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Season 1 - Episode 5

Connect Heart to Hands

25 min - Practice
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Our hands are the motor organ of our heart. Knowing this connection within yourself is essential before endeavoring to touch anyone. We begin supine with a gentle restorative posture to allow the heart to relax her grip. We transition into a simple passive shoulder opener to help connect us to the interior channels of our prana. We complete the lesson seated, making ourselves available to our heart's flow. You will feel grounded, generous, and spacious.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)

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So in this episode, we'll start to tune our awareness of the heart center a little bit more as well as its intimate connection with the hands. Thank you, Alana, for being here. So it's helpful to have two yoga blocks because we'll start out with something we like to call impressing the heart. One of these bricks, will you turn around for a moment to show? So this brick wants to be right underneath the shoulder blades.

And another way to support that is supporting the shoulder blades. Sometimes underneath the shoulder blades can be misinterpreted as under, but behind supporting on the lower setting. This isn't an athletic event. The second brick, which is going to start out tall, is looking to find the base of her skull, the occiput. So right now, just bring your hand to your occiput and just feel that part where the skull, the edge of the skull is.

You're going to look to place the edge of the brick right in the skull. All right, I'm going to do my best to set this up where I think it might work for Alana and then we'll find out if we got it right. So the lower brick, again, supporting the shoulder blades. And then this taller brick right in the base of the occiput and then Alana will adjust it so it feels right. In general with these shapes, especially with props, is if it feels right, you're probably pretty close.

If it doesn't feel right, that's indicative that an adjustment has to be made. Okay? Nice. Once it feels relatively comfortable, you can choose what to do with your legs. You might widen the feet and let the knees fall together.

You could let the feet come together and the knees widen. If you are lucky enough to have a wall in your house, a really comfortable way to do this is with the legs straight with the heels pressing firmly up against the baseboard. Okay? So one of these three things. Big deliberate inhale and exhale, let it happen.

Nice. And the play here is to start to allow your awareness to come to the back region of the heart, the part of the heart that is currently being supported by the block. And it's not unusual as we become aware of this area to sense some of the tension here. This is an area that rarely feels supported enough to be able to relax. Like essential for ease is a sense that you're held.

Okay? So you don't have to force the back of the body to relax. We just have to simply offer support. Let the front of the heart feel a little heavier. And the gaze is towards the heart center.

Yes. If it's comfortable on the shoulders, they're dropping back and down and palms are turned up. If at any time during this hold, you start to feel uncomfortable in the low back, adjust the legs accordingly. Nice. Let's be here like at least another half minute.

Mm-hmm. Softer in the eyes. If it makes sense, let the upper palate open. Beautiful. And now you're going to use your hands to turn the brick that's underneath your head to the medium setting.

And it's no longer going to be in the occiput. It's going to be supporting the back bulbous part of your skull. Okay, so it's no longer at the base of the skull. It's in the back middle so that you can still feel the brick that's supporting the heart. But now with the head a little lower, you might be aware of an opening more across the collarbones.

And as you're aware of this opening across the collarbones and up through the throat, this is an area that is generally not all that interested in being open. There's a natural biological instinct to close here, to protect here. And so part of the play as you're here is can you become more comfortable with the quality of vulnerability across the collarbones? Can you become more comfortable with the openness of the throat? Beautiful.

Now for most of you, the brick underneath the head on the medium setting is the way to go. If it feels appropriate to let that brick lower a little bit more, you can use your hands to turn the brick more towards a lower setting so it matches the brick underneath the heart. If you do that and it suddenly feels stressful and straining and like you're trying to accomplish something across the chest and the shoulders and the neck, then it's not useful. Go back to the medium setting. How does that feel?

And then with the brick underneath the head in either the medium setting or the lower setting, we're just going to tune a few things. So if your legs are not straight now, let the legs slowly draw towards straight one at a time, draw the legs towards each other and flex the feet, reach through the heels and give a little juju. So you're activating the legs and usually as you start to do that, you can already start to feel the heart respond, just like when we were standing. Now tune the arms down alongside you with the palms facing towards the torso and the fingers enthusiastic, yes. On an inhale now, reach your arms up over the top of the head and pause.

Let the shoulders relax back and down and if it's required to bend the elbows for that to happen, do so. With the shoulders, drop back and down now, bend your elbows so that you clasp one elbow with each palm. Inhale here and as you exhale, let the arms come up over the top of your head. Keep the clasp and see if you can feel your ability to stretch, beautiful, Lana. Stretch through the right side a little bit more, kind of feel the right foot to the right elbow, yes.

Stretch the left side a little bit more, left foot to left elbow, yes. Now for most of you, keeping the palms to the elbows clasp will be more supportive in your shoulder joints. If it's safe to do so, extend your arms straight, reach through the fingertips, feel the reach from the legs through the fingertips, broadening through your lungs, yes. And then as you're ready, inhale, reach the arms up towards the sky and as you exhale, let the arms come back down along your side, gorgeous, pause, nice and we'll do that one more time. So tune the legs, like reach your juju through the legs, just like you did when we were standing up on the bricks in the earlier lesson, reach, tune your arms, inhale, reach your arms up towards the sky, pause, soften the elbows so the shoulders roll back and down, yes, clasp, palms towards elbows, inhale here, exhale, stretch your arms over the top of your head.

Now keep lengthening, wiggle a little longer, yes and you either keep the clasp or you reach through the fingertips and feel the pinkies, rings, middle, index thumbs, yes, reach through the legs. So pretty, inhale, reach the arms up towards the sky and as you exhale, let the arms come back down along your side, nice. Now this next part's always awkward, bending the knees, soles of the feet on the floor, you're gonna roll off your bricks gently towards the side and then the request is to remove your bricks out of the way and roll back onto your back, knees bent, soles of the feet on the floor and pause, yes and allow your awareness to move towards the back of the heart, like feel what it feels like to remove a giant block from the back of your heart and often times there's this amazing quality of spaciousness, not guaranteed but often and sometimes the awareness pours into here but sometimes it helps to let the breath tether you. So if the awareness hasn't just naturally poured into this area, feel the, let the breath move, yes, beautiful, gorgeous. Now don't let us rush you, we're gonna move into the second part of this lesson which is connecting the heart and the hands a little bit more but if you wanna savor this a little bit longer then pause, otherwise as you're ready, roll onto your left side for reclining Buddha or whatever side's convenient to watch what we're doing and you wanna scooch towards the edge of the mat so that you have plenty of mat behind you because you're gonna eventually roll back onto your back so we wanna make sure you can still do that.

Now there's a couple options in reclining Buddha, the knees are slightly bent to help with balance, Alana right now is demonstrating with her bottom arm, her left arm straight, you could also bend your left elbow and rest your head in your hand, beautiful. From here now reach your top or arm up towards the sky so for Alana that's her right and step one we're gonna floss the shoulder joint a little bit like we floss the hip joint so soften the elbow a little bit and as it feels good roll the right shoulder forward and then roll the right shoulder back and then roll the right shoulder forward, beautiful and then roll the right shoulder back and do this a couple times just kinda getting in there just like we did in the hip joint and the next time you find yourself with the shoulder rolling forward bend your elbow and place your right hand behind your back so the palm is facing away from you. Now for some of you you might have your hand down by the sacrum region that might be deep enough for what the shoulder joint allows today for some of you it might snuggle a little bit higher okay you don't need to go beyond what's natural and appropriate okay let the shoulder joint relax away from the ear so create yes a little space between the ear and the shoulder joint and as you feel ready you're gonna roll onto your back gently painting that right arm underneath you I like to shift my hips a little left I like to bend my knees to hold the feet on the floor but you adjust your legs what how it feels right and so the play now here we're gonna be here two minute ish the play here is you're gonna allow this right shoulder to have your attention and the amount of intensity you may or may not feel depends a lot on are you right handed to what sports do you play big deliberate inhale exhale let a happen do you remember how to ground so can you bring that grounding skill to the back of your right shoulder blade like can you allow your right shoulder blade and your right shoulder to feel supported yes aha easier in the base of the skull kinder in the eyes and so it's not so much the action of trying to change the shoulder make the shoulder open if the shoulder senses you're trying to fix it it will hide nobody likes to be fixed it's a quality of seeing the shoulder a quality of letting yourself ground with the shoulder of essentially being with what is happening which is a little bit different nice for these last few moments notice where else you can let go like we tuned the floor of the pelvis in the last episode what happens if you relax here what happens if you let the throat ease what happens if you let the back of the heart feel wider yeah beautiful then as you're ready you're gonna roll to the left just enough to free the right arm and then lie back onto your back with both arms down along your side and pause yes and can you be aware of the tone from the back of the heart down through the right arm out through the right palm so the yogis have long said that the hands are the motor organ of our hearts can you feel okay the center point of the right palm can you feel the space between your fingers can you feel what holds your hand tension is a way of feeling held and as long as we don't feel held we'll choose tension okay only as you're ready reclining Buddha on the other side so for most of you that's your right side or at least that's what it is for Alana and again as a lot of showing either that bottom right arm is straight or the elbow is bent okay both are perfect for her straight feels better so we'll let her go back to that knees are slightly bent okay soft in the belly easy in the face and as you're ready the left arm lifts up towards the sky soften the elbow enough so that you can really get into the shoulder joint flossing the shoulder joint letting the exhale roll the shoulder forward and letting the inhale roll the shoulder back let that feel good and be interested in the shoulder the second side always gets a little bit gypped because there's a sense of yeah yeah yeah yeah I get it I know what the point of the lesson is and as soon as we think we know what the point of something is we miss so many things so in engaging your curiosity I mean it seems to be one of the main purposes of pain is to keep us focused so next time you're exhaling and rolling the shoulder forward keep that as you bend the elbow and bring the hand behind your back it might be down by the sacrum or it might be snuggled up towards the back most likely this side is different once you've established the spot roll onto your back gently pinning that hand beneath you shift your hips a little bit to the right and then establish your legs so that they're comfortable for you so maybe the knees are bent as Alana showing or maybe there's a position with the feet together knees wide or legs straight now this side's different and always when we come upon the second side that with the with the mind of the measurement device of the monos tends to do is to make a decision not just that it's the stickier side or the more open side but that it's the good or the bad side so just be aware of that temptation laugh about it and then the same idea here again not trying to fix anything just trying to be with through your skill of grounding so big deliberate inhale and exhale let it happen and can you bring that same skill that we brought in the earlier episodes to the back of the shoulder blade yes like can you allow the area of this part of the body to feel supported again not through force not through you'll feel supported or else but offering support I mean one of the best ways to feel supported is to feel supported which is hard to do when there's tension yes yes softer in the back of the heart like remember the back of the heart that we tuned with the bricks earlier softer in the base of the skull yes yes being aware of where else you can drop some of the grip so in the earlier episode we practiced relaxing the pelvic floor what happens if you do that here what happens if you soften your belly nice beautiful few more moments and sometimes it's harder if this if it's there's no sensation you have to work a little harder to keep your breath tethered to the area okay really nice so the request now is so tenderly you're going to roll to the right you're going to free that left arm and you're going to rest on your back and as you rest on your back arms along your side let the legs be how it's comfortable for you and then like really tune from the back of the heart down through that left arm like can you can you feel the result okay of placing your arm behind you and as you tune from the heart down through that arm can you be aware of your left palm center point of the palm the space in between the fingers and as you become aware of the space in between your fingers like can you be aware of the context of your hands so your hand doesn't exist without the context can you be aware of what we pay less attention to a few more moments hands heart hands what holds you nice if you'd like to be here longer please be here longer but if you feel ready for the last part of our lesson in your own method you'll eventually find your way to a side and find your way up towards the sea and find your way up as you make your way towards the seat choose a seat that's comfortable for you and so once you find a seat that's comfortable for you let's just review some of our skills so big deliberate inhale and exhale let a happen and relax down through the pelvic floor and ground so we've been practicing with this standing and supine but now really can you let yourself ground here in a seated position you might even slump it a little bit sometimes that helps yes and remember some of your skills soft in the pelvic floor soft in the low belly and you'll know you're grounded because the breath will tell you so the breath will be kind of at the bottom of the exhale and then the request is maintain a sense of grounded as you allow your heart to begin to brighten so what do you need to do to let the back of the heart widen and the front of the heart to start to feel generous and try turning your palms up maybe so that as your as your heart tunes you're also starting to get a connection with the hands the hands will help you know how your heart's doing nice nice and then the last part is what does your skull need to do to feel more balanced what movements need to happen there widening and i've mentioned the soft palate a couple times without detailing that instruction so let's just do that now together bring that pepper your tongue to the back of your front teeth and fly the tip of the tongue back across that hard palette until it binds the soft palate there's like a little edge there where it kind of gets soft that's the soft palate relax your tongue back in the lower teeth and then can you tune to the soft palate and can you allow the soft palate to widen and slightly dome for most of us that will drop our head a little bit and so there's this quality of grounded good generous and spacious beautiful gorgeous thank you for giving your heart extra attention thank you alana love

Comments

Sandra Židan
This was a one really nice and relaxing practice! Thanks, Kira and Alana! Regards!
Kira Sloane
1 person likes this.
Sandra Ž! So happy to have you here. xok
Summer
I love the concept of how we cannot relax unless we can trust that we are being held and that tension is a way of creating stability so we can feel safe, that we will choose it if we don’t feel supported. Allowing yourself to be held...not always easy, but it when you can it feels so gooey and good! ❤️

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