Inner Workings Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 7

Offering the Mind

30 min - Practice


To surrender the contents of the mind is the highest form of yajna, or sacrifice. Kira introduces us to the practice of the Mind Dump, allowing our third eye to feel supported so that our mind can relax. She then guides us in a subtle kumbakha pranayama, drawing the energy up to pool in the ajna chakra. You will leave seeing your world more vividly.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)

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(beach waves) So this brings us to the Ajna chakra. The root of the chakra is rumored to be right at the base of the skull, similar to the region that we associate with the medulla oblongata, similar with the region that we associate with some the nerves of the parasympathetic. The flower, rumored to be right between the eye brows. Most yogis know this region as the third eye. And so, we're gonna approach this area the same way we've been approaching our other sense organs, through the study of how tension is a way of feeling supported and only through an invitation of feeling supported can tension let go.

Okay, so just as there has been a grip in the eyes, a grip in the mouth, a grip in the ears, a grip in the hands, so too there is a grip in the mind. And as we've been talking about, sometimes yoga get associated with releasing the tight spots on just the body, like, "Oh, I have a tight neck, "tight shoulders, tight hamstrings". And while of course these tensions also communicate tension, also create a sense of separation, the tensions in the heart and the mind are so much deeper. So we're gonna start out offering ourselves to something we call Mind Dumping. Now, I'm gonna use two bricks to support the mind.

You may not have two yoga bricks, you might have a stack of books, you might have a short stool, you might have a little chair, okay? But you're gonna wanna find something that can support your third eye on. And this may not be tall enough, so some of you might actually have three bricks to bring this a little higher. See, this requires a little bit of experimentation, okay? So what we'll do is start with this, we'll get a sense of the mind supported, and I'm gonna move into a pranayama practice.

I'll talk about that a little bit more when we get there. Now, I'm gonna start out cross-legged. I'm turning to the side so you have a chance of seeing what I'm doing a little bit better. So I'm in something like sukhasana. This may or may not work for you, some of you might work with one leg out in front of you, might work with both legs out.

Okay, so the seated stance doesn't matter so much as it's comfortable. I'm gonna pull my bricks back a little bit. And what I'm looking for is just the right spot so that this area feels supported. In fact, I'm showing sitting up on this blanket, but I'm gonna change my mind about that. Wobble in.

Now your hands come forward. And then adjust your structure so that you can find the spot where you allow just right here to gently land and then create a little bit of a lift. So there's a little bit of a pull. Okay, nice. So as you create that little bit of a pull, okay, elbows, open palms up, you don't wanna go to the spot where it's deepest, most intense, you wanna go to the spot where it's still relatively easy in your hips and in your low back, where you can let your mind feel rested without too much kink in your neck.

So, you know, give this a few moments before you decide whether or not it's the right spot. And I'm finding here, even though I wanted to show the side, for me this is a little taller than it's useful so I'm gonna lift up and I'm gonna turn this brick down to what I usually call the medium setting. And I'm trying to find that same place where my third eye is gently being pulled and opened. And then I allow the back of my neck to soften, and let my jaw soften, and I do my best to let the bricks have me. Like I do my best to really let my mind feel supported.

And, again, just because how I'm put together, this isn't quite the right height for me so I'm gonna lift up and I'm gonna try this, I'll turn this sideways. Ah! Hold the locks, just right, it'll pull a little rest. Again, it's not necessarily as far as you can fold forward. And the quality, the play we're looking for is a sense of being able to pour your mind into something, like let something hold you. And while I'm suggesting this might be comfortable, you might not be finding it to be, so, by all means, please don't hold yourself in something uncomfortable.

Okay, so this might be, you might have found the perfect height, for some of you though it's gonna make sense to lower down to a single brick, but only if you can still say easy, like I'm finding. I'm just gonna turn this one up. There. Okay, we've been here about two and a half minutes, we're hoping to be here for about three. Soften the jaw, soften the mouth, let the mind rest.

Like, really get a sense of pouring the mind out. Nice. Yeah. Okay, if you feel ready, chin in to the chest, let yourself roll back out. And then pause, let the root of the Ajna widen.

So let the base of the skull widen, let the chin drop a little bit. And just be aware of the quality of your mind from doing this. Like get used to this. Only if you've been working both sides, or if you've been working both legs wide, then this next, the second set isn't so necessary, but re-cross your legs, and you wanna build the bricks back up to where, a little bit higher. You don't have to go all the way back to your starting point 'cause that would feel weird, but you don't wanna be where you ended.

So somewhere in between there. Okay, snuggle in, big delivered inhale. Exhale, "happens", where to let yourself come forward. And finally I'm wanting to turn this up. Yeah, that feels like the right height.

The forehead, again, it's this gentle tog, it's like you're kind of creating this gentle, almost like a slight appraise feeling. And then, once you get the gentle tog, your rest. And if it doesn't feel restful you're not quite in the right spot. Your neck is keen, you're wonky, it's not in the right spot. And, again, we're calling this Mind Dumping, it's really like doing your best to like "shh".

Pour the contents of your mind out. And just in your own time, as you feel like, "Oh, it's time to lower that" or maybe you go back up a little bit, but for me there, that feels nice. Two bricks. Soften the hips, soften the jaw. You've got all your scales tendered and paused.

Yeah. Again, you might be in the perfect height or you might need to make a slight adjustment. You just wanna be quiet in your adjustment. You know, we've been here about two minutes, we're aiming for about three. Three is not necessarily magical, it's just the chosen time to me.

You could be here less or longer. Pour in the contents, soften the mouth, ease in the jaw, tender in the palms. This is much harder than it looks. (laughs) To really surrender the contents of the mind is the highest form of yajna. Yajna is one of the ways we might understand the concept of sacrifice, offering. So we call it Mind Dumping, but another way of understand it is mind offering, self-freeing.

Yes. Okay, last one. Okay, then when you feel ready, chin into the chest, you're gonna slowly roll back up. Feel the belly and feel the heart and the throat and the face. And like almost right away in response you'll feel this natural, spontaneous yonder Bandha.

Like you'll feel the base of the skull start to widen as the chin might drop a little bit. Like start to know the spot. Soften. And just sit, like just sit in the results of this. Like, become more intimate with your own quietude.

Beautiful. Nice. Okay. And so now we're gonna sit up for a pranayama experiment and meditation. I'm gonna be turning a little bit from side to side at times, just to kind of make sure you can see what I'm doing.

I'm gonna choose to sit up on two bricks. So I'm gonna choose to sit in virasana. One brick. Then, that's nice, but two bricks (laughs) is even nicer. Then I really, it just allows my pelvis to tip forward, allows my heart to feel full.

I don't have any pain in my knees or my ankles, so you just find what feels right. Okay. So we've tuned a little bit to the Ajna. You have sense of the base of the skull and you have a sense between the eye brows. Now, this next pranayama relies on a whole slew of earlier lessons we've done, and so as we come to this, if you find that there's too much inside information just go back to the earlier episodes.

And I'll say this again, I've said this before: the pranayama is meant to be done so tenderly, so gently, with such care. Okay, like, force in this round is like (exhales) felt for a lot longer than force in the physical round. Okay, so pinky promise that you're on the honor system and you'll be gentle. Okay, snuggle in, big delivered inhale, exhale, "happen", and soften. Soften down through the floor the pelvis.

You're gonna need access to that muladhara, so soften. Root just enough so feel your heart light and find the alignment of your skull where it feels wide at the base and opening the neck tension. Okay. Now, step one here: let our awareness come down towards the region of your tailbone of perineum. So you might have more sensitivity to the root of the muladhara or the flower.

You just gotta find out. And now we use our breath to instruct this, but similar to other pranayama we've been doing, it's deeper than the breath. So when I suggest that you would feel inhale from the base of the spine up towards the base of the skull, and you would feel the exhale from the base of the skull back down towards the base of the spine, if we do that, literally, if we (inhaling and exhaling) inhale, exhale, it won't work, it'll be too much energy. So it's backed off from that, using your marginal realm and the breath. Okay, baby steps, big delivered inhale, exhale everything, soften the chin, let your eyes close.

And step one here: just start to get a sense of something gentler than the inhale, rising up through the spine, from the base of your spine to the base the skull. And as you exhale feel this run back down, moving in the sushumna that we've been tuning. Okay, so as you inhale you feel the sense of view rise up towards the base of your skull. And as you exhale you have a sense of this gently reaching back down. Okay, so have three or four more rounds like this, just depending on your pace.

And, again, if you're really using your breath it will be too intense. It's so backed off from there. Soften the jaw, ease in the eyes. Yeah, most of you probably have about two more. Okay.

When you come to the end of this next one, so at the end of the bottom exhale, pause. Okay, big delivered inhale, exhale everything. And as you're ready, you might let your eyes open a little bit, it's nice as we're starting to go into this deeper, interior world. Even though you can feel like I'm yanking you in and out a little bit, it's nice to kind of be like, wait, to check in. So, for some of you this might already be intense enough, you might already be feeling a little fluttery.

And if you work with migraine headaches, this usually isn't the recommended practice because we're drawing the energy up. Okay, so if you're already feeling like, "This is not for me", then it's probably not for you, sweetheart. Rest in your belly, okay? If it feels alright, in this next part we're gonna add a little bit of a kumbhaka which is a hold at the end of the inhale, right up at the top of the base of the spine, which the slightest little bit of jalandhara bandha, not too much. So let me talk you through it and then we'll do it together.

So, from the base of the spine you'll feel something like the inhale, it's subtler than that, not sure how to explain it today. Something like the inhale, you're drawing that up through the spine, you're finding the base of your skull, you're pausing at the top of inhale, not for very long but you're just pausing at the top of the inhale, and offering just the slightest bit of Kumbhaka, just like teeny-meeny. Okay, and the slightest bit of jalandhara bandha, excuse me. And then you'll let the jalandhara bandha lift and then exhale back on the spine. But it's just a little spit, just enough to kind of be present with the base of the skull.

We're gonna enhance it in a moment. Okay, let's see how that goes. So, close your eyes, big delivered inhale, exhale everything. Soften the pelvic floor. And, again, you'll choose from either the tailbone or the perineum, one of those will be more potent for you.

You'll feel something like the inhale rise up through the spine. You'll find your awareness at the root. Tiniest jalandhara bandha as you find the littlest kumbhaka holding. Then letting the head lift and exhale, let it come back down the spine. Nice.

That's one round. Pause, and just clearing breath, inhale. Exhale. Super nice. Okay, if it still feels okay let's do a second one, so just like little baby steps.

Big delivered inhale, exhale everything. And as you're ready, feel it's so subtle though, it's lighter than the breath, deeper than the breath. And it's both lighter and deeper. You feel this inhale sense rise up through the central channel, you come towards the base of the skull, the littlest jalandhara bandha, like the base of the skull just opens, widens. You're retaining the breath, kumbhaka.

You allow the head to lift again, and then exhale goes all the way back down. Nice. Pause at the bottom, clearing breath, big inhale, exhale everything. And just check in, see how this is going, okay? And this technique of just the tiniest little bit of kumbhaka, the tiniest little bit of jalandhara bandha, might be the perfect spot.

Okay, so some of you will continue this. I'm gonna turn so that there's more chances of you seeing this. I'm just gonna sit on my heels to show. So, for the last one, okay, with some of you might do on this last one, it's very similar, just a little bit more dramatic. Okay, so you organize, just watch so you have a sense.

Inhale, exhale everything. On the inhale you're gonna draw your awareness up through the central channel, right up to the base of the skull. Once you found the spot you're gonna hold the breath for the chaka. Jalndhara bandha, the chin is going to drop. As the chin drops you're widening the root chakra, and there a sense of letting your awareness pull into the third eye, pull into the flower.

Okay, you hang here only as long as it's appropriate. And then, when you're ready to come out, this is useful information, when you're ready to come out, you're still holding the breath, you're still holding the breath, you let the throat open and you let the head lift, and there's this little spot that eventually, wait until there's a sense of click. And then once you have the sense of other, as click, that's when you can exhale and release the breath. Okay, I'm gonna go through that again. So, we're playing with drawing the awareness, something like the inhale, up through the central channel.

And you might feel it more in the front, you might feel it more in the back, I haven't been specific about that, just kind of wondering where you might feel it. You get to the top of the spine, base of the skull. You're holding the breath as you drop the chin in. You're holding the breath as you drop the chin in, okay? You're letting a pull towards the flower, the chakra.

You're still holding the breath as you eventually let your throat open, let your head come up, and you're still holding the breath, so you find that magical spot and then exhale, the breath comes back down. I'm gonna demonstrate, and it's not so easy to see in this medium, but, maybe, but I just wanna do it for real as opposed to yammering about it, and just see if it's communicatable. (laughs) Communicacable. Something like that. Okay.

Doesn't look like much. (laughs) Okay, let's try the other. I'm gonna sit back up in my comfort bricks. Okay. Again, I know I move super slow. This is me.

Okay. As you're ready and interested. And I'll suggest that maybe we do it for three rounds, but if one round is enough or two rounds is enough just stop there. And then the suggestion will be to sit and do a meditation. Okay.

Big delivered inhale, exhale everything. Soften the floor of the pelvis. When you're ready you'll find something softer than the inhale drawing up through the central channel. Pause at the root of the Ajna gently, holding the breath as you let the base of the skull widen. Jalandhara bandha, chin towards the chest, tipping.

Letting your awareness pull towards the third eye, and you'll naturally find your shoulders roll back and your chest brighten. Only when you're ready, keep holding the breath, let your throat open, let your face open, wait until there's a sense of click and then let the exhale run back down through the spine. Nice. I'm just pausing, like sit in the results of that. Okay.

And for many of you that's deep enough. Once you're like tasting the honey you don't need to keep tasting, you got it. Okay. For some of you it might be nice to do another, so clearing breath. Exhale everything.

And really start to find your own pace here, so I'll try to be gentler on the guidance. Eventually you'll come to an inhale that will move your awareness from the root of you to the base of the skull. You'll retain the breath as you find jalandhara bandha so gently, and let for the subtleties, the widening at the base of the skull, brighten in the heart, kind in the eyes, soften the jaw. And you're only here as long as it's appropriate, when you've had enough, you're still holding the breath, as you let your throat open, as you let your face brighten, it's just the spot where the head clicks in and you know it's correct, now exhale. Yeah.

Okay, like, hang in the soft. And, again, like, no need to continue if you're in it, it's just click. Okay, I'll suggest one more, if appropriate. So, one more time, inhale, exhale everything. Soften the pelvic floor, only when you're ready, like tender awareness, it's even softer than the inhale, up through the central channel, right to the base of your skull.

Retaining the breath as you find jalandhara bandha, chin drops, and it gets wide and bright. Shoulders usually roll back, heart usually less, pulling towards the third eye, before it feels time to let go. Keep holding your breath as you let your throat open, let your face brighten, let the head find your alignment. And she's clicked in, exhale, back down through the central channel. And let the manipulation of the breath go.

Rest in the space. Yeah. And the Ajna chakra is said to be the sea of the wisdom, said to be where our true clear seeing comes from. So while you may continue to sit there in meditation with your eyes closed, what sometimes can be fun is to so gently and so slowly let the eyes start to open. And it's not unusual for things to appear brighter, more vivid, more beautiful.

Maybe stay here with the eyes open, maybe let them close again. You're here as long as you're allowed to be. Thank you for your willingness, your experimentation. Namaste.


Louise D
This IS useful information! Hanging in the sauce, Namaste.
Kira Sloane
1 person likes this.
Dearest Louise, happy to be marinating together. xok
Sladjana J
1 person likes this.
very nice, thanks
Elizabeth C
1 person likes this.
So nice to have you here with me...miss you! thank you ~ lovely
Kira Sloane
oh, elizabeth...miss you! xok
Catherine R
1 person likes this.
Amazing, amazing practice! I think I could sit with my forehead against a stack of yoga blocks all day!
Kira Sloane
Hahah, Catherine , me too!

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