Yoga for Trauma Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 3

Holding the Heart

15 min - Practice


Allow the heart to reveal what it is holding. Kyra leads a grounding meditation to help us hold the contents of the heart with kindness and compassion. This mediation is intended to give our trauma, overwhelm, or pain the acknowledgment and loving kindness needed to allow for transformation, and can be done in any position that helps you feel the steady support of the earth below you. You will feel a sense of safety, connection, and courage.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video


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Welcome. Wherever you are in the world right now, I'm really happy that you're here. I wanted to start off season three of Yoga for Trauma with a simple Tibetan Buddhist Tunglin practice that will help us connect to and cultivate a larger field of compassion and loving awareness, like a container if you will, to touch into the contents of the heart. Because if you are human there is a very good chance that you will experience some suffering. And if you've experienced trauma or overwhelm or general pain, it doesn't mean that you've done it wrong or you're not a good enough human or there's any sort of characterological flaw. Suffering is an inherent part of our humanness.

So whether that suffering is an individual experience or a traumatic event or it's more of collective suffering around dealing with the grief and loss that comes with a global pandemic or the horror and the rage that is associated with systemic and institutional oppression of racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, sizeism, whatever individual or collective, it ends up disconnecting us, disconnecting us from ourselves, from our communities, from one another. When we are able to touch in with some loving kindness, with compassion and courage, because this is hard stuff, to the suffering that we hold, we can bear witness to it, we can actually give it the attention, the compassion and the possibility for transformation. Not everything can be healed, but most can be transformed. And we need support. One of my favorite and most effective elements of support is the earth. This massive, steady globe that we are on that can help hold or create a bigger container for our heart. So today's practice, you can do it in any position that you feel comfortable in. I'm not interested in you being uncomfortable or tying yourself into more knots mentally, emotionally or psychically in any of these practices. So please, whether you're laying down on a couch, you're on a treadmill, you're seated or you're standing, please feel free to make yourself comfortable. And also at any time, you have the agency to move through this practice as you need. If you're triggered, you can press pause, come back later, just take care of yourself. So I want to invite you to standing and take a moment to just connect in with the body that you have and see if it wants to do anything in particular. It needs to move or stretch. Just another moment. Start to become aware of how you are actually connected with your environment. Consider bringing your attention down to your feet, maybe rocking the weight forward and back, letting the toes spread and softening through the bottoms of the feet. If you're seated or laying down, just whatever is in connection with support, allow it to soften. You might unlock the space behind the knees. Imagine that the sitting bones, the leg bones can get a little bit heavier, just yielding to gravity. And as the sitting bones turn downward, there might be some permission in the lower body and the belly to not be so braced or defended, but to be a little softer. Consider shrugging the shoulders up to the ears and letting it go. Permission through the jaw and maybe a little movement in the head, creating space at the base of the skull. The eyes might even soften backwards or inside, just a little bit. Start to become aware of this living, breathing presence of your body. Consider turning the palms outward and we'll lift the arms up. Let it go to the height that works for you. You might even follow with your gaze and then let the arms float back down. You get to choose the speed and the pace that works for you. As you lower the hands, consider remembering this connection. Oh yeah, earth underneath. Maybe with the breath. One last time. Waking up. Starting to feel that sense of life that moves through, the circulation. You are welcome to stay standing or find a more comfortable seat. They're in a chair, on the floor. Take a moment to wiggle in and allow yourself to be upright, yet at ease. Then turn the mind's attention to whatever is in connection with the ground. By ground, it might be the floorboards underneath you that are really an extension of the earth. With the seat that you're on, doing its thing, holding you up, notice how you are supported in this moment. Let's return the mind's attention down into earth. You might consider closing the eyes or letting the eyes just rest at one point and tapping into the tremendous amount of space, thousands of miles below, thousands of miles behind, around and in all directions of you. The minerals, the nutrients, the steadiness of the ground. Maybe sense how the ground is coming up to hold you. Can you trust the ground to hold you back? One of my teachers, La Mirada Owens, will say, touch the earth and let the earth touch you back. Now you might even imagine from the center of you a cord or a taproot descending down, really deepening this connection. As we touch into the earth below, this might be a moment to acknowledge that the land that you're on, to acknowledge the indigenous ancestors who stewarded this land for thousands of years before colonization, imperialism. And if you know that name, you might say that in your mind's eye or look it up afterwards if you don't know. I'm on the land of the coastal Chumash. I'm just acknowledging how this land, this ecosystem has been in play for thousands of years, tended to, taken care of, a complex history of which we are now a part of in connection with. And as we acknowledge the land and let the land hold us and the earth hold us, remembering the tremendous amount of support that's here. It's as if it's an extension of the body. Notice if anything is beginning to settle, soften, if there's distraction or focus, it's all okay. Now opening the sensory awareness, a little wider, what is it you're hearing in this environment? It's the temperature like in this moment for you. You might make some tactile connection and move the hands gently on your clothing or your legs, just waking up the sensory body and noticing the support at the same time. There's a larger container. We might turn our awareness now to the breath that's moving through. You don't have to change or fix anything. Just recognizing that there is already breath here. And offer that breath possibly to the space of the heart. Just turning the mind's awareness, allowing the breath to now turn to the space of the heart, recognizing that we are in connection and support of the earth. Just as you breathe, breathe with sweetness, with some kindness and some compassion into the space of the heart, allow the heart to reveal what it's holding. It might take a moment to feel into that or it might be right on the surface. Maybe love and sweetness, there also might be despair or anger, grief or fear. Whatever you're noticing, you might make gentle contact with, maybe even with your own hand. Almost as if you would reach out to support a dear friend or someone you care about a lot with your own hand, just that compassion, a tenderness of acknowledging.

Allowing the breath to come in just to feel into the emotional experience of now. There is steadiness under you, around you. Let that help hold whatever is surfacing. To whatever is surfacing, maybe you might offer it just the reminder that this too belongs. And with acknowledgement, with dignity of your experience, whatever it may be, turning with kindness, with a breath of compassion that this is a human experience other humans may be having at this moment. With a larger container of this earth that has been receiving and recycling old material, no longer needed material for millions of years. Let some of that potential suffering or holding up the heart be released into earth to be held. Now you might take one more moment or so to bring in somebody in your life, somebody out in the world that also could use the reminder of this larger container of holding. As you bring them in, this is not for you to fix their problems, for you to solve anything, just for you to take the action of compassion and the reminder of this larger earth that holds our heart and it's big enough to hold others as well. Just hold them in this field of loving awareness, awareness of support. And you may take a few more moments with this, if it's working for you. You might also begin to breathe a little bit deeper as we start to transition out remembering that the earth and the connection to it can always be a source of support and holding. Consider bringing your hands together in a gesture of respect and honor and bowing into your own experience to each other's experiences. May all beings be filled with loving kindness. May all beings be acknowledged, remember their worth and dignity. May all beings be free. Thank you.


Jenny S
2 people like this.
Kate M
2 people like this.
Oh this is landing in my life at the perfect time. Love.
Jill M
2 people like this.
Such a beautiful meditation. It resonated with me so much. Thank you!
Kyra Haglund
1 person likes this.
Jenny S *-* 
Kyra Haglund
Kate M I am so glad to hear that, Kate.  Remembering the support underneath and around myself right now too.  xo
Kyra Haglund
1 person likes this.
Jill M Hi Jill, really glad it connected with you and hope there's some space in your day!
Sandra Židan
Nice meditation! Thanks, Kyra!
Moira C
I use this practice often…may you be well, Kyra.
Laura M
That was amazing!! Thank you!!

Nadine R
This meditation was very helpful to me this morning and I would like to thank you Kyra for creating it!

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