05 Sep Monthly Meditation with Judes Yang
Each month the Buddhaful Judes Yang facilitates a meditation with a mission – to not only uplift the students who attend but also to elevate our community with love and kindness.
Participation in the meditation is by donation.
This month’s theme is Forgiveness and all donations will be given to FSG Australia, a community organisation offering an innovative range of disability, mental health, aged care, family and children’s services.
The meditation will be held at 5.30pm, 14th September at Essence of Living.
“True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience’.”
- Oprah Winfrey
Those of you who already know Judes understand the beautiful energy she simply radiates into the world. For those of you who haven’t met Judes yet, or those who are simply interested in getting to know her a little better, we’ve asked Judes some questions about her own personal meditation practice as well as the monthly meditations.
Describe your journey to meditation:
That is definitely a question that takes me down memory lane! Haha! I first started “meditating” after I became a yoga teacher in 2005. My mediation at that time, and I use the word “meditation” loosely, was sitting and listening to Deva Premal’s Love Space album for an hour. I didn’t even know who Deva Premal was at that stage nor understand that her music is sacred chants and mantras. I loved her voice and how the music made me feel.
Back then I was so green to yoga and meditation, that I didn’t fully comprehend nor understand much of what I was doing. Even now, all these years later, I am still studying and learning. I love the fact that there is so much I don’t know! It keeps me humble and connected.
I continued that style of sitting practice until mid 2011. I was living in Los Angeles and met Thom Knowles. He transmitted to me my internal chant and I started Transcendental Meditation. I sat twice a day for 20 minutes and would listen to the Gayatri Mantra afterwards for my morning practice.
My sitting practice changed in 2013 when I experienced some traumatic life events and unfortunately for me, at that time of my life, sitting in silence wasn’t what I needed. So my sitting practice and yoga practice shifted. I started practicing Prana Vinyasa, Kundalini and Yin Yoga. My sitting practice moved from sitting in silence to more Sahaja – freeform movement, chanting and kriyas – that helped me move through a lot of the trauma.
I am consistent with my practice these days, but I don’t have an attachment to one particular style. Today my practice is movement meditations, allowing the Prana (breath) to move me to sitting for 20-30 minutes in silence – Zazen. There are times when I feel called to do some Kundalini based meditations and to simply move, Sahaja. Like everything in life, our practice is impermanent. So it will always be shifting and changing, as I grow and evolve so does my practices.
Why do you devote yourself to this practice?
I feel at peace, at home. I receive moments of reprieve from the white noise or the business of my mind and when you have those moments of silence in my mind, there is so much clarity and peace.
How has meditation changed you?
Meditation along with yoga has changed me on so many levels. These two sacred practices have helped me moved through trauma, help with triggers that come from PTSD, calm my mind, my breath, me. I have clarity in mind when my thoughts are cloudy with judgments or confusion.
What’s your mission with these monthly meditations? Why did you start them?
To raise our vibration and bring our community together. Service is a major part of my life, our community and unity of all is very important to me, as we are all one, and as collective we can do more than as an individual. There is an old African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.
They began with me sitting with some of my yoga students for free. When I started having more people asking me about meditation and sitting together, I thought why not do a community one and raise money to help the local charities within our community too.
So I did.
Who are you trying to reach and why?
Everyone. Meditation or mindfulness doesn’t fit a box, age, race or look. It’s for all. In our day and age, all of our senses are inundated with images and sounds; we’re busier than ever and it has become more challenging for people to take a moment for themselves for self care. When we take care of ourselves from a selfless aspect, it ultimately has a positive impact on all those around us.
Your monthly meditations have themes – can you tell us a little about them?
The themes are based on virtues. Virtues are a character trait or quality that we see in ourselves and others. Virtues like Love, Forgiveness and Kindness (but not limited to those) help build our moral character. For example, when you practice Gratitude you feel a lightness, joy and positivity towards yourself and others.
Tell us about how you support charity with these events?
Each of the charities are Gold Coast based, so locals like you and me. The monthly classes are donation based and I give all the money raised the charity of the month and I also match the amount raised. I was given so much in a time when I needed it and now I am in a beautiful place because of all that love and support, so I would love to on forward the love to others.
What’s your relationship to your own practice?
I’ll be honest, it isn’t an easy one. There are days my practice is easy, it drives itself and there are days when my practice is like a naughty child and I have to plead and work with it. But that’s best part of it all. You just roll up your sleeves and you do the work, as the only way is through. The days when my practice is challenging, because my “ego self” doesn’t want to do it, are the days where I have the most clarity and feel the best afterwards..
How has this changed over time?
My practice has changed immensely. I used to be of the mindset that there was only one way, and the way I was practicing was the right way. That was such a small and narrow minded viewpoint. I’ve learned that there is no right or wrong way, just what works for the practitioner. Yes, it’s great to have a structure to follow as beginners or when we learn about about a new style, but what works for me might not work for you and vice versa. If it works for you and if feels good for you, then that is what is right for you. The feeling, Bhava is important and for me being an embodied teacher to help students close their disconnect within themselves, is super important.
What keeps you inspired?
People keep me inspired. My mum inspires me, her strength her resilience and her big freaking heart. The students, who I have the privilege of sharing their yoga journeys with, inspire me every day. Seeing the light in student’s eyes when they have a moment of understanding about themselves, inspires me the most. That is priceless, when people see their own worth.
Who are some of your mentors?
All students feel very blessed to have experienced and met many yoga, meditation and spiritual influencers in my life, from The Dalai Lama, Thom Knowles to Iyengar. I read daily teachings from The Baha’i texts, Dalai Lama to The Kybalion. My main influencers, whom I receive direct transmissions from, are Shiva Rea, Mark Togni and Soheil Abedian.
Why do you trust them?
They’ve all shown me compassion and love, they also all do what they say. That for me is super important. Their classes come from a place of compassion and no ego. Words are cheap and flow easily, but to match your actions through good deeds to your words, there is where the value and authenticity lies in what people say.
There is a quote about looking at what people show you not what they say. In my past I have had teachers and “gurus’ whose actions has been completely opposing to their teaching in ways I would never wish upon anyone. I was in a very dark place, times of major healing when I met them. Their transmissions and kindness, helped anchor me.
Shiva came into my life when I was heartbroken and traumatised by the actions of my last yoga teacher. She showed me, through her actions, the complete opposite to everything I’d learned in 10 years with my former teacher. Shiva’s teaching helped me find my Sahaja again, my inherent naturalness.
Mark came into my life just after Shiva. When I moved back to Australia, I needed loving deep roots and grounding. He provided the space for me to feel safe and to work through what I needed to on my mat.
Soheil came into my life when I was ready to grow spiritually and really open my heart up to people on a soul level again.
What are some common, incorrect assumptions about meditation?
That their way is the right way – see my thoughts on this above! Sitting is for everyone and can be adapted to their needs, we just need to allow the natural unfolding to happen, whatever that looks like for the practitioner.
Also, some think that meditating is trying to stop our thoughts. I like to think meditation has an open door policy and it’s more about allowance and acceptance, rather than stopping our thoughts. When a thought comes in one door, acknowledge it and allow it go straight out the other door.
What are three books that are currently on your nightstand?
Nabils Narrative by Zena Sorabjee, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and Start something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie
Off the mat, how do you fill your days?
With teaching of course ;), as well as service, self-study and my social enterprise, Sahaja (yoga mats that give back). For every yoga mat we sell, we donate a solar light to families without electricity in Mozambique. I’ve recently completed the Bond Business accelerator course and I won the $5,000 seed funding to help Sahaja Yoga Mats grow even more. I’m at a point in my life where I simply want to pay forward all the love I was given in my darkest days.
Join Judes for this month’s meditation.
Thursday | 5.30pm – 6.15pm | 14th September – Forgiveness
Charity – FSG Australia