(waves crashing) So, let's play with letting the heart align with one of its natural states, affection. We'll start out with a seated meditation, and then we'll play with allowing this to help guide the rest of our practice. So, find a comfortable seat. You could be in a chair, if that's more comfortable. Snuggle in.
Big deliberate inhale. And exhale everything. Do this again, inhale. And exhale everything. Allow the belly to be soft.
Let yourself feel the support of the ground. Once you feel this support, soften the back of your heart. Let your shoulders relax back and down, and it can really help to let elbows get heavy. Let the hands be considered. Allow the skull to find her alignment so that your neck tension is no longer necessary.
And then it can really help to let the upper palate, particularly the soft palate, dome. Yeah. Okay. Beautiful, and then, just again, to help yourself, big deliberate inhale. And exhale everything.
On step one, here, is letting ourselves start to become aware of the heart region. We'll let the breath help draw us in. So, first, begin to bring your attention to the left lung. And as you bring your attention to the left lung, let the breath's relationship within the lung help hold you here. Feel the rise, and the fall.
And it's tempting to be aware of the center front of the lung. Can you be a little bit more aware of the back, or the bottom? Yes. Okay, move your awareness over to your right lung, please. And let the breath help tether your attention.
Mm-hmm. Feeling the rise. And the fall. Tune a little bit more to the back body, to help. Yeah, now let your awareness come back to the left lung, and as you come back to the left lung, can you start to play with being more aware of the left lung's intimate embrace of the heart?
The physical heart? Okay, the physical heart, which, while she sits center, she leans left. And she's got dimension to her. Sometimes, we're more aware of the front, but can you feel the center in the back? Now, sometimes, as we become aware of the heart, there can be...
An increased awareness of some pain here. So, if it feels painful in this region, you might naturally start to err towards more the center of your chest, where the yogis say our spiritual heart sits, more in the region of the breastbone. Okay, this might be a much more natural, clearer area to hold your attention. Being, like, letting the breath help you tune here. If there's also some discomfort or anxiety here, then a third place, if you drop right below the breastbone, right below the diaphragm, to this little region that our yogi friends call the wish fulfilling tree.
Our Daoist brothers and sisters refer to this region as the true heart. Sometimes, this is an area to let the attention rest. If there's still discomfort, then drop your awareness down into the lower belly. Good. Nice.
As we move into this first experiment together, you're holding your awareness, maybe it's the physical, the spiritual, or the true heart, or maybe you're down in the belly. And then the next request is, please allow yourself to invite a being with whom you have an easy, uncomplicated, affectionate relationship. Like, let this being come in to your field, and there's this quality of starting to be able to breathe with this being. If you haven't yet found a person, with whom you might have this, a pet. If you don't have your own pet, maybe imagine a small fuzzy baby kitten, or a duckling.
If there's not a person or a pet, maybe it's a place. Where there's an easy... Sense of joy. Yeah. And, as you've identified this being or pet or place, can you be aware of the quality in your heart and in your breath?
Yeah. A couple more moments. And, as you're aware of this being, maybe it's a small child, or a grandparent, or a teacher, as you're aware of this being, now, the last few moments of this opening meditation, can you be physiologically aware of the qualities of this easy affection? Can you feel how it feels in your heart? In your breath, in your face?
And can you become so intimate with this feeling tone that maybe you're even able to let the being, person, place, pet, who helped you, quote unquote, get here, align with this feeling, can you let this person relax from your field, and just for the last few beats here, just, like, sit with the feeling tone. Study this. Really notice what it is. You might even speak out loud what the qualities are of your face, of your breath, of your heart. How does it feel?
Speak this out loud. Yeah. Really nice. Okay, gently relax the effort here. Let your eyes open.
Big deliberate inhale. Exhale everything. And the play here, as we move into our practice, the play is to allow this feeling tone to help us in our practice. We're gonna find our way into Baddha Konasana first. So, soles of the feet together in front of you, about a foot and a half away.
And just begin to rock a little, side to side. We're gonna be here about three minutes. What I like to do first is just kinda wobble a little, side to side. It just kinda, y'know, it just sort of helps me. There's a quality for me of wobbling side to side.
Maybe it just brings me right back to my Weeble Wobble buddy. But I like to kinda snuggle in. I like to let my elbows bend, and, you know, what you do with your hands really depends on you. You inhale here and you exhale. You're gonna let your back round, and usually it's nice to let the head hang, because that then drags the stretch, you know, through that whole back body into the back of the neck.
And then there's so many places your attention can go. There's so many places your mind can go. And the invitation in this practice is can you allow your awareness to maybe come back to this being for whom you have easy affection. Now, what can happen is you start to open up your heart in these practices. What can happen is other beings will start to show up, and sometimes it can start to feel like a bit of a turnstile, but...
Hold your awareness on this one being, unless you are guided to suddenly move to another. Inhale, you feel this rise, and as you exhale, feel the softening. And if you have access to the quality of affection without the assistance of the being, then, by all means, just tune into the affection. But most of us need a little bit more practice than just one meditation. Yes.
Soften the tops of the feet, ankles wide. Knees are heavy. Hips are easy. That rounding in the upper back lets the head drop. Open in the upper palate.
And it's like, literally like breathing with. Like... Let yourself feel joyous. About this friend. About this pet, about this place.
Okay. That's about three minutes. So, as you're ready, chin into the chest. Let yourself start to roll back up. Feel the belly, and feel the heart, and feel the throat, and feel the face.
Let your hands come behind you. Just gonna push my blanket back. Let your hands come behind you. Scoot your hips just a little closer to your heels. Wobble a little side to side, and just 'cause it'll feel good, just roll your pelvis forward a little bit.
Let your heart open, and wobble. Nice. Okay. Now we're gonna make our way towards Box pose. Now, we've already, earlier in season one, we've explored Pigeon and other external hip openers, so if Box pose is asking a little bit much, then skip it.
So, for Box pose, you're gonna bring one ankle on one knee, and the other knee towards the other ankle, okay? So, the play here is you're gonna allow this hip to, this top hip to roll open a little bit as you let this top knee settle. Now, we're gonna be here about three minutes, which requires a mad amount of affection. And you don't need to force your knee down. It's very natural for, in the beginning, to be like, "Whoa." To feel a little bit more like you're an envelope.
Inhale here, and exhale, let a (exhaling) happen. And remember the being, okay? Remember your being. And soften. And get easy in the jaw, and easy in the upper palate, and kind in the eyes.
Adjust, so that your feet are a little bit more flexed. The temptation sometimes will be to let this top ankle roll. Nothing bad's gonna happen. It's just that we wanna play with the stretch finding its way more into the hip socket than in the ankle joint. And for some of you, sitting upright is gonna be where the action is.
Letting a (exhaling) happen. Like, really, truly, only if the light is green, and you get a really strong hint that it's the correct thing to do. You'll start to lean in, and you'll let the weight of your elbows help assist you. Come back to the feeling of affection. If the feeling of affection's not there, bring your being into your world.
Like, think on your kittens. Your puppies. Your sweetheart. For most of you, being kind of upright like this, with the elbows on the knees, is enough. If you have the kind of body that needs you to go further, well, then, you come forward.
Maybe it's elbows on the floor, palms turn up. Soft in the jaw. Open in that upper palate. Kind in the eyes. It's an offering.
And sometimes you'll come to a layer. Sometimes you'll have thought that coming forward was the right thing to do. You were invited. And sometimes, you'll come to a layer that's inviting you to stay, but sometimes you'll come to a layer that wants you to come back up. The key here, as we'll continue to explore together in this season, is listening.
Yeah. So, start to make your way out of it. Lean back, and free your legs. And I'm gonna suggest freeing your legs out in front of you. And just letting them rest for a moment.
Palms turn up. Soft in the belly. If this is not a comfortable seat for you, you can go ahead and lie down, or sit with the legs wide. And just rest, and really feel the result in the leg that was just on top. Of course, the leg that was on the bottom might also have feelings and flavors.
But it's likely that the leg that was on top is a little more sensational. A couple more moments. Just, like, soak up. Nice. Okay.
Let's find the other side. So, opposite leg's on the bottom. Ankle on top. Okay. Now, the play, as you're coming into it, if you rush, what will happen is the shape will rush back.
Now, I mean, some of you might have hips that just go, no problem. Okay? But if you're... If that's not quite you, sometimes, holding onto the top thigh and kinda letting her roll open, and just, like, allow that knee to get heavy, and come back to this feeling of affection. It's like, let the affection be this sow, this soothe, this sweetness that's available to you, just by allowing your heart to align.
Now, the difficulty here, and this might have already happened to you, but, the truth is, just, all relationships are so multifaceted. And... One of the reasons I suggested picking a young child or a grandparent is these relationships, because they're kind of on the ends of life, tend to be more often... Sweeter, less complicated. And usually, a young one hasn't quite wronged you yet.
(chuckling) And pets. Pets are the best. And if you don't happen to have a pet, then I suggest spending some time on cuteoverload.com. You'll find lots of opportunities to feel, just, a genuine, sweet, natural affection. Okay, so this might be the perfect spot, as you soften the mouth.
But some of you might, y'know, you just, you might be invited, be aware of the temptation to repeat. But you might be invited to add a little bit of weight there, and just rest. This... These more dramatic external hip openers can be really energetically stimulating, if you're not used to them. And so, there can be this quality of (imitates air rushing) rush.
Soft in the upper palate. Kind in the eyes. Again, you might be leaning in. If you have the kind of body that requires you to go deeper, you come down onto the forearms. The palms are turned up.
The head can be resting on something, or even resting in your hands. That brings a different quality. And, again, if you came down, and then, suddenly, it's clear that you, it's not quite right, because you can feel it in your face, or your mouth, or your jaw, then you just come back up. Remember the being, with whom you have an easy relationship. And be aware of what happens you to physiologically.
Nice. Okay, beautiful. Slow to come out of there. Come on back up. Lean back.
And gently free your legs. Maybe it's out in front of you, maybe it's something different. If you'd prefer to be supine doing this rest, do that. But be in a place that allows you to sit easily, palms up, eyes soft, and just trace and track the results of being in this shape. Mm-hmm.
Nice. Good. And then, we're gonna be making our way towards Half Saddle. So, turning on your mat. Lean to one side.
I'm gonna lean to my right and bring the left foot back. Now, my left knee is bending, and we explored this in season one. That your foot might point straight back, but your foot might prefer to be kind of out to the side. So you just let it be where it's appropriate for you. I'm gonna place my hands on the floor, lift my hips a little bit, and, just, I'm so gently offering just a little bit of internal rotation on that right leg, so that my sit bones can settle back in.
Okay. Now, we're gonna be offering ourselves to this shape for about three minutes. And this might be deep enough already. This strong bend in this left knee might already be enough. You might even choose to put a little support underneath your hips and lift.
If it's appropriate to come back and deepen the stretch in the front left thigh, I'm gonna suggest to bend the right knee. Place the right foot on the floor. Lift up, and tuck the hips under. Once you've done that, come down onto your elbows. Pause.
Root. Lift the hips, tuck the hips under. For most of you, this is enough. This is a nice yummy stretch in the thigh. It's enough compression in the knee for most people.
Only as it's appropriate. You can let your yourself come on back down onto your back. Tuck the hips under. Let the left knee lift, and then let her relax back down on the floor. For most people, this is enough.
Have you forgotten all about affection? (chuckling) Again, let the being help, or just align back with the feeling tone. Yes. If you're still feeling like you need more, you can start to bring the right knee into the chest. The left knee might come up a bit.
You hold the right knee in as you let the left knee get heavy. Nice, kind in the eyes. Easy in the jaw. Affection. Feel what the quality of affection does.
And, again, there's a refinement. It's like... It's a being that you can just feel sweetness towards. That makes your eyes soft. Your lips kind.
Your forehead smooth. You can keep this right knee hugged in. Sometimes, though, it's nice to let the right knee come into the Half Butterfly. Sole of the right foot up against that left thigh, and the knee dropping open. That can also feel quite good.
That's about three minutes, so, if and when you're ready, you're gonna let the right knee lift if it's dropped out to the side. Sole of the right foot to the floor. Now, to get out of here, it really helps to hold onto the left ankle and the right butt cheek. As you hold onto these two things, you use your elbows, and you start to come on back up. And then you come up to your hands, and you come all the way up.
Now, to get out of this big, deep knee bend, what I like to do is roll forward. Step my right foot a little bit more forward, and then come into a lunge. Tuck the left toes under, and kinda wiggle back through that leg, and stretch back through that left leg, like, letting the back of that knee open. Nice. Okay.
Let the right knee come back down to the floor, and let the left knee come to the floor. Start to sit back, and we'll find our way to the second side. So, bring your left foot forward, sole of the foot on the floor, and then snuggle on down on the inside of that right heel. Again, decide if that right foot wants to be out to the side or straight back. Use your hands.
Lift up a little bit, tuck your hips under, put your hips back down on the floor. So, some of you are gonna have some support underneath the right leg. Some of you are gonna choose to extend the left leg straight and stay upright. This is already enough intensity. Okay, now we're gonna be offering ourselves to this for about three minutes.
So, some of you might be sitting upright. But some of you are gonna bend that left knee. Again, sole of the foot to the floor. Hips tucked under. Scooch your hips under, and start to come on back.
Start on your elbows. And give yourself a long enough pause. Y'know, like, press down into the foot, tuck the hips under, and snuggle in. And before you move deeper, like, align yourself with affection. Because, if you're aligned with affection, it's unlikely that you're gonna try to hurt yourself.
If you're already feeling connected and sweet, okay? Which is a quality of the experience of yoga, it's unlikely that they'll still be striving. So, stay right here. Or... Slowly let yourself come on back.
And, again, remember. Y'know, we worked with this in season one, and we'll work with it again this season. When we force, all we get better at is force. Part of the skill that we're working on is accurately being with what is happening in the moment. When we force, we're ahead of ourselves, usually.
So, this might be enough on this side. Remembering the quality of affection. Okay. Only as it's necessary for you, you might let the left knee come in. You might let that right knee float up off the floor.
You hold the left knee in as you let the right leg get heavy. Soft in the shoulders, open in the upper palate. And this might be the perfect spot. Okay. Holding that knee in can feel really sweet, but, just, it's strong, most likely.
Okay, and some of you might keep the knee in, but some of you might let that left knee open up into the Half Butterfly. Sole of the left foot up against that right inner thigh. That can feel quite nice. It reduces some of the intensity of this stretch. Okay, but it might allow for an easier relationship with affection.
Little heavier in the front of the heart. Little kinder in the eyes. Yeah. That's about three minutes. Let the left knee lift so the sole of the left foot can come onto the Earth.
Hold onto your right ankle and your left butt cheek. Use your elbows and your abdominals to come up partway. Snuggle the elbows back a little bit, and then use your hands to come on up. Nice. Now, be tender.
The knee, it's very little, in modern life, asked the knee to bend this much. So, as you come forward, walk your hands forward, scooch your left foot forward. Tuck the right toes under, lift up through the back of the right leg, wiggle back into the shape of the lunge. Like, stretch back through that heel. Like, feel the opening in the back of the knee.
Beautiful. Slow, let that left knee bend. Let the right knee come forward. And we're gonna make our way onto our backs, for a twist. Reach your arms out in front of you, and roll it out and back down.
And so, the play here, what we're playing with, with this quality of affection, we're not only playing with this physiological ability to just choose how we feel based on what we think about, but we're honing the mind's ability to stay focused. The mind loves to go anywhere, so we're honing our skill of Dharana. Steady attention. So, for this twist, I'm gonna suggest the Eagle Wrap Twist. Okay, if that feels like a little bit much, then just keep the knees together.
Otherwise, wrap your right leg over your left. Tight wrap. Shift your hips just a little bit to the right. Let everything come over to the left. Right palm on top of the left palm.
Organize. And then open this right arm back. We're gonna offer ourselves to this twist for two minutes. I like to let my right elbow bend so my shoulder relaxes back and down. You might prefer to let it come over the top of your head, or have the arm be straight.
And just so tenderly... Just remember how to align yourself with affection. This is a key skill. These are, like, superhero skills. Go go gadget affection.
And, again, while the affection might be there, you might allow for the assistance of your being. And how lucky are you to have a being for whom you have easy affection, or a place, or a pet. And when I say, "Or a pet," I don't mean to imply that a pet is not a being. Just... So that you can know your object of affection can be fuzzy.
Okay, to get out of there, keep the knees to the left, but unwrap. And pause. And then lead with the top right leg. Let her come back, and let the rest of you follow. Pause in the middle, hug your knees a little bit, and then release the feet back down to the Earth.
Knees are bent, and pause. Big deliberate inhale. Exhale everything. Those twists can be a lot. Nice.
Other side. Let the knees come in, wrap the left leg over the right. Arms up from the shoulders. Let everything come over to the right. So, the knees come to the right, and the left palm comes on top of the right palm.
Keep your knees and your right hand to the right as you circle your left arm over to the left. Left the elbow bend a little bit to help the shoulder blade relax. You might prefer to have your arm over the top of your head. We'll be here about two minutes. Initially, it takes some effort to find these alignments.
We have to think on something that allows us to feel that way. We have to tune in to different parts of ourselves, but with some time and some practice, we begin to realize that affection already is, and we're just simply slipping into it. Like, the world is affectionate. The sun embraces the Earth with her warmth. The stars twinkle with delight.
The rivers rush... To the depths of the ocean. There's a tender intimacy to almost every interaction. So, while initially, sometimes it feels like you have to be affectionate, truly, really, it's more like, stop resisting. Just as the left lung tenderly embraces the heart.
To get out of there, you keep the knees to the right, but you unwrap them. Left leg just rests on top of the right. And then, as you're ready, once you feel settled, you're gonna lead with the left leg, and the rest of you will follow. Knees come into your chest, and hug your knees and wobble. Yes.
Okay, let your feet come back down to the Earth. Pause. Just take a few, like, allow yourself to really feel settled, as your shoulders roll under and your palms turn up. Big deliberate inhale. Exhale everything.
And, if it feels nicer on your body to allow Savasana to occur with the knees bent, then you keep them bent, maybe even widening the feet and letting the knees fall towards each other. Only, only, only if, and when, that your low back feels settled, then, maybe, you let one leg extend. Then, maybe, you let the other leg extend. Big deliberate inhale. Exhale everything.
And as you slip in towards Savasana, just let your awareness come back to the heart region that felt most sweet to you. Maybe it's the physical, energetic, true. Maybe for some of you, it's your lower belly. Whichever one of those points has your attention without pain. Again, you just allow yourself to feel the tender, affectionate caress of the breath.
Again, you really let yourself feel the affection of the breath. Can you feel how much the breath adores you? Eyes are either tenderly open, soft, or closed. And it takes skill to let yourself start to feel loved. To start to let yourself feel held.
Soft at the back of the heart, open in the palate. Few more moments here. Nice. You might continue to rest here longer. If you feel ready, you'll let your legs roll in towards each other.
Bend your knees, soles of the feet on the floor. Perhaps reach your right arm over the top of your head as you roll onto your right side and pause. Use your left hand into the Earth to press up. Find yourself in a seat. Allow for a big deliberate inhale.
And exhale everything. Notice the quality of your face around your mouth. Notice the quality of your heart. Find out if this practice was effective. Thank you for being here.