Meditation Master Class with Alan Finger

Last month I was lucky enough to be able to attend a master class in meditation with Alan Finger at Ishta Yoga in the East Village. I hadn’t heard of him before but one of my friends told me she had studied with him and that he was ace.

He teaches the master class on the first Saturday of every month and the class costs $35. There’s very light movement involved (handful of cat/cows, some downdogs) but it’s a lot sitting (duh).

Each master class focuses on something different and that Saturday we focused on the breath and at which points it flowed into and out of in the nostrils. You’re probably thinking what I thought when I heard him teach this: I only have two nostrils to breathe through. What’s he talking about?

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The above picture is what he drew in my notebook after the class was over. Inside one side of the nose there are different points to access – earth (center of the note), air (top), space (top inner), fire (upper outer), and water (lower outer).

It’s kind of confusing and I’m not doing the best job explaining it now but maybe Google could help – if you’re interested.

Taking a master class with one of the greats was an awesome experience. I would definitely recommend hitting up ISHTA Yoga if you’re interested in deepening your practice. 

Getting Back On It

One of my meditation teachers once told a group of us that part of our practice was completely losing our practice and then finding it again. She had just completed a film she was working on and that meant she’d been working 16 hour days 6 days a week. She’d completely lost focus of anything but work and meditation took a back seat. But that was OK. And she’s a meditation teacher.

Hearing that a few weeks (months?) prior to leaving for Europe prepared me for my 12 day trip to Scandinavia and completely forgetting to and/or being too tired to meditate. I did do pranayama nightly, I suppose, when I was trying to fall asleep (it’s never just as quick as Close-Your-Eyes-And-Sleep for me), inhaling and exhaling for four counts. I guess that counts? But not really when you’re used to meditating at least twice a day for 3+ years.

I didn’t meditate until the day or two after I got back (I was, unsurprisingly, exhausted), but now I’ve finally gotten back into it. i started easy with 5 minute meditations when I woke up and before I went to bed, and eventually increased to 10-15 minutes before bed. Last week’s meeting of The BE Society really kicked my ass back into gear. Group meditation is the best and when we were all back together again, one of my friends said, “Dude, I felt it this summer when we didn’t meet and it was not good.” In other words, she’d lost her practice, but that was okay: she was re-starting.

At my last job, I lead daily meditation breaks (just a quick but totally effective) and it was pretty awesome. Everyone loved it. I’ve been toying with the idea of deepening my practice and understanding of meditation, so one of my friends, who’s a trained yoga and meditation teacher, suggested Alan Finger’s meditation classes at ISHTA Yoga. Today I registered for the next master class with Alan Finger on Saturday, November 7th and if I enjoy his method, I’ll probably register for his 3-day meditation teacher training in December (if I can take a half-day off).

So, despite the fact that I lost my practice for almost two weeks, I am getting back on my bike, so to speak, and taking myself even further. I’m not broke (surprisingly, after a trip around Scandinavia), the price isn’t too steep, and I think I’ll get a hell of a lot out of it. So, why not? Like with every practice, if it’s really beneficial to you, you’ll find your way back to it.