with my partner, Donna, I practice Yoga and Meditation and look for ways to help others bring the practice into daily life.

It's a good life.