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Embodied Inquiry: The Power of Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation

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Challenge Overview

In Embodied Inquiry: The Power of Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation, scholar and Buddhist teacher Sean Feit Oakes introduces you to foundations of Buddhist mindfulness practice through a series of meditations. At the heart of Buddhist philosophy is self-inquiry, the theme of this program. In step-by-step meditations—all of which are under 15 minutes long—you’ll explore your senses, the nature of your breath, your emotions, forgiveness and acceptance, the negativity bias, and more.

In each meditation, Sean invites you to get comfortably situated and then gently guides you into a practice experience that’s designed to cultivate self-awareness and a sense of peace within.

The program includes an introduction, five chapters, and a closing blessing. Each chapter contains between three and five meditative practices. The chapters are: Orientation, Mindfulness, Focus, Healing, and Insight.

Certificate of completion

3 CEU’s Upon Completion

Self Paced Learning

Challenge Outline

2hrs to complete

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Section 1
  • In this opening discussion, Sean explains how mindfulness is defined in classical Buddhism and how practicing it helps us understand our experiences. He also touches on broader topics, including how we can understand suffering and freedom from suffering, and the connection between Buddhist meditation and yogic meditation.
Section 2
  • In this meditation practice, Sean invites you to notice your surroundings in a natural, easygoing way in order to become more attuned to what interests you.
  • In this meditation practice, you’ll turn your gaze toward what’s pleasurable or easeful in your surroundings before experiencing what is pleasurable (or neutral) in your body. This practice can help you unlearn habits that leave your mind and body feeling constricted.
  • In this meditation practice—which you can do seated, lying down, or standing up—you’ll direct your awareness toward your posture as Sean invites you to “rest in your natural dignity.”
  • In this mindfulness meditation, you’ll bring your attention to sounds both near and far for a relaxing sensory experience. See if listening in this way provides you with a feeling of spaciousness.
Section 3
  • In this mindfulness practice, you’ll bring your awareness to your mood in order to gain perspective on your current emotional state. This awareness can give you a certain “distance” that allows you to see, with wisdom, how emotions come and go.
  • In this mindfulness session, Sean sheds light on the energetic system (in his words, “the felt sense our autonomic nervous system is in”) and then invites you to experience your own energy.
  • How does it feel when you focus your mind on just one object? In this session you’ll practice noticing the quality and strength of your focus with an attitude of acceptance.
  • During this mindful practice you’ll observe what’s present in your mind and see if, with Sean’s guidance, you can continue to return to the “simple, unfolding present.”
  • Doubt is seen as a kind of death in the Buddhist tradition. Sean explains why that is, then he shares how you can use mindfulness to handle feelings associated with doubt, release negativity, and step into a greater sense of self-worth.
Section 4
  • In this practice, Sean offers several options to help you “stitch” your inhales and exhales together so that you can cultivate a continuous, relaxed awareness of your breath.
  • Feel the subtle sensation of the breath throughout your whole body, and rest into the sweet ease of being.
  • How do we focus our attention in one place without effort or struggle? In this meditation, you’ll rest your awareness on your breath and see if you can experience the simple pleasure and nourishment of just breathing.
  • In this receptive practice, you’ll let go of guiding your breath in order to receive its natural movement so that you can experience it in all of its subtlety.
  • In this meditation you’ll be invited to cultivate ease through stillness as you practice letting go of the desire to move your body or follow distracting thoughts.
Section 5
  • In this discussion, you’ll learn about the process of working with both difficult and pleasant feelings about the past that arise during meditation. When we do this we can give these experiences the attention they deserve and invite greater well-being into our lives.
  • In this reflective practice, you’ll learn how to use meditation to work with feelings of worry and anxiety so that you can lessen the intensity of these feelings in your everyday life and move toward making choices that align with the potential for peace within.
  • This mindfulness practice is designed to help you accept yourself as you are. Sean gently guides you to feel the many experiences and conditions that led you to this moment so that you can begin to work with them, including past hurts that may sometimes cause you to feel alone.
Section 6
  • In this acceptance-based meditation, you’ll gain a felt-sense of your muscles and tissues by drawing your awareness to them in a deeper way than you may normally do.
  • Sean invites you to experience each of the five elements from Buddhist philosophy (earth, water, fire, wind, and space) in a body-focused practice.
  • Settle into a comfortable seat and then do a sense-focused meditation in order to experience a deep level of awareness and ease.
  • In this session, Sean begins by shedding light on negativity bias (our propensity to remember and/or focus on negative experiences rather than positive ones) and then guides you through a self-observation practice designed to bring greater equanimity into both your meditation and your daily life.
  • Everything and everyone changes, yet we all desire the same things—safety and love. In this meditation, Sean guides you to let go of grasping and fear as you open to the nature of your unfolding experience and embrace it with compassion.
Section 7
  • Sean explains how you can continue using this series and other practices to deepen your own meditation experiences. He then closes with a traditional blessing from the Buddhist tradition that invites you to rest in safety and ease.

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Meet Your Teacher

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Sean Feit Oakes
Sean Feit Oakes teaches Buddhism, hatha yoga, and Organic Intelligence with a focus on the integration... Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely, you can include this challenge in your Yoga Alliance training hours, with each hour equivalent to one continuing education credit.
This challenge is entirely self- paced, allowing you to learn at your convenience.There are no imposed deadlines or time constraints for Challenge completion.
No prerequisites are required; this challenge is open to anyone interested in deepening their knowledge and practice.
No, the challenge is accessible to all individuals interested in enriching their understanding and practice of yoga.Yoga teaching certification is not a prerequisite.

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