Guided Relaxation & Meditation
August 10, 2022 at 1:00 PM to 1:30 PM
|Audience:||Staff and Faculty|
Looking for a break from all the doings of the day? Come rest and be guided in a 25-minute relaxation practice, including breath awareness.
This is for you if:
- You’d like to pop in when you’re able for a simple head-to-toe relaxation with some breath awareness/mindfulness meditation.
- You desire an opportunity for a consistent micro rest and recharge. Napping is not only welcome, but highly encouraged.
- You don’t necessarily want to engage or have your camera on. Mics will be muted and cameras will be off by default. Just sit back and relax – literally!
- Drop in Wednesdays from June 8 to August 31*
- The guided portion will take place from 1pm sharp to 1:25pm, however you’re welcome to join as early as 12:55pm for a relaxing soundscape/transition time, and stay until 1:30pm for the same.
- *Note, there won’t be sessions on July 27 and August 3. Access to audio recordings will be provided.
Where & How:
- Registration is available at the bottom of this page and is ongoing until the last session.
- Once registered, you’ll receive the Zoom link which will be the same for every session.
- Join when you can. There is no need to confirm attendance and there won’t be any communications sent out (unless due to unforeseen cancellation).
What Informs the Offerings
Contemplative practices entered Heather’s awareness in 2004. In the throes of grief, she found solace in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Buddhist wisdom teachings which planted seeds for practices that would find her later in life. In 2008, she began learning about stress and the limbic system, as well as how visualization and deep breathing techniques can interrupt our programmed stress reactions, thus offering a degree of choice in how we respond when triggered. The positive changes she experienced internally and in relationships were significant enough to keep going.
In 2009 Heather was introduced to the work of Stephen Levine through his book, “A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last”. The experiment helped to root more deeply some of the earlier teachings, as well as provide a framework for what would become a regular practice of “living with death on her shoulder”. It also introduced her to the art of finding meaningful ways to meet pain and loss in preparation for the inevitable. She went on to engage in a variety of non-western healing modalities, including the exploration of non-ordinary states of consciousness through techniques such as Vipassana meditation, Yoga (not only the physical postures), plant medicine, hypnotherapy, trance journey, ecstatic dance, somatic experiencing, and sacred sound. Along the way, she was graced with many teachers and guides that helped bridge gaps and bolster her self-directed study.
In 2015, Heather became drawn to an active meditation technique widely referred to as breathwork and began regularly participating in conscious-connected breathing circles. In particular, the Holotropic Breathwork protocol designed by Dr. Stanislov Grof proved not only an integrative practice grounded in both science and spirit (which pleased both of her brain’s hemispheres!) but also a meaningful convergence of many of her interests – the effects of trauma & chronic stress on the nervous system, western/non-western perspectives on mental health & disease, neuroplasticity, depth psychology, near-death/shared-death experiences and other psychic phenomena, mysticism, shamanism, and the healing potential of aligning one’s rhythms with cycles of Nature.
Breathwork is really the key that unlocked the door to Heather’s own middle path, as it is woven from the same thread which weaves through many original spiritual traditions and it has the potential to offer accessible, direct experience with the ineffable numinous to which so many religions (and quantum physics) point. Despite initially feeling fed by other cultural practices, it felt misaligned for Heather to lean primarily on wisdom traditions not associated with her ancestry. This was in part due to the recognition that she lacked extensive experience with the entirety of any given tradition, and in part due to a growing awareness of the cultural appropriation running rampant in New Age spiritual communities. Since exploring more deeply her Celtic and Norse roots and (re)discovering the traditional medicines of her ancestors, she takes refuge in breathwork as part of her spiritual practice.
Like all of us, Heather is a multi-faceted creature made up of many things. As a pagan, explorer of inner worlds, grief practitioner, artist, support worker, teacher, and recovering perfectionist, she is dedicated to the ongoing learning/unlearning of what it means to be human, and what it means to be in right relationship with our human and non-human kin. For the past five years, she has been refining all of what has helped to heal the wounds of developmental trauma and dominant cultural conditioning, as well as what has helped to disrupt the programming that can keep us bound in narrow perspectives and unhealthy patterns.
Although well-versed in these areas, Heather claims no complete expertise and is wary of any teacher who doesn’t ultimately point you back to yourself, to the inner guide and knowing that is ever present, although sometimes obscured. She places an emphasis on the practice of “getting out of our own way”, shifting from head-to-heart, and trusting in the body’s inherent capacity to communicate/express what it needs. With the power of presence, Heather humbly holds space and offers up reminders of what you already know at the deepest levels of being. Her hope is that sharing these practices will serve to support others in getting to know themselves, and recognizing their own unique gifts and medicine in the name of co-creating the world our hearts know is possible.
To register, please email Sam Munro.