Yoga for Trauma Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 7

I am Supported

35 min - Practice


You can rely on an aspect of your inner self to show up and help care for you. Kyra leads an active class to explore different ways we use and find support. After we stretch and warm the hands, arms, and core, we move through a lunge sequence to open the stabilizing muscles in the legs and hips, and explore balance, stability, and support in standing postures. We move to the floor for a simple hip opener, before enjoying a cooling inversion to quiet the mind and body. You will feel grounded, supported, and self-assured.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

Hi, and welcome. Today's practice is going to be a little bit more active, and we're going to be playing with the concept of support. In order to do that, we're going to be bringing in different ways that we can be using support. A friend and colleague of mine, Nikki Myers, has been known to say that using props is a way to let the universe know that you're open to support. I'm going to suggest today that you grab some props. I've got some blocks and a blanket here with me. You might want to grab blocks, blanket. If you have wall space at your home, you might also play around with the idea of doing some of these postures at the wall, or even grabbing a chair. Take whatever time you need to get yourself set up, and I'm going to suggest that we start actually coming down onto the mat, onto the front of our body. If that doesn't work for you, for whatever reason, start exactly where you are and join in when it feels more appropriate. I'm going to come down into muckarasana, or crocodile pose. To do this, I'm taking my hands to my upper arms, and I'm going to wiggle in and make a little pillow for my forehead. Now, you might want to take your feet a bit wider apart, turning toes out or toes in, whatever works for your body. Then give yourself permission in whatever shape you've come into, whether it's muckarasana or not, to let your head rest. Let your body kind of yield to gravity here. From time to time, I may lift my head just to talk, but feel free to keep yours settled. Notice all of the places that your body is making connection with the mat, with the floorboards underneath, and with the earth under that. Would it be possible right now to yield, release three to five percent more into the stability that's underneath you? Might be a releasing through the jaw, or a softening in the middle. Now, bring some awareness to your breath. Allow the breath to start to move into the body slightly deeper, slightly longer than if you would be breathing, like let's say if you're standing in a grocery store line. Allowing the middle, the diaphragm to be soft, and as you breathe in, the belly will expand into earth, and you might notice the rebound of breath in your back body. We'll be here for about three to four more cycles of breath. Just starting by giving yourself permission to smooth out any jagged spaces of breath. And as you do this and you draw the mind's awareness inward, I'm curious about what, if anything, you're noticing has an element of support in this moment. That might mean steadiness, reliability, maybe it's just the presence of the breath returning over and over again, or the texture of the mat underneath. What in this moment might represent some support or steadiness? Now, as you're ready, we're going to bring the legs in a little closer together. Let the breath continue to be smooth and even, continuous and deep. We'll bend the knees and just take a couple of windshield wipers side to side, waking up the low back, maybe a circle or two, circle or two with the shins, and then release the legs back behind you. Hands underneath the shoulders, and when you're ready, press back into a child's pose. Allow your hips to reach behind and maybe the arms to reach in the opposite direction. Ready, we're going to begin to round up one vertebrae at a time. Now, this might be a perfect place to start by bringing in a block underneath your hips. You might also curl your toes underneath, and just roll the wrist. Roll the wrist in both directions, and you might rub the hands together, making connection of the hands, and now just take one hand, I don't care which, you might even say it out loud, then I'm going to use my left hand here, and spread your fingers, draw all of the fingers back. Now, as you do this, or as I'm doing this, I'm noticing my shoulders are going up to my ears and like, oh yeah, my shoulders are allowed to rest on the support of the ribs, and then draw each finger one at a time back while keeping the fingers spread. I often just want to let my fingers soften and noodle in this point, but if you keep them spread, you'll be able to get into other tissue that doesn't often get addressed, and then fold the fingers back up to the shoulder, open, and we're going to open and close. We did this in another practice earlier, but flicking the fingers, right, just flicking the fingers, stimulating this forearm, and as you do this, where can you find support? I notice that my forearms are getting tight, and the back of my neck is getting tight, which makes my jaw tight. It's like, oh, open the jaw. The support in this moment for me is the reminder that there can be release, and then shake it out. Go to the other hand when you're ready. Draw the hand, spread the fingers, draw the fingers down, opening up the back of the wrist, the forearm, and then each finger one at a time while keeping the other one spread. Again, as you're doing this, just sense where the energy in your body is moving. Is it all going forward? Is it all going up into your shoulders? Is there any way to have some awareness down and back at the same time? Great. Now pull the fingers in, all the way up to the shoulder, open, we're going to open and close, flick your fingers, activate these forearm muscles.

If you hear me take audible exhales, it's intentional. It's intentional because the sound, along with the out breath, will help support and stimulate the parasympathetic nerve that's about breaking and calming the heart. Then shake it out. It's frequent that people think of support in their lower bodies, but I wonder what it would be like to bring some awareness of support into the upper body. We're going to come on to all fours now. You can move your block to the side. On all fours, feel free to let your hips shift a bit. Notice what it's like now to not just be on two legs, but on all four aspects of the limbs. Where is the weight naturally shifting forward or back, side or to the middle? Then play with that a little bit. Try expanding without moving much. Try reaching the crown of your head forward in the sitting bones in the opposite direction. You're doing two directions at the same time. This might not look like a lot of movement from the outside in, but I'm guessing you're going to be feeling the sensory experience of going in both directions. Now start to press to the outer edges of your arms, the outer edges of your hips. Hug in towards the midline and notice what starts to activate. See if you can get an element of all of those directions at the same time. It might be a little confusing going forward and back, out and in at the same time, but we're holding the complexity. Now as we activate the front parts of the fingers, curl the toes, and you might play with lifting the knees off the ground. What has to wake up in order to find some support? Where is the support naturally in here? Then place the knees on the ground. We're going to reach the sitting bones away from the crown of the head. Now lift a limb. I don't care what limb. Just lift one of your limbs and notice what the body does. It shifts somewhere. As you pay attention to that, how do you both resist gravity and yield to gravity? Now lift a different limb. How does the body move away from midline? Can there be permission for that? You guide it back towards midline. Now we're going to lift an opposite limb, one that you haven't done yet, and maybe the opposite, either leg or arm. Let it move away from you, maybe from the midline, and let it move back in towards the center. Do that on the other side. Reach the opposite arm and leg, or just a leg, or just the arm. Keep the energy reaching back through those sitting bones, through the toes, beyond the fingers, and can you have it connected to the middle? What helps you support holding this complexity in this moment? Down. Now sit back for a moment, roll the shoulders out, shake the head. We'll come back onto all fours, bringing a little bit more pressure into the finger pads, almost like you could slide a couple of slices of paper underneath your wrists. It's not really lifting up, it's the idea of. So those forearms wake up and the knees come. Now let's do a little cross-crawling. So going forward, if this feels like a lot on your joints, come down onto the knees. But intentional movement of right and left sides of the body. As you play with this, how can you lean into the support, or notice where you're maybe bracing or defending? Notice where you might be collapsing. What's the middle of that, of the collapse and of the brace and defend? It's more support. When you feel ready, let your wrists come parallel to one another in the front of the mat. Go ahead and reach the hips up and back. Find a downward facing dog for just a moment. I'll take two more cycles of breath here. Paying attention to where there's steadiness, muscularly in the bones, in the environment. And when you're ready, let's walk the hands back to the feet. Feel free to take a little bend in the knees and allow the whole spinal column in the head to just release. So this head brain gets a little softening here. And then we're going to roll up to standing if you're dealing with any disc issues or instability in the back. Come on, flat back. All the way up. Ah, you might let the gaze shift up or around just to see this new orientation here. And pausing again to notice where is support with this new dimension. We'll press down through the feet and reach the arms up for mountain pose. Imagine you're holding some blocks between your hands. I'm not actually going to have us do it right now, but imagine you're holding them. And as you hold those imaginary blocks, or maybe you're taking the arms out to the side like cactus arms, right? Sense how you can move in towards midline.

And at the same time, holding that complexity of also pressing outward. You're going down and up. Now with all of this, can you still breathe? Great. We're going to soften and melt just a little bit. Unlock the knees, soften to the middle. Good. Now press away from that. And one more time, just finding earth and seeing if you can yield into the support of the earth. Feel the soles of your feet on the ground. Great. Once you feel that support, notice what the reach ends up feeling like. Reaching out. Can you still stay connected to your center as you reach out, as you sense the support? Take one or two more breaths here. Maybe allowing the heart to be supported by the diaphragm. The heart might be able to soften in the chest. And then lower the hands down. I'm taking moments of pause for you to just digest and notice what's happening inside. When you're ready, we're going to take the feet a little wider apart, turn the toes out about 45 degrees. Come on down into a temple pose. I've got my hands on the thighs. I'm going to tilt the torso forward gently. And as you're ready, twist towards your right. Look over your right shoulder. Mm-hmm. Come back to the middle. Yeah. And where is the point of support underneath you at this moment? How are you able to twist around center line? Great. We're going to come all the way up. Draw the hands down the middle. And let's step up to the front of the mat. You might grab your blocks here. I'm going to turn the blocks into the medium position for me on either side. But we'll inhale, reach up, and let your tailbone descend down. Exhale, hinge forward, flat back. Hands come down to the blocks. With your in-breath, elongate the spine, reaching up. And start by stepping your left leg back, right, into a runner's lunge. And you might lift the hips a little bit higher as you breathe in and sink them down as you breathe out. I'm going to grab my blanket here as well and slide it underneath my knee, bringing the back knee down. Pat up the back knee. For years, I practiced without having any support under my knee on hardwood. And my poor knees have paid the price for that, right? What is it like for you to actually just even receive support of something cushioning? And as we're here, you might let your front hip, your psoas start to open. If it feels interesting to you, reach the opposite arm is back leg. So I'm reaching my right hand behind, catching hold of my toe. I notice that the muscles that I use for support all the time, my quadriceps, my thigh muscles, my glutes, my butt muscles, my hamstrings, get really tight if I don't stretch them out, particularly the front of the thigh. Release when you're ready. That holding the support all the time means it also needs to release. We're going to move back, slide your block that's in the line with your right hip, slide it right next to the outer edge of the right hip, pressing it down. My front heel is connected, my back shin, and I'm imagining my legs drawing towards each other. Now consider reaching the opposite arm, the left arm up and arching away from that left side. Come back to the middle. I'm going to slide my block forward, curl the back toes under, and now begin to come up for a crescent pose. And just notice the outer edges of the hips that can draw inward. I'm on the ball of my back foot and I'm moving in towards my center with both the inner thighs and the front body. As you reach up, consider bringing your hands into fists and bending the back knee, just a few pulses. We're going to go about four pulses here. What would it be like if you could draw a little bit more support in? What might that look like? We're going to hold at the top now. I'm on the ball of my back foot, so this is a serious balance. I'm going to bring the hands to my low back, lifting up the whole front and inner belly, lifting up the heart. When you feel ready for it, we'll release, bending the front knee into that runner's lunge again. Step up to the front, halfway position when you're ready. Step the opposite leg back, exhale, runner's lunge. I'm about hip bone distance apart. For some of us, it's not lift the hips as you breathe. Support isn't just in the musculature. It's in the willingness or the feeling the agency to take up some space, to stand with your feet a little wider apart, to take a little bit more time in something. When you're ready, place the back knee down. Support may have a component of trust in it. If anywhere, are you experiencing that in the body at this moment and your life at this moment if it's not in the body? Then we're going to have that option to reach behind, catching hold of the back foot and opening up through the front quads. The tissue in the muscles of the quadriceps and the psoas muscle in the front of the hips often correlate to tension in the shoulders, in the jaw. One more. As you're ready, releasing. Go ahead and draw the block to the outer edge of your left hip rising up. I notice when I do this, that one side of my hip definitely hikes up. I'm thinking about how do I drop down to have a little bit of symmetry because when there's some symmetry, there's some more support. The other arm reaches up and arcs over. Releasing, bringing those blocks forward and then runner's lunge to a crescent pose. You can always, always keep the back knee on the earth. Now as you're ready, here, take a moment to really find your midline. Find what represents center of you at this moment. Steadiness and then we'll bring the hands in again, bending the back knee. Inhale. Right. And two more times. Letting something flow. Letting something strengthen. Last one. And reaching up and as you reach up, draw in towards your middle again. Bring the hands to the lower back.

Go ahead and give yourself a lift. Can the shoulders be supported by the center body, the center body supported by the legs, by the earth, and then releasing down. Move the blocks over to the side. Step up to the front. Bow the body in, forward fold. All the way to standing. Inhale. Bring the hands to the heart. Exhale. Take a moment to notice. Now if there are any props still on the mat, go ahead and clear them to the side. We're going to explore what it means to move just a little bit quicker and you might take a block with you for this next one. So let's open up wide to the center of the mat. Turn your left toes out, your right toes in. I'm going to place the block down behind the ankle for now. And then just opening up towards a triangle. Right. Hinging at the hips. And then press down into the earth and come on back up. And as you do this, notice what helps you find length. We're going to hinge at the hips again. Where is the support even as we move into the side bend? The hand might come to the shin or to the block. Top arm comes up. Go ahead on the exhale. Look forward or up and under your arm. On the inhale, look down. And do that one more time. Something is allowing you to lengthen your lower ribs. And as we bring the top arm either to the hip or straight up, steady your gaze. Take two more breaths. What is awake and alive at this moment? We might be playing with triangle against the wall in this position. What's the feedback of the wall like? As you're ready, we're going to look down. Take the top hand to the hips. Slide this block forward about a foot in front of your little toenail and just push through the bottom leg. Lifting up. That top arm might lift up. You might imagine pressing it into an imaginary wall. How does that reinforce the support in your center, if at all? Take two more cycles of breath. And if you fall, right, that's a part of it. Let's normalize it. Let's say, yay. And then slowly look down and we're going to come all the way back up. Take the block with you. Good. Turn to the other side. Right toes out. Left toes in. Block behind the ankle. And just hinging at the hip. Elongating. Come back up. Pressing down to find some length. Inging at the hip. Hand comes down maybe to the block or the shin. Some of you are going to be above the knee. Whatever can help keep the low back stable. And we need the muscles of the low belly. We need the inner thigh muscles to stabilize that low back. Pretend like there's an imaginary wall in front of you. And if you have a real wall behind you, what's that like to have that feedback? Imagined or real? Top arm alongside of the ear as you look up or straight forward. Looking down on the exhale. Hand floats back. One more time. Looking forward as you breathe in. Looking down as you breathe out. Take the top arm either directly out of the shoulder girdle or to the hip. We're going to pause. Breathing. Even while we find a moment of stillness. That's it. And after your two or three breaths, look down. Top hand might come to the hip. Bend your front knee. Slide the block in front of you and line with your second or third toes and go ahead and lift up through the half moon balance. You might imagine support being behind that back foot. An imaginary wall that your hand can press into. The real prop underneath you if you're using one. Last breath here. On the exhale, go ahead and lower down with as much grace as you have at the moment. Set the blocks aside. Come on all the way up. Step to the short edge of your front of the mat. Feet maybe about hip width. Maybe a little wider. Hands on the low back. Again, I want you to bring some imagination in. Imagine you have a block between the thighs and hold towards the midline. Draw the sitting bones down and let the whole front body lift up.

As we do this, if there's collapse into the low back, can you back out of this a little bit? Sometimes less is more. Just what might be in the heart. Often times our support is not just physical, but it's emotional as our community. When you're ready, draw the abdominals in and allow yourself to come up right. Take a vinyasa. Breathing in, lifting the arms up. Forward folding as you're ready. Elongating the spine, breathing in. And step back. Consider stepping back to a plank pose. Plank might be straight legs or on your knees. Maybe pressing the tops of the feet down. Plank might be against a wall. We'll hold. Drawing in towards middle. Two and one. Coming on down to a seated position. Check that out. So as you're ready, allow yourself to find a simple hip opener of your choice. I'm going to be moving into a single pigeon. And I'm going to bring a blanket underneath my hips. Single pigeon works for you. Go ahead. But shin, either in front of shin or shin on top of shin. And just sense again, like where is support now as you get into a possible part of the body that might be holding a little bit more intensity. For me, having a little bit of shift, having a little bit of movement and permission for movement and sway allows me to feel more supported. I don't feel as trapped. Not everyone needs that, but notice what you might. Find your edge in this. See if it would be possible to yield some of the effort in your hands, in your face, even in the hips. And letting that breath that we started with when we were on the mat the first time, the very beginning of this practice, let some of that come in, holding out any jagged edges, releasing through the jaw. As you're ready, rising back up and maybe changing sides by stretching the legs. If you have a different way, a fancier way, be my guest. Oh my goodness. Let this be somewhat joy inspired if you can. Shin on top of shin or shin in front of shin. The body is just often such a beautiful metaphor because we are not always going to receive or experience support and ease in the same way in each situation or on each side of our body. So allowing yourself to move towards your edge as you breathe, and what allows you to yield and stay present. To have effort in the ease and ease in the effort, releasing through the jaw, maybe the face, the hands, the hips. Taking one last breath here, rising up as you're ready. And if at any time you are always welcome to extend any of these movements, take a little bit longer time if you need. Now I'm going to suggest coming onto the back and either take a moment to get yourself closer to some furniture or a wall and bring your legs up the wall or on furniture. Or if you'd like, taking a block, lifting your hips and sliding the block, the medium or the small way underneath the sacrum. And this might be enough for you today, letting the shoulders come onto the back and there's some space under the neck, between the chin and the chest. And today you might also explore what it's like to bring the legs up. And we'll take probably about four to eight breaths, depending on the length of your breath. And notice how just even the shift of position can give your internal organs a different sense of support from inside out. Everybody works on them slightly different when we go into these inversions. What might allow you to release and yield into the support? Or if that's your edge, be more awake and present with the support. Again, if you'd like to stay in a little bit longer, you are welcome to otherwise placing the feet down. Press the feet into the earth, lift the hips up and move the block out to the side. Get yourself ready for a rest. I'm going to place the blanket underneath my knees. You might put it under your head or have any other configuration of comfort. And then settling in from the top of the head all the way down through the feet. And just notice that as you are allowing this time, you're creating that relationship of support with your inner self as well. You can rely on an aspect of your inner self to help care for you. You can rely on your inner self to show up, not perfectly, but with curiosity over and over again. You might lean into the support of the earth here or bring in any images of family, friends, community, places that you love that allow you to feel more held. I'm just resting into the support of this moment. Thank you. When you are ready for it, you might begin to deepen your breath. And if you have the time, you might stay here for the rest of your day, your choice. If you are deepening the breath, begin to move your fingers and your toes and take whatever stretch is appropriate at this moment. You might bring your knees into your chest and give yourself a good old squeeze, thanking yourself just for existing, for showing up. Let one arm come alongside of the ear, roll to the side, pressing into that top hand. Come on up. Thank you for joining me for the practice today. May you have support with you through the rest of the day.


Sandra Židan
Great practice! Thanks, Kyra! Kind regards!
Lorraine Marek
This was a great pace & easy to follow
Kristy D
Just yummy. Blessings to you.
Nina G
Absolutely loved this practice as well as all of the others. It's a great series. Thank you
Thanks for creating this programme. It is so helpful
1 person likes this.
This was really insightful. I could easily do many of these poses without the support equipment and have not used any equipment throughout this course. But since they were required in this practice I discovered the moment I used them, I found these poses difficult because my body was actively fighting against using them. As if it was insisting I didn't need them. Even tho it made some of these movements easier. I know I have a hard time trusting and hate depending on others. I knew this to an extent, but seeing my body react to this truth about myself was outstanding. I appreciate this practice for providing the space to have this epiphany about myself.
Kyra Haglund
1 person likes this.
KRYSTAL G such an incredibly cool insight!!  I also love how curious this whole process sounds for you and the part of you that experiences the resistance.  In my experience, the curiosity (rather than conformity) is the key to hearing what our different parts/pieces of self need.   Thanks so much for sharing that.  K.  

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