Shell’s Meditations

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Dana is the ancient Pali word for “spontaneous generosity of heart.” These meditations are offered freely so that no one is ever denied access to these practices. Your support (dana) makes a big difference, and will be used to make more resources available to all. If you feel inspired to make a donation to Shell, please click on the button below. Thank you!


*The following guided meditations were recorded live during a class or retreat offered by Shell:


This 30-minute guided contemplative meditation is a retreat favorite. It’s designed to help us get in touch with the quality of equanimity (or upekkha, in the Pali language) which is considered the “fruit” of our practice. It’s based on a quote from the equanimity teachings of a Thai Buddhist monk, Ajahn Jumnian. Enjoy!



In this 25-minute guided meditation, we’re invited to look beneath our more surface intentions to discover our deepest intention, so that we can learn to cultivate, nurture, and embody it, and carry its light out into our lives and the world.



This 25-minute meditation was adapted by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, who learned it from his Thai teacher, Ajaan Fuang, who learned this technique from Ajaan Lee Dhammadaro (1907-1961). Shell learned it from her teacher, Pat Coffey, and now it is yours!


METTA (Loving-Kindness) Meditation

This 25-minute meditation includes a brief explanation to begin. Enjoy!


This 30-minute guided visualization is designed to help us discover our wisest self, and listen to the heart’s deepest wisdom for the answers we have been seeking.



A short sample of the evening chant often offered at Shell’s retreats, especially the annual retreat on the Divine Abodes, or the Bhrama Viharas, which includes the profound heart qualities of metta (loving-kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (empathetic joy), and upekkha (equanimity.) 




Below please find the basic meditations and gentle yoga practices offered to students in the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) workshops that Shell teaches.  These are all gentle, simple practices designed to help you calm and relax the body, while learning to become more embodied, mindful, and awake in your daily life.
Some instructions are included with each. Enjoy!

THE BODY SCAN – 30 minutes

Body scan suggestions: 

    • It’s best to be in a room that’s warm, comfortable, and quiet, where you won’t be disturbed.
    • You might want to place a pillow behind your head, and put a blanket over your body.
    • It’s fine to do this in a seated posture, if it’s difficult for you to lie down, or, if you find yourself falling asleep.
    • If it’s difficult or painful in any way to stretch all the way out onto your back, you can keep your knees bent, or use a pillow under your knees or wherever you need.
    • If during the scan you feel yourself starting to fall asleep, you can deepen your breathing a little more, or, open your eyes until you feel ready to close them again.
    • The goal is not so much to relax, as to become more aware of your body.
    • If you feel strong pain or emotions – both of which can sometimes occur as you focus more intimately with the body, you have several choices:
  1. You can stay present with the sensations, emotions, and thoughts that arise with great kindness and curiosity
  2. You can choose to just “dip your toe in” a little, touching it briefly, then come back to an awareness of your full body … or, to a place in the body that feels neutral, comfortable, or safe. You can then choose to go back and forth this way.
  3. You can choose to breathe directly into the painful sensations,  then imagine breathing them out in to the whole space of the room.



Guided meditation suggestions:

  • You can choose to do this in a chair, or seated on a cushion on the floor. (A straight, armless chair is best. Some cushioning is fine, as well as a pillow behind the back if there is some back pain, and/or a pillow beneath your feet if your feet don’t easily meet the floor.)
  • If you are using a cushion, make sure your hips are higher than your knees, and that the cushion is fairly thick and solid.
  • Patience, kindness, and curiosity at all times (this is a practice; not a perfection) 🙂
  • You’ll receive the most benefits if you can remain open, and not strive for anything at all – even relaxation.
  • If you start to fall asleep, you can choose to breath a little deeper, open the eyes straight ahead, or even stand until you are ready to sit again.


GENTLE FLOOR YOGA – 40 minutes

Floor yoga suggestions:

  • Remember that you’ll actually have the best results if you don’t try to achieve anything at all, even relaxation. Just be curious!
  • As much as possible, keep the eyes closed so that you can focus more deeply inside the body. Please open them when you need to for balance.
  • Keep in constant contact with your breath, breathing primarily through the nostrils, and feeling it expand and deflate in the belly …
  • Please honor the needs of your body, and don’t do any pose that your intuition or body tells you not to do, especially if there is discomfort or pain. “No pain, no pain.”
  • If it’s difficult for you to stretch all the way out onto your back, you can modify by bending your knees.
  • If you choose not  to do a pose, see if you can visualize your body doing it
  • At the same time, it’s important to dwell at your own limits long enough to experience them, but please be aware when you might be pushing beyond them, and  give yourself permission to pull back.
  • Some sensations to notice: Tingling, pulling, tugging, pins and needles, prickling, hot feelings, burning, radiating, penetrating, sparks of energy or aliveness, maybe even numbness.
  • Questions for inquiry during the session:
  1. What am I feeling right now?
  2. What is this feeling in my back, or knee, or leg? Exactly where is it?
  3. What qualities does it have?
  4. Is my mind reacting to it, or thinking about it, or responding to it. 



Standing yoga suggestions:

  • Here again you’re focusing on moment-to-moment awareness of your body, nurturing your awareness of how your own body works, and how you can best take care of it.
  • You’re doing this in a slow, very gentle way, taking on an attitude of non-judgment and acceptance as you explore your limits, becoming aware of the body as a whole as you focus on different parts.
  • Be careful to do all of these slowly and mindfully so that you’re not jerking or tugging or accidentally going beyond your limits.
  • Notice throughout any places where you might be holding tension – like your face or jaw or shoulders, for instance, when they’re not being used. Can you be aware of these areas, especially your face, and just allow it to relax?
  • Close your eyes as often as you can or would like, really going slowly again, and focusing intimately with all of your sensations.
  • Remember throughout to breathe into your belly as much as possible, with full awareness of your breathing as you go along.