Alexander Technique & Mindfulness Meditation

With

Gentian Rahtz BA (Hons) M.Ed, LCSP (Phys) S.T.A.T. CERT

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation

Gentian is an experienced Alexander teacher and Meditator who has also completed the 8 week,16 hours  course in  Mindfulness, in Oxford. She has become very interested in how these three subjects relate to each other and offers classes for Oxfordshire County Council Adult Learning in Alexander Technique and in Meditation as well as  small group and individual sessions at her house in East Oxford.

The head leads the spine, breath opens the heart

    • zen sand stones

Mindfulness is a very ancient practice which is now being taught in a wide number of secular contexts. Courses such as Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction put a central emphasis on Meditation.  

The relationship between the mind and body is so fundamental that many meditation practices start with paying attention to physical sensations, to the senses. This helps us to notice what is happening in the present rather than the past or future.  Listening, seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling bodily sensations including breathing, can only actually be experienced in the present although we can also imagine or have memories of them.

As our breathing and our nervous systems become calmer, thoughts and feelings may become more noticeable.  Meditation gives us a chance to watch, to be a kindly non-judgemental observer of what’s happening in our minds and hearts. We gradually learn the skill of returning our attention to the present moment, to our posture, our bodily sensations, our rhythms of breathing. We can be like a boat or a sailing ship resting at anchor, riding the waves, being aware of the sea, the sky and the quality of space around us.  

Stopping, calming, resting, is a way of renewing our sense of ourselves. It is the essential first stage, the groundwork for a variety of meditation practices such as insight or steady attention (concentration practices)

It is important to sit in a comfortable upright posture with a lengthened spine.  Regular sitting at the same time each day can gradually help to develop a quality of stillness and balance that can be deeply refreshing and bring a fresh perspective to everyday life.

Gentian Rahtz

Walking Meditation in the Pyrenees

There’s quite an art to being here
keeping thoughts wide
allowing the breath a rhythm
that responds to sudden shifts
of light and temperature.

I notice a sense of self
requiring less ballast
of thoughts or feelings.

Sounds of goat bells,
dogs barking, cuckoos,
wind in dry oak leaves,
have no hierarchy
of decibels, isolated
by the silence
of these mountains.

I walk barefoot on warm clay
and know that I am
more transient a visitor
than the yellow and black
salamander
whose belly rests
on these donkey tracks
through juniper and broom.

From Sky Burial
Poems by Genny Rahtz   (Gentian)
Flux Gallery Press, Leeds 2010