From the moment our eyes flick open every morning, our minds go supersonic as we are tasked with thousands of things to complete throughout the day.
As such, speed is very much a part of modern society, as expectations are high and deadline-driven, with the motto of “time is money” silently whipping our lives forward.
But what if speed isn’t everything? And that, perhaps, our constantly-supercharged minds are harming our mental and physical health.
This is a question Surya Ishaya and her fellow instructors will discuss on Sept. 9, from 1 to 2 p.m., at the Heart of the Village Yoga studio in Oak Bay during an introduction to the Art of Ascension, a unique meditation practice meant to slow down and de-agitate one’s mind, soul and body to a state of clear consciousness.
“They are very easy and simple techniques based on praise and gratitude that work automatically when you use them to bring the mind and connect it to the present moment, which allows you to release stress in the nervous system and expand the mind effortlessly every time,” Ishaya said, who is coming to Victoria from a retreat in Missouri (where she teaches the practice) to host the session.
Originally from the Island, Ishaya began the practice in Victoria eight years ago, and has been teaching it all over the place for the last six years.
For the introductory talk, people can drop by for free to learn about the benefits of mediation, Ascension, and how the mind and body connection can affect our world and state of being.
“Meditation practice can correct that, so that we’re coming first from our clear mind and then creating from there in a more stabilized place,” she said. “Over time we start to connect with the present moment, without all of the busy activity of the mind that normally is how people operate.”
Though easy to compare with yoga, the Art of Ascension is intimately different, as it’s more of a meditative, mental process and less of a physical one. It’s also meant to slow everything down in one’s mind to a peaceful stillness.
“Our minds and our thoughts are what’s so busy, just stepping from one thought to another. When we can slow that down, we can live more just more connected with what’s happening around us,” Ishaya said.
Best thing about it is that it’s simple. There’s no need for an upright sitting posture, one can get comfortable, even practice it in bed while to sleep or waking up in the morning.
“It’s not from any religious or denominational background, it’s just a series of mechanical techniques that we teach, and anybody can learn it.”
Ishaya is a Sanskrit word, consisting of two parts: “Isha” and “ya”. “Isha” means Christ Consciousness. “Ya” means “for” or “student of”. As such, Ishaya is not Surya’s true name, but her dedication to a discipline practiced for thousands of years.
“Those of us who want to take vows to make a priority and a commitment in our lives, then we’re given a spiritual name,” she said.
Ishaya and the other instructors (two per session) will also host a workshop the following weekend, from Sept. 15 to 17, for those who wish to try out the Art of Ascension at the Heart of the Village Yoga studio. For more info, please visit ishayafoundation.org or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.