Soothing the Nervous System Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 9

Uncovering the True You

60 min - Practice


Rest in the light of who you really are. In this episode, we move between opposing core misbeliefs revealing that we are not these beliefs but rather their observer. After seated meditation and lecture, our Yoga Nidra practice helps us re-pattern our core beliefs through breath awareness and pairing of opposites. You will feel connected with your true self.

Please have paper and pen nearby for this practice.

What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hello, hello friends from New York. How are you? How is your heart today? I feel like me. You feel the rising level of anxiety, of heaviness. And I just want to thank you for being here, for coming to your practice. Thank you to Yoga Anytime for providing this resource as a way to stay connected. The only thing I know is that the world doesn't need us stuck in our fear. The world needs us to remember who we are, to stay close to one another. So I deeply thank you for being here. I'll give you a couple moments to get settled. You might really enjoy a notebook and a pen today, something to jot down some notes. We'll do a little bit of a journaling exercise. And anything that you'll be needing for yoga nidra, so any kind of props or support or comfort that you need for that practice. We'll start seated. We'll do a little bit of talking and then we'll move into yoga nidra. So I'll give you a few more moments to pull all of that stuff together so that we can begin. And if you notice, we have a little kitty cat visitor today. He knew this was our last class to shine. All right. Namaste. So it's helpful to have your journal and a pen nearby so that you can jot down anything that comes to you in this very brief, but perhaps potent meditation that we're going to start with today. So let's organize ourselves in any comfortable seat that will work for you. You can use some props, making yourself more comfortable. You can even come to sit in a chair. Or if you can't manage to sit upright today, you can also do this one lying down. Once you've chosen your seat, let's start with the palms face down on the knees or thighs. And if you're comfortable to do so, we'll close the eyes. And let's just take three or four deeper breaths to start. No particular agenda or need to dictate where they go or how they land. Just three or so deep breaths in and out through the nose if possible.

Keeping your eyes closed. Let's float the right hand up and we'll take the right index finger and middle finger on the space between the eyebrows. The right thumb and fourth finger little bit above the wrinkles of the nose right at the end of the bony cartilage. Let the elbow and shoulders be soft, face soft. We'll just take a very gentle alternate nostril breath. Breathing in and out through both nostrils first to begin and then as you're ready, very gently close off the right side of the nose with the thumb and take a long breath in through your left nostril. At the top of your long breath, close both sides of the nose gently and then exhale through the right nostril. As you're ready, inhale through the right nostril. Close, block both. Exhale through the left nostril. Continue like this a couple of minutes. Inhale through the left. Close, block both. Exhaling through the right. Inhaling through the right. Close, block both. Exhaling through the left. Continue on at a pace that feels reasonable for you, alternating the flow of breath. Be kind, be kind, be gentle. Just a couple of minutes of alternate nostril breathing. Two nostrils breathing and receiving the breath represent in our map, yogic map of the body, represent these dualities. Left and right, passive, active, lunar, solar, parasympathetic, sympathetic. And the mind likes to move back and forth through these dualities, filtering everything that's coming in through those lenses, right or wrong, past, future, good, bad. And that can be an interesting lens to play with. It can also make the mind quite loud, obscuring really the truth of who we are beyond the duality, truth of our connectedness or wholeness. Be kind, be gentle, continuing alternate nostril breath. Just another minute or so. Take your time the next time you exhale through your right nostril, just whenever you get there. You can lower the hand back down onto the near thigh and just take a moment to let your breath adjust. And then let's just take the right fingers back to the third eye, center, just placing two fingers on the third eye center. Take your left hand and just place two fingers on the heart center and just feel these two powerhouses. Maybe the embodied experience of who you are, where you are, just feel where the density of your presence resides in the mind and the heart today. And begin to visualize or see or experience a glow, a light existing between these two centers as if there's a light in the middle of the brain. And it starts to slide down through the soft palate, throat, encompasses the heart. Holding to that awareness of the light, the glow, it's sometimes referred to as the Jyoti or Lingam, this oval shaped light. Even as you release your hands back down onto your knees or thighs, just holding to that awareness of the light. And in that perhaps quieter state, perhaps more connected state. Just posing a question, what are the untruths that I'm whispering to myself? We all have them.

What are the unkind words I'm saying to myself? Sometimes these are called Vasanas or Vikalpas. They're little bits of bad programming, like a little computer virus that either we were told or that we picked up, but they are not the truth of who we are. What are the untruths, the unkind words that you're saying to yourself? Repeatedly. I'm not good enough. I'm not worthy. Not worthy of love. I'm not enough. I'm too much.

I'll never succeed. What is your little bit of computer virus? With compassion, just see it. Just ask the question. Listen to the little whispers that rise up. Okay, place the hand on the heart. Just take a deep breath.

Just thanking yourself for listening. Thank the heart, thank the mind. Deep breath in and out. Let's bring the head to bow towards the heart. Take your time to come back into your room, into your body, into this virtual space.

Thank you for doing that. All right, stretch your legs. If you need to shake it out, please do that. And if you want to take a moment to write down what came up for you, take a few moments just to write that down. All right, just like we have patterns ingrained in the tissues of the body, so too the mind. So I know that I have a pattern of tension in my right shoulder and my right butt cheek that when things get rough out there, they start to creep up, to contract. There's just this unconscious kind of patterning in the tissues of my form. Okay, same thing in the brain. There are patterns of tension, of trying to balance, of trying to support. There are patterns ingrained in the brain itself. From a more sciency language and anatomy language, these are the grooves, the circuitry, and how these neurons talk to one another. Largely, our brain works for the majority of our day and the majority of the parts of the brain in this autopilot system of patterns, of grooves. It knows we don't have to think about brushing our teeth. We know how to do that. We don't have to think about how to get to work. We know how to do that. It doesn't have to give it a lot of conscious concentration and thought and purposefulness because it's on autopilot. This works for us to our betterment for our benefit, much more efficient. This also, I think as we've seen through this series of practices, can work not for our benefit, to our detriment. If our pattern is whispering, I'm not good enough. I'm not good enough. I'm not good enough. Over and over and over, that becomes efficient and that gets put on autopilot. There's always a filter, a lens that we are taking in reality. Everything that we're taking in gets filtered through that lens. When we talk about the mind in a more yoga type language, they really start to look at the mind as these four distinct categories. We have what they call manas, which is all of the information that's coming in through our sense organs. All this visual stimuli that's bombarding, running in, all of the auditory stuff that's coming in, taste and smell, body position, joint position, touch, feel, all of that sensory information that's zooming in and then the brain's got to figure out what to do with it. That's in yoga language, the manas, taking in all of these sensory impressions from the world and then trying to figure out what the heck to do with it.

Another aspect they talk about in the mind in a yoga language is the ahamkara, the sense of I-ness, the sense of separation, of duality. I need to feel that I am distinct from you to begin to move through the world, to do my job, to feed my cat, to teach this class. Then we start putting labels on that separateness, my I-ness, so that I put the label of woman, I put the label of American, I put the label of New Yorker, I put the label of girlfriend, of daughter, of cat owner. I put the label of teacher, of yogi. I put all of these labels which can be helpful, can play a part, but it's also the lens in another lens that we filter everything through, my sense of I-ness, of duality. There's another aspect of the mind called samskaras that we talked a little bit in a prior class about. Samskara are the patterns, neither good nor bad, just patterns that exist. I have a pattern of falling asleep every night, I have a pattern of brushing my teeth, I have a pattern of meditating. There are undeniably patterns that are the autopilot of the brain, maybe one's given very conscious attention, and maybe not so much right now given conscious attention. They're running as like a tab open in the mind. This also, everything is filtered through. And then the yogis qualify this other aspect of the mind. Sometimes they call it the higher mind, they call it the buddhi, B-U-D-D-H-I, I believe, buddhi. The buddhi is that the higher aspect, the place of discernment, of knowing, maybe wisdom is a good word, not wisdom like book smarts, intellect, but a place of knowing the buddhi. And it's in this place beyond the duality, right, that we want to take refuge in. It's in this place beyond the duality, we take refuge in not as a way of hiding, or protecting, or spiritual bypassing. But as a way of knowing who you are, and that is the place that we move most powerfully, most productively, most purposefully, right, from with wisdom and love. So I'd like you to think of your pattern, your samskara, your computer virus, the tab that's open.

What was there something that came to you when you started looking at what am I whispering to myself? What is the untruth, right? And in our practice, in our yoga nidra practice, we'll do a more personalized yoga nidra practice, where I'll ask you to move back and forth through these dualities, right, and coming to a more receptive quiet state, move back and forth through these dualities so we know ourselves not to be either. We know ourselves to be the part of us that is observing. We take refuge there. So feel out, look what you wrote if you wrote it down. What is the core misbelief? I'm not worthy of love, I'm not good enough, right? And then please write down what is the opposing truth of who you are. So if it was I'm not worthy of love, I am worthy of unbound infinite love. If it's I'm not good enough, maybe the true statement is I am infinitely capable and strong, right? Put it in your own words. But I want you to write down right now what your core misbelief is. And then what is the opposing statement? What is the truth? What is the truth? And maybe there's a part of you that doesn't believe it. I believe it. What is the truth? Please write that down. Those are going to be your first two pairs of opposites in this practice. So what is the core misbelief? And what is the true statement? Please write it down.

The next pairs of opposites, when you say your core misbelief to yourself, I'm not worthy of love, what is the physical sensation in your body? For me, it's my right shoulder and my right butt cheek. What is the physical sensation in your body? So it could be, there could be an actual location of it, right? Or it could be something like your jaw clenching or heat rising in your body, or shivers down your spine, or just what is the physical sensation tied to that core misbelief? And please write that down. What's the physical sensation in your body when you say that core misbelief? And then write down what is the opposing sensation. So for me, it's my right shoulder kind of opening my right seat, kind of spreading or releasing, right? So what is the opposing sensation? If it was heat rising in the body, maybe it's coolness descending down through your form. Put it in your own language. What are the second pair of opposites is the physical sensation that's tied to that core misbelief and the opposing sensation. Just say it to yourself, what does it feel like in your body?

And those are your second pair of opposites. Your third pair of opposites, third and last. What is the visual or image associated with that core misbelief? So when you say that phrase to yourself, that bad piece of programming, what is the visual? So just close your eyes and see what pops up. You don't have to give it a lot of like, you know, cycle analysis or anything right now, just what is the image that pops up and it doesn't have to be yogic. I remember my teacher when doing this practice with him the first time he said his was Yosemite Sam. Mine is the poop emoji on the phone, you know, the poop emoji. So it really doesn't have to be like, you know, very holy. What is the visual associated with the core misbelief? Just what pops into your head. And then of course, what is the opposing visual? What is the visual perhaps tied to the truth of who you are? When you say the truth of who you are, even if you don't 100%, totally, absolutely believe it. What is the visual? Those are your three pairs of opposites that we're going to be using.

So just to review your core misbelief and your true statement, and the physical sensation tied to your core misbelief and the opposing, perhaps more freeing, more spacious sensation and the visual image attached to the core misbelief and the opposing visual. It's helpful to write it down just so you can see it. And then please, when you're ready, put your notebooks away. And let's come down onto our backs. And we will prepare for our yoga nidra practice, our personalized yoga nidra, a break free from this duality. Remember who we are beyond it, in spite of it. All right. Coming down into your shavasana-like position, set yourself up well, warm, comfortable. Closing your eyes. Take a deep breath in through the nose, filling up maybe more than you think you can.

Exhale through an open mouth, sighing out, releasing just what's not needed in this moment. Let's do that two more times, taking a deep breath in, filling up more than you think you can. Deep breath out through the mouth, body softening, releasing, holding, efforting, trying. Let the body be at peace. One more time, deep breath in. Deep breath out. Relax your breath so you no longer have to stretch it or shape it in any way.

And just feel the presence of the breath that remains in your belly. This tiny rise and fall of your belly as you breathe naturally. A breath growing quieter, more shallow, maybe hardly noticeable. To allow yourself to soften a bit more. You might just notice the very easy flow of breath in the chest.

Chest, spacious and clear. You might just now notice the tiniest of movement of breath in the nostrils. It moves from the tip of the nose to the bridge of the nose. Just effortless, perfect. You might even come to remember that you are not the breather, that you are being breathed.

And bring the awareness throughout the body. I'll name different parts of the body for you just to drop your attention into. There's no need to move these parts or feel anything in particular. Just become aware of your right hand, right thumb, second finger, third finger, fourth finger, fifth finger, palm of the hand, back of the hand, second, right forearm, upper arm, right shoulder, underarm, right ribs, right waist, right hip, right thigh, right knee, right shin, right ankle, top of the right foot, sole of the right foot, right big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe, fifth toe, left hand, left thumb, second finger, third finger, fourth finger, fifth finger, palm of the hand, back of the hand, left forearm, upper arm, left shoulder, under arm, left ribs, left waist, left hip, left thigh, left knee, left shin, left ankle, top of the left foot, sole of the left foot, left big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe, fifth toe, back of the head, right shoulder blade, left shoulder blade, right buttock, left buttock, spine, belly, right chest, left chest, center of the chest, throat, chin, bottom lip, top lip, space between the lips, tongue, roof of the mouth, right cheek, left cheek, right ear, left ear, tip of the nose, bridge of the nose, right eye, left eye, right eyebrow, left eyebrow, space between the eyebrows, forehead, crown of the head, feel the entire back of the body, feel the entire front of the body, feel your whole body resting here, feel your whole body resting here, feel your whole body resting here, now silently hear your core misbelief, hear silently repeat your core misbelief, and now the truth of who you are silently repeating the true nature of who you are, hear the core misbelief repeating silently the core misbelief, and now hear and silently repeat the truth, the true nature of who you are, feel the physical sensation tied to the core misbelief, what does it feel like in your body, feel the physical sensation tied to the core misbelief, and now feel the opposing sensation, feel the physical sensation tied to the core misbelief, and now feel the physical sensation that is more freeing and open and reflective of your true nature, see or visualize the image associated with that core misbelief, what's the visual, and now the opposing visual, see the visual tied to the core misbelief, what does it look like, and now the opposing visual image associated perhaps with your true nature, and now the opposing visual image associated with your true nature, move your awareness into the cave of the heart, and begin to see or feel an almond-shaped flame illuminating the cave of your heart, feel and experience its glow, its warmth, its light begins to grow brighter, and it begins to expand out in all directions, filling your body maybe even into a field around the body. This light representing who you are beyond the dualities, that seat of jiva, of witness, server, part of you that is unbound, infinite potential take refuge in the light of who you really are, rest in that light, in that remembrance. Thank you. Thank you.

Bring your awareness back into your body. Without opening the eyes, just clearly see yourself resting here in the room that you're in. As you return to your body, knowing you can hold on to any piece of this stillness, awareness, remembrance. Even as you begin to wake your body, bringing small movements into the fingers and the toes, turn your head a little side to side. Might even feel good to reach your arms overhead and give yourself a moment to stretch through your body.

So bending one knee at a time, placing your feet on the floor or padding, and just roll over to one side, whatever side is easier. Just curling into a fetal position. You can make a pillow for your head with your arm. Just taking some time in that fetal position to honor your body, your breath, your mind, your emotions, gratitude for these practices, and for one another. Press your hands down into the earth, leaving your eyes closed and your head heavy. Just lazily bring yourself back into some kind of seat.

Feeling the back strong, the front soft, the heart wide open. Let's take the palms together in front of the heart, bowing your head to the heart, bowing down to your true teacher, your inner teacher, that seed of wisdom. In Sanskrit, it's emboloshri sat gurupagavan ki jai. Stay close to your practice, stay close to your heart, stay close to one another. Namaste.


M Angela C
2 people like this.
Thank you so much for this series of practices which have been transformative for me.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom .  I have learned so much Kristin and I thank you🙏 
Kristin Leal
Oh what a joy to hear that M Angela C ! I'm so happy that the practices were useful and I thank you so much for being here!
Jenny S
3 people like this.
This practice touched me very deeply. I could feel your raw emotion and it was if we are all kindred spirits going through this wild and crazy human experience together. Touching into the vulnerability I’ve been feeling this year was actually quite cathartic. Thank you for this wonderful season of yoga nidra. You are amazing 🙏🏻❤️
Kristin Leal
Jenny S I feel so fortunate to be able to share these practices with you during these wild times. Thank YOU!
David G-
Had poor sleep and I wanted to calm my racing mind and body. Wasn't expecting to grapple so effectively with some pressing conflicts and sticky feedback loops. Thanks for the new Sankalpa, "the body breathes you", and the third eye to the heart visualization. I am truly excited to check out these other classes. Namaste.   
Kristin Leal
1 person likes this.
Im so happy you are here David Goldstein and that the practices have resonated with you!
Maya W
Thank you so much for this series, I truely treasured each one and this last one was more transformative than I ever expected, thank you Kristin 
Kristin Leal
1 person likes this.
Maya W thank you so much for joining me! This series (and your words) truly mean a lot to me.

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