“Speed-Friending” – Communication & Community-Building Workshop

Speed-Friending at Aurora

We started this heart connecting event with brief introductions and an explanation for our attendance. Mat moved on to a 30 minute discussion on reflective listening, empathy, and ways in which we disrupt connection through modes of selfish communication such as: interrupting, deflecting, advice giving, praise, etc. After Mat’s presentation, we had a brief question and answer session before the exercises began.

We started each partner switch with an energy exchanging exercise in which we made eye contact with our partner of our choice for a few minutes before moving on to a specific topic discussion. Every 5 minutes, partners would switch and the other would get to speak on the topic.

We then switched partners after every topic discussion to have a new topic for discussion with a new partner. We talked about our painful pasts, heart break, joy, success, love, and trauma all whist creating a sacred space of confidentiality, understanding, and empathy. There were tears of sadness and of joy, laughter, releases of anger, and comforting hope knowing that we were all there experiencing these moments together.

Everyone had a great time and expressed their interest in attending more workshops in the future. Everyone was  left hungry for more intimate and deep connection through reflective listening. Each person made a new friend that night and went home feeling not so alone.

Kundalini / Hatha Yoga – My First class…

Kundalini Yoga at Aurora Healing Arts, Gainesville, FL

Just before class began, there was chatter amongst the members. Everyone seems to know each other well and Aurora has this magical energy about it that seems to draw open, caring individuals into its space. Others introduced themselves and I felt welcomed. Mat called us to the centers of our mats for quiet reflection as we began breathing more fluidly and with intent.

Aurora Healing Arts Window

We started with seated movement. I felt free to explore the motions to suit my comfort level, but yet guided enough to not feel displaced from class. From there, we stood to begin sun salutations. Mat did some variations of the traditional vinyasa and offered modifications for those with limited mobility, consistently reminding us to pay attention to our breath and the movement of our bodies. After a few minutes of sun salutations, we moved to pranayama. Pranayama is the practice of controlling breath through techniques and sequences. As we practiced through several techniques, I felt my breath deepen, my body relax, and my mind focus on the air circulating in my body. It was an invigorating and rejuvenating experience.

The last part of class is reserved for Mat’s sound healing using gongs. It was an absolute treat. We laid in shavasana in whatever way was comfortable for us using provided pillows, bolsters, and blankets. Mat’s gong bath was without a doubt something to experience. I personally had vivid hallucinations, an emotional breakthrough, and toward the end, a sense of serenity and completeness I hadn’t felt before.

I left Mat’s class in somewhat of a daze. I was overwhelmed by what I had just experienced, yet grateful for having been present. I stayed there in my bubble of transcendence until the next morning when I awoke feeling refreshed and ready for the days ahead, but also anticipating my next class at Aurora.