Meditations on Opening to Essential Nature

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Challenge Overview

This three-week meditation program offers you the chance to explore the practice in a supportive, structured, and inquiry-based way. Each week, Stephanie gives you an introduction to the concepts you’ll explore in the two practices that follow. The practices are shorter (ten to twenty minutes) in the first week and longer in weeks two and three (twenty-five to thirty-five minutes).

You’ll learn about and experience the concepts of ground of being, essential nature, the “I thought,” and more. Breathing practices are incorporated throughout to support your experience of these concepts and help you feel easeful during the meditations. You’ll also work with your core beliefs as well as challenging emotions, and be invited to explore them in different ways so as to integrate them with more fluidity in your day-to-day life.

Finally, this program encourages you to move into a state of love, compassion, and wonder, where you can experience how we are all interconnected beings.

A breakdown of the Program:

Week 1

  • Week 1 Orientation: Ground of Being

  • Simply Being

  • Living From the Ground of Being

Week 2

  • Week 2 Orientation: Welcoming Body, Breath, and Mind

  • Breathing Into Stillness

  • Welcoming All Aspects of Body and Mind

Week 3

  • Week 3 Orientation: Essential Nature as Clear and Direct

  • Inherent Qualities of Essential Nature

  • Separation to Wholeness: Seeing Through the "I Thought"

  • Closing

Certificate of completion

3 CEU’s Upon Completion

Self Paced Learning

Challenge Outline

2.9hrs to complete

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Section 1
  • In this first week, you’ll explore your “ground of being,” meaning your inherent presence and innate existence—beyond the layers of personality. Stephanie introduces the five kanchukas (the five “messengers of being” from the Shiva Sutras), concepts that can help you understand where your life might be limited in some areas, preventing you from connecting to your innate wholeness.
  • In the first practice, you’ll sit quietly and connect with your breath and your “unchanging presence.” Allow this to be a restful experience where you can let go of grasping and be present.
  • In this practice, you’ll connect more deeply with sensation. Stephanie takes you through a body awareness practice in which you’ll sense your vital essence. Then you’ll move into an easeful state of being so that you can be open to the spontaneity of life and develop a heartfelt sense of compassion for those around you.
Section 2
  • In the second week, you’ll experience breathing practices to help you awaken to your essential nature. These are progressive practices where you’ll connect with the emotions and beliefs you have so that you can integrate them more seamlessly into your everyday life.
  • Exploring sensation and being once again, you’ll be invited to notice your breath in all its permutations in this session. This is a step-by-step practice, so enjoy the chance to slow down and really connect with the natural flow of your breath.
  • In this practice, you’ll begin with an awareness and sensation exploration and then progress into a breathing practice, where you’ll allow your breath to “saturate” different parts of your body. Then, you’ll work with a challenging belief you have about yourself and its accompanying emotions.
Section 3
  • In this introduction to week three, Stephanie discusses the topic of our essential nature and how we can use self-inquiry as a tool to uncover it. By doing so, she says we can evolve into a softer and more joyous way of being—a softness and joy that is independent of external circumstances.
  • Begin by observing the sounds around you in this meditation. After that, Stephanie invites you to set an intention for this breath- and sensation-based practice. Allow what’s arising to arise and what is true to be true as you explore your ground of being and the presence of love, compassion, and wonder.
  • In this final practice, you’ll set an intention and then turn your attention inward. Stephanie invites and encourages you to feel a heartfelt sense of well-being as you explore sensation. After that, you’ll be guided to move beyond seeking and striving—beyond the “I”—into an inquiry of your state of awareness.
  • In closing, Stephanie honors your dedication to this program and expounds on how you may be able to move into the world now with a greater sense of lightness, self-trust, and increased intimacy with those around you.

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Meet Your Teacher

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Stephanie Lopez
Stephanie Lopez, LISW-S, C-IAYT, is the Senior Director of Teachings & Programs, and a Senior iRest Trainer... 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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