Skillful Means Podcast

Skillful Means Podcast

www.skillfulmeanspodcast.com
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 …


#28 Earth & Sky Guided Practice
Oct 14 • 13 min
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….
#27 Meeting Uncertainty & Change
Oct 12 • 43 min
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…
#26 Cultivate Resilience in Uncertain Times with Yin Yoga for the Spleen and Stomach Guided Practice
Sep 10 • 31 min
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…
#25 Get to Know Yourself with the Body-Heart-Mind Check-In
Aug 27 • 42 min
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…
#24 Equanimity for Balanced Action Guided Practice
Aug 13 • 22 min
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…
#23 Uncovering Conditioning & Biases with Buddhist Mindfulness
Jul 30 • 41 min
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…
#22 Meeting Difficulty with Ease and Presence in Sphinx Pose Guided Practice
Jul 16 • 12 min
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…
#21 Dharmic Activism: Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita with Kaya Mindlin
Jul 2 • 89 min
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…
#20 Embodied Awareness & Compassion for the Weary Guided Practice
Jun 18 • 18 min
This guided meditation encourages you to take up residence in your body in order to be present for the life that is inside you right now. With kind attention, we feel into the physical body and citta (the heart-mind), which may need some buoying. Then,…
#19 Resources for Social Justice in Intentional & Spiritual Communities
Jun 3 • 17 min
Today, we pivoted a bit to share resources on the intersection of mindfulness, Buddhism, anti-racism, and collective healing. We focus on the major voices, most of them people of color, shining a light on the social justice issues facing spiritual…
#18 Yin Yoga To Awaken a Peaceful Inner Attitude Guided Practice
May 21 • 26 min
Inspired by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s Pebble Meditation, Jennifer guides you through the four qualities of freshness, solidity, clarity, and freedom in the container of a calming Yin Yoga practice. Each point of the meditation is paired with a Yin…
BONUS: Guided Heart Center Practice With Sarah Powers
May 7 • 28 min
In Episode 17, Sarah Jane and Jen spoke with their teacher Sarah Powers about the wisdom and opportunity for awakening amidst the suffering of the coronavirus pandemic.During the recording of that episode, Sarah generously led an inquiry meditation for…
#17 A Conversation with Sarah Powers
May 7 • 78 min
Our primary teacher Sarah Powers has spent decades studying, living, and teaching from the Wisdom traditions—Buddhism, Yoga, Taoism, and contemporary western psychology. As the new coronavirus pandemic spread, Sarah joined us via Zoom from London to…
#16 Sympathetic Joy Guided Practice
Apr 23 • 22 min
Mudita, or sympathetic joy, is the third in the series of the four most highly regarded qualities, or “sublime states,” in Buddhism: metta (loving-kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy) and upeksa (equanimity). Mudita is a potent…
#15 Yin Yoga For Strengthening Wei Qi Guided Practice
Mar 26 • 23 min
In Chinese Medicine, the immune system is comprised of a protective barrier of energy (Qi), called Wei Qi ( pronounced “way chee”), that circulates through the body while also emanating about an inch around the outside of the body. The Taoists believe…
#14 Yin Yoga for the Physical Body (Part 2)
Mar 12 • 37 min
Continuing the conversation on how Yin Yoga affects the physical body, Jen and Sarah Jane talk about the physical benefits of the practice, immediately zeroing in on the elephant in the room: the edge. What is it? Why is it important? Is it safe to…
#13 Compassion Guided Practice
Feb 27 • 18 min
Karuna, or compassion, is the second in the series of the four most highly regarded qualities, or “sublime states,” in Buddhism: metta (loving-kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy) and upeksa (equanimity). Compassion arises when…
#12 Yin Yoga for the Physical Body (Part 1)
Feb 13 • 43 min
In this episode of our continuing series on Yin Yoga, Jen and Sarah Jane talk about the physical benefits of the practice. Many of us practice Yin Yoga, at least in part, to give ourselves the chance to experience “just being,” an antidote to the…
#11 3-Part Check-in Meditation in Butterfly Pose Guided Practice
Jan 30 • 12 min
Many yoga and mindfulness practices are specifically designed to grow one’s capacity to remain present - internally and externally - from moment to moment. In this guided practice, Jennifer shares a simple practice for getting to know the current state…
#10: The Life-Changing Magic of Yin Yoga
Jan 16 • 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…
# 9 Loving Kindness Guided Practice
Jan 2 • 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…
#8 Maintaining Practice While Traveling & Visiting Family
Dec 19, 2019 • 40 min
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…
#7 Body Scan Guided Practice
Dec 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…
BONUS: RAIN Guided Practice
Nov 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…
#6 What is RAIN meditation?
Nov 21, 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…
#5 Walking Meditation Guided Practice
Nov 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….
#4: Advancing in a Yoga Practice
Oct 24, 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…
#3: Mindfulness of Breathing Guided Practice
Oct 10, 2019 • 13 min
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…
#2: Skillful Means
Sep 30, 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…
#1: Spiritual Friends
Sep 30, 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…
Trailer: Introducing Skillful Means Podcast
Aug 12, 2019 • 2 min
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 practicenourishing the energy…