Yin Yoga Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 7

Listen Deeply

45 min - Practice


We tune our inward listening in this Yin practice. Kira invites us into a meditation with an eye toward the opening of the ears. We hold our attention toward this tuning while moving through a handful of long, slow holds.
What You'll Need: Mat


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(waves crashing) Hi. So this practice will help us tune our skill of inward listening. We'll start lying down. Now bend the knees, draw the heels in close. And like usual, reach the arms up over the top of the head.

And we'll begin with the old windshield wipers. As you inhale have the knees center, and as you exhale, knees to the side. And then inhale, knees center, and exhale, knees over to the other side. Nice. Inhale, knees center.

Exhale, knees to the side. And then inhale, knees center. Exhale, knees over to the other side. Now, next time the knees come back over to the left, stay on the left, lengthen a little bit. Like, feel your ability to stretch to the right thigh.

Lengthen a little bit, and allow your awareness to be in the right lung, like we've been doing. Opening, breathing. Yes, inhale knees come back center, exhale, knees over to the other side. Lengthen on this left side. Feel, like let the lung help tether your attention.

Into that left lung. Beautiful, now inhale, now knees come back center. Nice, exhale. Reach the arms up towards the sky, let the hands come back down along your side. Now widen the feet, let the knees fall together if that feels comfortable.

If you know a different position that would be more comfortable, find that. Bring your thumb and index finger knuckle to your ear lobes, and now slowly begin to tug on your earlobes. What I like to do, as I tug on the earlobes, is I really like to pull one and then the other. And then one and then other. And I really start to pull these long, like slow.

And if your ears are just the right amount of greasy, your ear hand will just slide off and the exact right speed. Okay, then start to make your way the ear, up the outer ear. So you pull wide. And you're just kinda making your way up from side to side. This outer ear has a name.

It's called the auricle. Okay, when you get to the spot, the little Spock spot, pull up on the Vulcan spot. And then, like, when you come to that part of the ear that's really close to the head, I like to turn my hands around and pull down a little bit. This should feel good, so tug at the right tension, and speed, and intensity, where it feels nice. Okay and then start to make your way back down the outer ears, back down towards the ear drum.

Once you get down towards the eardrum, pull along again. Beautiful. And relax. And just pause, and feel the effect of allowing your ears to literally, for real, be slightly more stretched out. Okay, every representation of the Buddha I've ever seen, he's got these giant ears.

And I'm pretty sure the prince didn't have actually big ears. Pretty sure that's sacred art. You know, giving us an image representation of wisdom, listening. Okay, now we're gonna move into something called the black bee humming breath, Bhramari. We're gonna take that in stages.

Stage one, bring the back of the tip of the tongue to the back of the front upper teeth. And once you have that then curl that tongue under a little bit so the bottom part of the tongue is hitting up against the upper palate. Once you have that, we're gonna make a humming bee sound. So mouth is closed, tongue is curled under. As you're ready, inhale.

And then. (humming) Nice, again, inhale. (humming) One more time. (humming) Relax the tongue. Let the tongue rest.

Okay so now this time, we're gonna ask, it's almost like a slightly gross from of Pratyahara. Bring your second and third fingers together, and know where your thumbs are. Now the thumbs are gonna close off the ears, which you can do by either kinda squeezing that little flap into the ear, find that. Or, and I prefer this, just kinda puttin' the whole thumb down in the ear. Okay, so you gotta choose.

So, on both sides cover the flaps of the ears, and then with the second and third fingers, so gently, cover your eyelids, okay. Now as your ready with the thumbs in your ears, and your covering your eyelids, turn your tongue under and we're gonna do three of the bee humming breaths. So as you're ready, inhale. (humming) Nice, again, inhale. (humming) One more.

(humming) Okay, relax your hands from your ears and your eyes. Let them come back down to rest and just rest in the quality available from the bee humming breath. If you're not quite comfortable, change your position so you are. And then let your mind, let your awareness, start to bring your right ear into focus. And with your right ear in focus now, can you allow the auricle of your ear, the outer ear to start to feel bigger?

Soften the tension around the outer ear, back of the ear, and as you allow the auricle to feel bigger, soften the jaw. Start to become aware of the inner ear canal. Move your awareness down the inner ear canal, down to the ear drum. Let the ear drum feel more transparent. Move behind the ear drum where you find those three little bones that are translating the vibrations from the external realm, okay into a beat that the internal world can understand.

Move through those three little bones, into the inner ear. Let the inner ear feel more spacious. Soften the upper palate. You might feel that down your throat. Yes.

Watery. And then with this new spacious, open quality in your right inner ear, can you hold your right inner ear open and can you bring your right lung into focus? So, can you maintain an openness in the right ear as you listen to the movement of the breath in the right lung? Yes, now gently relax the effort of opening the side and just rest, and bake a little bit in the feeling zone. And don't let me rush you.

So if you need more time, to just kinda like investigate and marinate in this right side before coming to the left, stay here longer. Okay, only as you feel invited, move over to your left lung first. Like, let your left lung, and the breath in the left lung ground you. And then only as your ready start to bring the left ear into your focus. And so as you bring the left ear into your focus, let the auricle of the ear feel bigger.

Like, let the auricle of the ear open, soft. The tension around the temples, behind the back of the ear. Like just decide to let this grow. So you can collect more data. Yes, draw your awareness down into the inner ear like in towards the ear drum.

And feel, can you sense the left ear drum that's not such an easy thing to sense. Soften in the jaw. Can the ear drum feel more transparent? Can you be aware of these three teeny tiny minute specks of dust, bones, that are translating all these external vibrations into a pressure that be understood inside? Okay, come down into the inner ear.

Let the inner ear feel more spacious. Let the upper palate open. Open up down through the throat. Yes, now let this ear feel wide and open, and maintain that openness as you bring your awareness into your left lung. And so the practice here is can you be aware of the movement of the breath in the left lung as your ear is open?

Yeah. Okay, beautiful. Relax the effort of this and rest, and be here in this sort of like, space. As long as it feels correct. The play, as we continue, will be to see if we can find this quality of openness within our practice.

So only as you're ready. Knees into your chest. Wobble a little bit. Ankles cross, inhale roll back. Exhale, roll up to sitting.

All right, nice. The suggestion is that we start with box pose. Now we're gonna be offering ourself to this for about five minutes. So, I'm gonna bring my left shin on the bottom. I'm gonna bring my right ankle up on top of that left knee.

And then I'm gonna allow this right knee to kind of slowly and eventually find her way down towards that left ankle. I don't wanna rush that. And instead of kinda focusing on your hips and what maybe needs to happen in your hips and your inner groin, maybe lean onto your left hand, and can you just like, so my right hip is where the intensity is, can you just let your right ear open to your right hip? Can you, instead of trying to make the shape do something, can you actually increase your listening skills. And as you let your right ear open to your right hip, as you actually, like, hey, how are you?

Just like any relationship. If you've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to truly be listened to, if you've had that opportunity, you might be familiar that what happens is you suddenly have very little to say. 'Cause as we're truly listened to, then something else is being heard. And when we're not being listened to, the the temptation is to speak louder. Or to shut down for a while.

Okay so, if there's been an effect with opening up your ear, and opening up that right hip, then you might stay upright, but some of you might be bringing your elbows onto your knees and ankles, and kinda like leaning in a little bit. And soften through the upper palate and the jaw, and again we're playing here, so if the experiment of the opening of the ear and its relation to the hip, if this experiment isn't quite working, if it's not the right medicine, if it's more subtle, than is helpful, then be aware of something more obvious, like the breath. Okay open up the upper palate, kinder in the eyes. And whatever spots, even though I mentioned it might be the right hip, because of how you are put together you might be feeling it more in the left hip or the left knee, but where ever your feeling it, instead of trying to change it, can you just practice opening the ear. This is really sort of how Pratyahara works.

Okay again, staying with your elbows on your knee might be the perfect spot. Some of you just might be put together in a way that coming down onto your forearms and the palms up maybe your head is resting on your hands or in a brick. A few of you it makes sense to come all the way to the floor and rest your head on the floor. As always, if your forcing, you'll know 'cause it'll feel like you're forcing. (humming) Keep playing with that inner ear.

Like you'll know you're not listening if your ear starts to feel closed and tight. If you forget, if, you know, because, well, well we know our hips might be tight, our neck might be tight, or our shoulders might be tight, our listening skills are generally quite limited. (humming) It can often feel good to wobble a little bit. And sometimes it's helpful to kinda sigh. Or make a sound, and if it's ever quite hot or spicy, kind of letting a little bit of (deeply exhales).

And even sticking out your tongue can feel excellent. And if it felt fine to fold forward at one point, but suddenly you've hit a layer of depth where it's no longer fine, you come out. Okay, that's probably about five minutes. So to get out of there, you come back up. Lean back and free your legs in a position that feels good.

So, that might be straight forward. That might be out to the side. And if you prefer to lie back in the shape of shavasana, between these shapes, you do that. And allow yourself adequate rest in between sides so that you know what just happened. Be aware, like let the belly drop.

Be aware the quality of your legs. Okay we're gonna start to make our way to the other side. Stall as long as you want to. Okay, you're gonna bring your right shin forward. We're gonna be in this about five minutes.

Bring that left ankle on top. Start to roll that left hip open. And again instead of using your hands to help, or, you know, props to help, maybe just lean to the right and just open up the left ear. And you're opening up the left ear to the left hip. And as you open up the left ear to the left hip, it's not guaranteed but often the left hip will give up a little bit of it's intensity of communication.

And everybody knows when they're trying to be fixed. Nobody likes to be fixed, okay. And so if your hip senses that you're trying to get it to do something, if your hip senses that you want it to be other than it is, it will resist more, okay. Little bit of a (deep exhale) happen, soften. I mean, even if you have a hip that's more of a, kind of a pleaser, so she tries to do what you want her to do, eventually she'll be frustrated that she's not being seen for who she is.

Let the belly relax. Let the heart relax. And again it's this play, the play of the practice, right? This isn't like a trick thing, to get your hips to open. The play of the practice here is can you practice inward listening so that we can start to hone this more intimate relationship with this landscape that's trying to give us so much information.

Okay, and so for most of you, being upright and staying in this position is really ideal. Do give some awareness to what's happening in the left ankle. If she's over-bending, then it's possible that you could kind of create some mischief. A little bit of flex in that foot will sometimes help make sure the stretch stays in the hip. Let a bit of a (deep exhale) happen.

Only as an if, and some of you might already be down there, but only as an if you're invited. You might start to lean in. And you can offer just the slightest bit of weight. It's like, you just kinda lean in, but like any intimate conversation, you're gonna do better if you have less to say. So, ha, la, la, la, sha, la, na, ja.

Let the ears open. And if you lean in and you're like, whoa, it's too much, then you come back. Some of you are gonna come forward and come down onto your forearms. Some of you might be all the way down with your head on your hands, or maybe the head on a brick. There's a softness in the belly.

There's an opening up in the ear. And your listening to yourself. Like for real. Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

Kinder in the eyes. If you're drooling a little bit, you're on the right track. As we talk about often, all the best mommy's drool. Yeah. And again, if you've come in deep, if you've come down into the shape, and you kinda are starting to wonder how much longer, and are starting to wish it kinda over, then you back off a little bit.

You give the shape the room she needs. Yeah. Letting that left ear open. Maybe it's not just to the left hip, maybe there are other spots. And it doesn't mean that the right ear can't also open.

We're just focused. Yeah. As we come up on the last part of this, where you're still in resistance, where can you turn yourself a little bit more over to the shape? Okay, that's about five minutes. Come on out of there.

Lean back, free the legs. Nice work. It's no easy task. Once you really soaked yourself up, and like (blows) wow. And you're ready to move, we're gonna make our way onto our belly for seal.

Okay, lay down on your belly, and we'll start in the sphinx. Legs are behind you. I like to have my legs almost mat width, sometimes a little bit wider. Now we're gonna be eventually offering ourself to this for about five minutes. So big deliberate inhale.

Exhale, let a (deep exhale) happen. Soften the buttocks, soften the low back, soften the back of the heart, and let the ears open. And now while sometimes I'll give the instruction of letting the ears open, I find it way easier to let one ear open, so I find it easiest to let my left ear open, and then my right ear. Like I just don't quite have command of both at the same time. It's just much easier for me to do one and then the other.

And if sphinx is satisfying for you, if staying low with the buttocks soft, if you have an appropriate opening down through the low back then kick it here. Only if appropriate for you, you're gonna make your way to seal. Now you wanna make sure your hands are on a not-slidey surface. So this blanket's a little slippery for me, so I'm gonna fold it back. I'm gonna put my hands on the mat, turning the hands out, I'm gonna draw the arms towards straight.

Now give yourself a moment of pause, okay. So that you make sure that you're moving at an appropriate pace. Let one ear and then the other ear open. And either keep your arms out in front of you like this to keep the bend more in the mid-back, thorasic spine, or bring the hands in closer and press up. And what I like to do there is then let the hips get heavy.

The shoulders are lifting. It can feel a little bit weird if you're not used to it. But the shoulders kind of lift, and then you're hang your spine like a hammock. Easy in the low back, soft in the heart. Okay, face gaze is either forward, maybe the chin is dropped.

If your knees feel sensitive here, if your feeling like your knees aren't tracking correctly, tuck your toes under. Okay, otherwise the tops of the feet can stay on the earth. And then just for the play, since this is the experiment, be aware the left side of your sacrum, low back. And let your left ear open. Yes.

Soft in the buttocks. And then be aware of the right side of the sacrum, low back. And let your right ear open. Yeah. Yes.

Easier in the upper palate. Kinder in the eyes. Again, slight drooling is encouraged. Let your lips feel fluffier. Soften the buttocks more.

Let your internal organs hang if that makes sense. Like everything in here is all connected. So as you literally let your internal organs feel heavier, they will pull gently on your spine. Yeah, nice. Beautiful.

Just about a half a minute more. Mm-hm. If you're fighting it, it's not working. Come on out. You've cooked appropriately.

Better to be a little al dente than like over-done. Yeah. Okie-dokie. As you're ready to get out of there, you start to bend the elbows. You start to lower on down.

Be slow about it, this is a tender one. Then your elbows go wide and your head rests on your hands. And pause. Might be appropriate. That quality of vulnerability, tenderness that you're gonna feel in the low back, or that you most likely feel, is correct.

Mm-hm. Nicely done, beautiful. Don't let me rush you. If you need more time, please be here more. Only as appropriate, the suggestion is that we find our way to child's pose.

So hands come underneath the shoulders. We start to bend the knees. I'm gonna take this opportunity to tidy my blanket. And press on back. Mmm.

Allow yourself adequate time. Okay but the feeling of the yin practice is very different than yang-activity. It's an invitation into this underworld, this inner world. Mm-hm, mm-hm. Really beautiful.

Okay, our transition is on towards our back for a spinal twist, so I'm gonna suggest that you come forward onto your belly. And that you then roll onto your back, and hug your knees into your chest and wobble. Yes. Okie dokie. Wrap your right leg over your left, maybe the right foot hooks around behind the calf.

Arms out from the shoulders. Inhale here, and as you exhale bring the knees over to the left. Right palm comes on top of the left palm. Once you've organized, circle the right arm back over to the left, and as always it's okay to bend your elbow a little bit to help your shoulder roll back and down. Like adjust your arm so it feels good for you.

Today I'm gonna find myself in cactus arms on both sides. Now we're gonna be here about three minutes. So the knees are heavy. Adjust the situation. And then notice where you're held.

Okay notice for me it's the upper right shoulder, upper back. For you it might be the hip or the low back. Notice where the tension seems to be holding you. And just be aware of the tension, and then just let the right ear open. As I just start to (deep exhale), and while hearing is different than listening, right?

So you're not necessarily going to hear direct linguists, you know, information translated into words from your back, there's a willingness to connect to a vibration of you. And as we've talked about before, tension is a way of feeling held. And tension will remain in grip until something else comes and offers support. So your willingness to listen becomes what the tension can relax into. Yeah.

Softer in the upper palate. Kinder in the eyes. Yes. Sometimes it's nice to wobble the neck a little longer. Sometimes it's nice to sigh.

To get outta here, you're gonna keep the knees to the left as you unwrap. Right leg simply resting on the left. And then just draw the right knee up towards your chest and up towards the sky, and the rest of you will follow. Rest your feet back down on the earth, knees bent, pause. Big deliberate inhale, exhale everything.

And just like allow the effect of the twist to be revealed. Be aware down through the sacrum, up through the spine. And just like feel the flow of you. This is the you that we're trying to come more in contact with. The more invisible, intangible.

Yes. Okay, knees come into the chest, wa, wa. Wrap the left leg over the right. Hook if that's available. And bring everything over to the right.

Organize. Left palm on top of right palm. Once you're organized, circle the left arm back over to the left. I'm gonna choose to do cactus arms. Now, we're gonna be here about three minutes.

At this point if you've been kicking around with me through season one and season two, you're starting to get a sense that eagle wrap spinal twist is my favorite. And there are so many other spinal twists. So if you have a different one that you prefer, please feel welcome. Okay, now, come to where you feel the tension. The holding.

And tension is a really intelligent force. And tension, intelligently so, is not gonna give up until it feels itself held by something else. So as you become aware of where the holding is, maybe it's in the hip or the back or the shoulders. You become aware of your holding is, can you allow your ear to open? Your left ear to open?

Like, literally to lend an ear. Can you become the support? Like, can you direct your attention to allow yourself to feel, mmm, the awareness of being. Yes. And if you wish your knees were a little higher or a little lower, like if you can suddenly feel that there needs to be a slight change in your posture, then you change it.

Like I'm feeling like I wanna lift my left arm a little bit more. Yes. Maybe let yourself sigh again. Okay, when you're ready to get out of there, keep the knees to the right but free the left leg, so you've unwraped. Pause, there'll be just a little bit of a settling, and then lead with the top left leg.

Draw her towards you and up, and the rest of you will follow. And then place the feet back down on the floor and pause. And then feel the effect of the twist. Yes, and it would probably feel good to let the knees come into the chest and hug the knees and wobble. Mm-hm.

Nice. Let the feet come back down to the floor and let's offer ourselves to the shape of shavasana. Let one leg straighten, let the other leg straighten. And drop your shoulders underneath. Let your palms open.

Big, deliberate inhale. And exhale everything. Do that again. And exhale everything. And just rest in the results of your interior attention.

Be aware of the results of inner listening. And while sometimes it can be quiet, sometimes it can feel quite vibrant as suddenly as the interior realizes that your paying attention, she has so much to share. There's no right way to be, it's, "How are you?" Yes. You might like to be here for quite a lot bit longer. If so, please do.

Only as it feels right. Maybe a deliberate inhale. Exhale everything. Perhaps let the knees bend. Soles of the feet on the floor.

Reach your arm over the top of your head and roll onto that side. And then use the hand that's on the ground to press yourself back up. Shnuggle in a little bit. Big, deliberate inhale. Exhale everything.

Do this again. Soft in the belly and soft in the back of the heart. And it's more like, can you just like listen for the alignment, so allowing the ears to open enough so that you're given the understanding so that you're aware and open to the understanding of how to let yourself align. Alignment comes from the inside. Or the more, from the subtle realm.

And the original alignments are of the heart. And so can you allow the heart to help you find the appropriate posture which can mean attitude? Open up the upper soft palate, let her dome. (humming) Exactly. Thank you for playing today.

Thank you for your willingness to experiment. Let the hands find each other. Namaste.


Blissful 🙏🏻
Sweet to be together, Jenny. xo kira
That was deliciously drool-worthy! Thank you!
Hi Diane! !
1 person likes this.
What a fascinating exploration. At the beginning of the practice, I could really feel the depth and the opening of my ears and the harmony created with the lungs. As we moved into movement, my mind, like a bossy friend (who wasn't listening very well) tried to take control, dissect, "get" what was going on, thereby silencing the listening relationship entirely. This was simultaneously funny and a bit frustrating. I think I will spend more time building the listening just on its own, without the 'help' of my bossy friend. Thank you, Kira.
I have that same bossy friend, Lori! Hahha. xok
1 person likes this.
yes blissful, yes drool-worthy, yes beautiful.
thank you Kira for being so, so you!
krisi, love....
hola - y thank you! by the end of this sweet session , I felt like i was wearing humungous fluffy pink earphones - and let me assure you, i am not a pink fluffy earphone type of gal - so it was a most surprising and somewhat strange feeling!have been soooo concentrating on keeping my ears soft and HUGE in every practise since and even had to go and study diagrams of the whole apparatus so fascinating did i find this class - thank you again!
Michelle, I love this pink fluffy image! And yes, isn't the ear amazing! Happy you are here. xok
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