This weekend of training was about mantra, meditation and Sanskrit.
One of the reasons that Sanskrit is considered so important in yoga is what is believed about the sounds of it--that the sounds resonate in different parts of the body. So, for people chanting Vedic mantras, the purpose is as much about using them a sort of internal tuning fork as it is for the meaning of it.
For me, the chanting is the one part of yoga practice I can't follow spiritually, but I'm finding that learning the Sanskrit words is really interesting--for one thing, the names of the poses (asana) start to make sense. Now that I know that "eka" is one and "pada" is leg, I have a better mental picture of all the poses that start with "eka pada".
We also talked a lot about using meditation to physically change the brain. Because our brains create synapses to cover new forms of thought and deletes those that are rarely used, there is a physical component to what you do with your brain. So, if you spend all your time worried, depressed or simply in negative forms of thought, you continually reinforce the physical infrastructure to support that. But if you spend time visualizing what is beautiful, spending time in gratitude or simply being still and feeling compassion, you build the internal framework for that. I couldn't help but think about the Apostle Paul's words..."...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." - Philippians 4:8
I continue to be very grateful that Shanon Buffington has taken the time to develop such a comprehensive and interesting course. And much more selfishly...that I get to take it.