Welcome to the Canyon Spirit Yoga and Meditation Class.

Please click here to view our blog and everyone’s comments.

Please click here for the book club blog.

This class is a combined effort of Canyon Spirit Yoga and Mountain Stream Meditation Center.  Everyone is welcome to join this class.  There is no fee, but we very much appreciate your donations.

We meet every Friday morning from 9:00AM to 10:30AM. Susan Whitaker from Canyon Spirit starts things off with a half an hour of yoga. Then one of the meditation teachers (including Susan) takes over and leads a half an hour of guided or silent meditation. We close with half an hour of a Dharma talk from the meditation teacher with discussion by the group.

The meditation teachers are Mary Helen Fein, Maeve Hassett and David Judd and Susan Whitaker. Each brings their own unique teaching style.

Please explore our website and contribute your thoughts and ideas to the blog. Thanks!

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11 Responses to Welcome

  1. Susan McKenzie says:

    I appreciate our month-long sangha conversations being restricted to one topic. Circling around one idea for four classes reinforces and deepens our individual musings and allows our various individual understandings to evolve. Not to mention that repetition helps. Mary Helen, thanks for your ideas and leadership this morning. Would it be possible to post some of the resources you mentioned in your dharma talk?

  2. Equanimity: a perfect, unshakable balance of mind, rooted in insight. The Pali word is Upekkha, meaning “to look over,” in other words the ability to see without being caught by what we see.

    Equanimity is one of the 4 Brahma Viharas (Divine Abodes):

    Equanimity gives us some way to work with the eight worldly winds:

    praise and blame
    success and failure
    pleasure and pain
    fame and disrepute

    The near enemy of Equanimity is Indifference.

    Hope this is helpful!
    Mary Helen

  3. maevehassett says:

    Further Thoughts on Equanimity:
    Approximate synonyms for equanimity: Balanced, steady, centered, unruffled.

    Equanimity is the 4th of the Four Divine Abodes, the 7th of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment or Awakening and the 10th of the 10 Paramis or Virtues. The top of all the lists so it is considered the gateway to awakening and the crown jewel of all the Buddhist practice.

    The opposite of equanimity is anxiety, stress and worry caused by dividing people into good and bad or self and other.

    Inner strengths that when developed support our equanimity are:
    Strong mindfulness – which creates space and room in the mind so that we can see things when
    they happen and have choices.
    Balance between over exertion and under exertion – or in other words wise effort
    Practice itself – so that even when we get reactive we are willing to look at it and study it without judgment.

    A version of the Equanimity Prayer goes like this:

    All beings are the owners of their actions.
    Their happiness or unhappiness depends upon their actions, not my wishes for them.
    Whether I understand it or not all things are unfolding as they should according to natural law.
    May I (you) accept things as they are.
    I will care for you but can’t keep you from suffering.
    I wish you happiness but cannot make your choices for you.

    Metta, Maeve

  4. dharmadave2 says:

    During the month of November we will continue our discussions on the brahma-viharas – the “boundless states.” We’ll center our discussions on Metta, which is usually translated as “loving kindness”, but is also described as a “friendliness toward all things.”

    On Friday, Nov. 4th, I’ll lead us on a meditation and then a discussion from Richard Combrich’s book, What the Buddha Thought, as to whether Metta can be a means toward ultimate liberation. Combrich traces the Buddha’s teachings back through an historical analysis and concludes that, “…the Buddha saw love and compassion as a means to salvation – in his terms, to the attainment of Nirvana.” Does this mean that our acts of loving kindness provide a release from suffering? Do acts of compassion release us from the delusion of “self.” What would that mean to our own individual practices?

  5. Susan McKenzie says:

    Thanks, Maeve.

  6. Susan McKenzie says:

    Thanks for the heads-up, Dave.

    • s says:

      The first yoga sutra says: “With humility (an open heart and mind), we embrace the sacred study of yoga.” I’m drawing my teachings on this from Nischala Joy Devi, who wrote a feminine approach to the Yoga Sutras. Her book is called The Secret Power of Yoga.
      I really like the gentle, open approach she provides. Contrast this to Mr. Desikachar’s interpretation: “Here begins the authoritative instruction on Yoga.”
      This speaks to my feeling that the world of meditation, as well as yoga, is drawn from inside each one of us and our desire to deepen our lives through practice and study.

  7. Susan McKenzie says:

    For those of you interested in science, here are some links to research into the benefits of training in meditation, compassion, altruism, inter-relatedness.

    The Emory-Tibet Science Initiative is investigating, among other things, the impact of meditation training on depression in college students and in foster children in Atlanta. I recently heard that there are similar projects on depression at Oxford.

    Richard Davidson’s Lab for Affective Neuroscience at U. of Wisconsin-Madison has been studying the brains of meditators. According to an interview with Davidson on On Being (being.publicradio.org) the Dalai Lama sent him a fax in 1992 inviting him to study the brains of Tibetan monks and suggested the idea of studying the neural correlates of kindness and compassion, in addition to the more commonly studied negative emotions, such as fear.

  8. It was a good discussion last Friday morning. I had a hard time locating the website myself when I got back. Now I have it bookmarked which should help. I notice that there’s a box at the bottom of the page requesting notifications via email for new posts and comments. So we do have the option of being emailed when things are posted here. The two books I mentioned on the noble 8-fold path are:
    -Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha’s Path. Wisdom Publications. 2001. by Bhante Gunaratana
    – Awakening the Buddha Within: Eight Steps to Enlightenment
    by Surya Das, Lama Surya Das

  9. mhfein11 says:

    I finally figured out how to get into our blog and approve everyone’s comments. Thanks for your patience. Hopefully we can start some new discussions,on the blog, and I promise to check things frequently.

    Our new schedule is up on the website. For the fall, we are working with the wonderful book “Seeking the Heart of Wisdom.” Each teacher has chosen a section to work with. See our schedule at

  10. Ellen Stephens says:

    Thank you, Mary Helen, Susan, Maeve, and Dave for the wonderful website. I am new to the Friday group, I have enjoyed the times I have attended and am learning so much. Both blogs and teacher comments are very helpful. Thanks

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