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Skillful Means Podcast

Religion & Spirituality Podcasts

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. 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.

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. 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.

Location:

United States

Description:

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. 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.

Language:

English


Episodes

#33 What We’re Turning Toward

1/14/2021
In this episode, Jen and Sarah Jane return from a winter break. Amidst ever increasing levels of upheaval in the States, they discuss their go-to practices and resources that buoy body, heart, and mind. In a casual back and forth conversation, they describe the methods and inspirations they rely on, including hara breathing, the idea of expansiveness, contemplating the elements while walking in a cemetery (yup!), weekly planning, and more. Not ones for navel-gazing, Jen and Sarah Jane put...

Duration:00:57:39

#32 Inner Smile Guided Practice

12/31/2020
In this Taoist meditation, Jen will help you harness the loving energy of a smile and direct it inward for profound sense of self-compassion, joy, and relaxation. In Taoism, it's believed that the energy of negative emotions blocks Qi flow, leading to disease Practicing the inner smile meditation will help you clear out blocked negative energy for improved health, well-being, and longevity. This is an old practice, more recently popularized by the Qigong master Mantak Chia.

Duration:00:18:53

#31 The Only Way Out is Through Guided Practice

12/3/2020
In this talk and guided practice, Sarah Jane describes the benefit of thinking of Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths as Four Ennobling Tasks. As tasks, the teachings become invitations to action. In the case of the first, the invitation is to comprehend dukkha (suffering). How? We practice. Why? Clear comprehension gives rise to liberating insight. But more than orienting our minds toward helpful concepts that support practice, this episode is meant as a gift during a holiday season in which...

Duration:00:22:26

Tuning In, Reaching Out Virtual Retreat Day 3: Loving-Kindness in the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh

11/22/2020
Jen wraps up our first virtual retreat with a practice very dear to her heart. Loving-kindness, or metta, is at the very heart of spiritual practice. By tuning into our common humanity, we not only touch the essence of our true Self, but we are able to recognize and appreciate the Self of others, even difficult people. Consider this a training in radical acceptance. Jen shares her thoughts on retreating and then guides a gentle mindful movement break followed by a loving-kindness practice...

Duration:00:43:54

Tuning In, Reaching Out Virtual Retreat Day 3: Yoga & Compassion

11/21/2020
Welcome to Sunday, the third day of “Tuning In, Reaching Out.” We are maintaining our commitment to practice in part through the connections we’ve made and the energy we’ve felt from you, and we hope you feel the same. Sarah Jane is interested in the active quality of compassion and how it can inform and even compel us to engage in the world. She opens this practice with a short yin yoga sequence (butterfly, sphinx, and banana/crescent poses) during which she introduces lojong (practice...

Duration:01:07:28

Tuning In, Reaching Out Day 2: The Four Foundations of Mindfulness and Yin Yoga

11/21/2020
Welcome to the second and fourth overall practice of “Tuning In, Reaching Out.” We have deeply enjoyed connecting with some of you about intentions, methods, hindrances, and insights. A deep bow to all practitioners. In this practice, Sarah Jane shares thoughts on the purpose and practice of mindfulness through the Early Buddhist lens and highlights some aspects of the Satipatthana Sutta, an early practice guide in the voice of the Buddha. She suggests a few yin postures in which to dwell...

Duration:01:14:01

Tuning In, Reaching Out Virtual Retreat Day 2: Gentle Movement to Unwind Stress and Connect with Yourself

11/20/2020
Welcome to the second day of your virtual retreat. This morning, Jen brings you a gentle yang yoga practice in the tradition of her root teachers of Nosara Yoga Institute. This practice is appropriate for all levels including beginners, but you may find it helpful to have some asana experience in order to follow the verbal cues. Disclaimer The information and postures shared in this episode are not a substitute for proper medical care. If you are ill or injured, please consult your...

Duration:01:11:37

Tuning In, Reaching Out Virtual Retreat Day 1: Cultivating Concentration in Yin Yoga

11/20/2020
In this second practice of the Tuning In, Reaching Out Virtual retreat, Jen will guide you through a timeless meditation called Shamatha, or calm abiding. You'll have an opportunity to practice in a formal way as well as in Yin Yoga postures. The postures featured in this practice include: butterfly, sphinx, empty coat sleeves, and reclined twist. You might appreciate having a folded blanket or blocks handy for the poses as well as whatever set up you use for meditation...

Duration:00:58:21

Tuning in, Reaching Out Virtual Retreat Day 1: Yoga & RAIN Meditation

11/19/2020
We are pleased to kick off our virtual retreat with this Yoga & RAIN Meditation practice with Sarah Jane. In this guided practice, Sarah Jane invites you to spend a few moments warming the body and enhancing chi circulation with simple movements undertaken in concert with a slow and steady breath. We then settle in and progress through the steps of RAIN meditation--Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture--with the opportunity to rest in various yin yoga postures through their...

Duration:00:58:38

You're Invited to Tune In and Reach Out with us on Nov 20-22

11/10/2020
This is just a quick reminder about the upcoming virtual retreat here on the podcast. Join us on Nov 20-22 for twice daily practices to help you strengthen your connection both to yourself and to those around you. Episodes will appear here in the podcast feed at midnight and noon EST. You can also join for optional live Zoom calls and receive email tips. Sign up at: http://bit.ly/tiro2020 We hope this offering is off benefit to you and the wider world. ----- You can find Skillful Means...

Duration:00:03:15

#30 Get To Know Your Parts IFS Guided Practice

11/5/2020
As a companion to episode 29 on Internal Family Systems (IFS therapy), we invite you to enjoy this guided parts meditation. Jen will help you locate and get to know one or more parts during this experience. IFS is an embodied practice, so the doorway into your inner environment is through body sensations. After a few minutes of guided relaxation, you'll start to track your somatic experience as a way of foregrounding what needs the most attention right now. It's helpful to engage in IFS...

Duration:00:20:35

#29 What is IFS?

10/22/2020
In this episode, Jen and Sarah Jane finally and excitedly get around to talking about Internal Family Systems. IFS is having a moment lately, and is being brought into yoga and Buddhist communities by some prominent teachers, including Sarah Jane and Jen’s primary teacher, Sarah Powers. Since Jen has completed Level II IFS training, Sarah Jane asks her to describe the core proposition of IFS – that our mind is composed of sub personalities that have their own perspectives and motivations –...

Duration:00:57:26

#28 Earth & Sky Guided Practice

10/14/2020
In this meditation drawn from Taosit practices, Sarah Jane guides you through a breath-based visualization for replenishing and balancing inner energy. We are both individually whole and inextricably interconnected with each other and the natural world. We can view everything--even human beings--as composed of elements and infused with energies that, when in balance, create harmony and health. By drawing grounding earth chi, or earth energy, from below to fill the dantian or hara, the...

Duration:00:13:52

#27 Meeting Uncertainty & Change

10/12/2020
In this episode, Jen and Sarah Jane address the human predicament: We are wired to avoid unfamiliarity, uncertainty, and unpredictability in life, even while these very forces are ever-present realities. This simple paradox is the source of much of the stress in our complicated lives. Acknowledging the particular challenges of navigating life in the midst of a global pandemic, the US election, and seasonal changes, Jen and Sarah Jane share the methods they use to soothe the nervous system...

Duration:00:43:08

#26 Cultivate Resilience in Uncertain Times with Yin Yoga for the Spleen and Stomach Guided Practice

9/10/2020
In this guided Yin Yoga practice, Jennifer guides you through a short series of postures designed to nourish the spleen and stomach. According to Taoist Energetic Medicine, the spleen and stomach work together to perform the important function of extracting vital life force energy from the food we eat. When the spleen and stomach experience disharmony, it affects our entire organ system. These organs are also associated with important emotional and mental faculties including feelings of...

Duration:00:31:44

#25 Get to Know Yourself with the Body-Heart-Mind Check-In

8/27/2020
The landscape of yoga studios is not what it once was. With some studios closed permanently and others open only temporarily or in limbo, practitioners who relied on guided classes may be more motivated than ever to develop a self-led practice. In order to have a regular self-led yoga asana practice, you need one thing: some form of inquiry practice. Whether it’s a regular mindfulness practice, a journaling practice, or another method of self-examination, you need to be able to assess your...

Duration:00:42:43

#24 Equanimity for Balanced Action Guided Practice

8/13/2020
Wrapping up our series on the Four Immeasurables, in this guided practice, Sarah Jane Shangraw unpacks the fourth “sublime state,” upeksa (equanimity). Upeksa is a state of non-preferencing that can arise in meditation when we feel into and accept the uncontrollable flow and tonality of experience, and leave it at that. Not a cool and distant quality, equanimity combines the wisdom of understanding together with compassionate inclusivity. Under its influence, we are balanced and open, able...

Duration:00:22:25

#23 Uncovering Conditioning & Biases with Buddhist Mindfulness

7/30/2020
In this episode, Jen and Sarah Jane take a look through the Buddhist lens at the mind. Specifically, they explore using mindfulness, being with discomfort, and taking responsibility as foundations for the necessary and ongoing work of recognizing and undoing our conditioning, including unconscious bias. Though this conversation is inevitably incomplete, it touches on several concepts that can serve as jumping off points to further our contemplation and engagement in a world where the...

Duration:00:41:02

#22 Meeting Difficulty with Ease and Presence in Sphinx Pose Guided Practice

7/16/2020
In this episode, Jennifer offers guidance for creating space between a difficult stimulus and the response to it. Whether you are confronted by a challenging event or a triggering conversation, the prompts in this meditation can bring forward a more responsive — rather than reactive — inner attitude. The setting for this guided practice is sphinx pose, chosen for being a relatively gentle, although not entirely neutral, shape. Postures can help us approximate uncomfortable situations so...

Duration:00:12:50

#21 Dharmic Activism: Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita with Kaya Mindlin

7/2/2020
In this episode, Jen is joined by her friend and colleague Kaya Mindlin to discuss the Bhagavad Gita and how to fully and authentically show up for social justice while staying true to one’s dharma. In this sweeping conversation that, at times, adopts the atmosphere of a workshop, Jen and Kaya discuss: About Guest Host, Kaya Mindlin Kaya Mindlin is a Yoga therapist and educator who has been teaching the “softer side of yoga” for 19 years. Her background includes thousands of hours of...

Duration:01:29:56