Yoga for Trauma Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 10

Tenderness In Transitions

20 min - Practice


Learning to say “no” creates space for our “yes”. Kyra leads a class to help us live more in our center, define our boundaries, and move through life with awareness and tenderness for Self and others.  After familiar warm ups, we explore saying “no” and “yes” out loud, and play with pressing what we don’t want away and pulling what we do towards ourselves, practicing living within our boundaries. You will feel nourished, centered, and connected.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block


Read Full Transcript

Hi there. Moving out of isolation and disconnection into connection, which almost all of us have experienced as of late, can be a really vulnerable process. So this practice is really designed to cultivate some mindfulness and restore agency around confronting changes, both the big and the small. So we're going to start in a seated position, as always take care of yourself. And I want you just to notice the ways that you have support in this moment.

You might touch the ground, recognize the earth underneath, the sitting bones, whatever is in connection. Might even exhale any extra stress that you're aware of that you don't need into the earth. Just take a moment to scan with curiosity your own body from the top of the head down through your feet. Notice the pockets of energy, tension. You might take a moment to go into the mind and just notice how fast or how slow your mind is moving at this moment.

That's it. There's nothing to change or fix, it's just allowing. And then making space for whatever is in the heart at this moment, whatever the heart is holding with a container of the earth, noticing that there is support. And then start to move your mind's awareness to where you imagine center being in this moment. There might be a physical point of center for you.

There might be an emotional point of center if it's hard to access the body. If all of that just seems a little bit too amorphous, you might actually just put your hands on the heart or somewhere in the solar plexus and try to notice like, oh yeah, I'm here. For some of us, visualizing a central channel, whether it's the spinal column or the idea of a channel running from the top all the way down to the bottom and into earth might be useful, like a taproot. Just take a moment or all the time you need, actually, to feel into the idea or presence of a center. You might have a color or an image associated with it, just noticing.

Now I want you to imagine that this center is resting in the support of this island of compassion that is your mat. Island of compassion, ahemsa, non-harming, truth is all a part of this island of compassion. And there's a protective circle around your center. Just imagine what that protective circle might look like and then you might also begin to let your body just draw a circle, a circle around you. Notice what you're called to draw the circle with.

Maybe it's your head in your mind. It might be the motion of a circle or actually just defining it. If you have a lot of blankets, you might even put a whole circle of blankets around you to define space of protection around this island of compassion that is for you. We're going to play a little bit with the arms. So allow the arms to just stretch out and up as if you're defining a boundary.

Consider letting the inhales help lift your arms. The exhales help lower the arms and the center of which is you. Inhale, arms will come up, maybe twisting towards your right and drawing the circle both behind and in front and then come on back up. Drawing the boundary, twisting to the other side and back up. Any other way you could imagine really creating a space of protection around this circle or a sense of boundary around this circle.

We're going to begin to move now and that circle can expand and contract as we shift through different movements. You are also welcome to have that circle of protection expand and contract depending on what circumstance you're in. Now playing a little bit with the idea of center of physical body, let's soften through the middle, yielding into the hands, the shins, allow the chest to open. On the exhale, hollowing and rounding. Go with your rhythm.

This might be a little faster than me, it might be a little slower. You go with you on this island of compassion surrounded by a boundary of protection, support. One more. You might emphasize this last one really emptying all the breath out unless you're pregnant or you've just eaten in which case be very gentle and then go ahead and come on back to the center, draw the sitting bones and the crown away from one another. It's like you're moving in opposite directions and now imagine you can press out to the edges of yourself and both to the right and the left.

Now hug in towards the center and just notice the firmness in the containment and you get to decide how much containment you want in or pressing out. Maybe you play with moving in all directions at the same time and as you do that, forward, back, out and in, can you also sense where the middle of you is with breath? You might move your knees a little closer together and we're going to extend your left leg back and up, imagine the inner thigh kind of spiraling towards the ceiling. If it's interesting you might extend the opposite arm as leg, it's just an idea, not an obligation. But now press away from earth letting there be some support in the midline.

On the exhale we'll draw the knee in and just sweep the hand along the mat and then one more time extending. What helps you stay present and supported in the idea of you, in the idea of your center right now and then lower. Let's change to the other side and notice that shift of weight. One side is going to be a bit more supportive, one side is going to feel a little bit more challenged, it's just the way it goes. Reach the opposite leg up spiraling the inner thigh.

Now the front body gently hugs towards the back body and maybe reach the opposite arm. Draw the knee in rounding the back, sweep the mat and again beyond the crown and the toe you're reaching in both directions and there's a middle of you. Standing and then down. Now we're going to step the right foot forward, scoot it up between your hands, having a block underneath your left hand might be useful in the instep of the foot. Consider curling the back toes under and pressing that back leg straight.

Now the hips, I'm going to suggest lifting the hips up a little higher than maybe you normally would in order to come out of your low back. Bring your right hand to the thigh and draw your right thigh forward and draw the right hip back at the same time. Notice what happens towards the core muscles for you as you do that. On your exhale go ahead and twist around the midline, imagine there's a wall you could lean into from behind. Let your breath move freely.

Go ahead come on back down, place the back knee to the earth, uncurl your toes, front heel, back shin presses as the arms lift and maybe this circle gets a little bigger. And maybe it does it, maybe it stays small right now. What are the boundaries that you need to feel more supportive? We're going to inhale up, keep this length as you twist through the midline and prayer twist. Elbow might come across, another option is to have the hand down.

But one more twist, you might play with lifting that back leg up, keeping the hips a little higher. And if the fall happens you might yell success. Release the hands down, take the block with you, we're going to turn towards the wide edge of your mat, turn the toes to face the wide edge. If you need to come up higher onto the block, go ahead beginning into the hips. Got it, let's move to the other side.

Place the block to the end step, back knee comes down, readjust the block, left hand onto the thigh and then we'll press that back leg straight again. This lift as you draw the knee forward and draw your left hip back. Now as you do that again, awareness what's happening in the lower left side of your torso. Can your shoulders still be on your back in connection? And then ringing through the midline, full breath in and out.

As if there's an imaginary wall to help catch the back of the head, gently leaning in. Lower down, uncurl the toes, arms are going to sweep up again and play with two cycles. With the breath. Now reaching at the very top, the Ardha Hanamans and we'll take the twist, elbow crosses over or hand moves down to the block. Maybe curling the back toes under, maybe leaving the back knee on the ground.

But playing with this balance, noticing how much you grit your teeth maybe or you can release and then we're going to bring the hands down to the block. Go ahead and turn towards the wide edge of your mat again, stretching both legs straight. We'll move the block off to the side now and just bow the body in. Consider unlocking your knees and folding your arms. Right, and I want you to practice here just a little bit of shaking the body out and say no.

Just a couple of times to yourself, just say no, no. You might even say it out loud, no, no, no. Now come back to the center and shake a little bit, yes, yes. Say it out loud maybe, yes, yes, yes, yes. Just noticing how these different words, knowing yes, feel inside of your body, your heart and then release.

Now as you're ready, we're going to round up or flat back up all the way to standing. Let your feet come into a distance that's more supportive for you. If you feel dizzy, go forward, don't go back. Take a moment as blood pressure adjusts. Now we're just going to play with those words again a little bit and I'm going to actually ask you to say out loud just no, no, no.

Say it for another maybe 15 seconds, no. Notice what you're saying no to. Notice how that feels inside, comfortable, uncomfortable, anxiety producing, just freedom, whatever it may be, no. Okay, now pause. Now say yes, say yes again, yes.

Notice what you're saying yes to, yes. How does that feel inside of the heart? Does it feel exciting? Does it feel kind of anxiety producing in this way? Yeah, yes.

And then just pause with that. Now I want you to think of something you really don't want to do, something you really don't want to do, a boundary you'd really like to have in your life whether it's easy for you to set or not. Just hold it there and try again, just try saying no, no. Now think of and shake that off for a second. Bring to mind something that you really would like to engage with, a person you'd like to be near, something that brings you joy.

And then try the yes, yes, yes. Notice how that feels. Does your body go forward or back, get tired or big? Yes. Shake that off.

So I want you to come back into a place where you feel steadiness, remember that this is your island of compassion and you have this image of a circle of boundary around you. And boundaries are going to change, of course, depending on our circumstance, they should be flexible. You do not need to have the same boundaries for every single person, place or experience. They're allowed to change. And when we can learn to say no, it creates space for our yes.

It creates space for our energy, for sustainable activism. And we want to be able to engage in the world without being depleted. And we also don't want to have such rigid walls up that we are in isolation or cause more separation from others. So find that center again, imagine that circle of protection, the island of compassion. You might even put one hand on where you imagine your center to be.

We're just going to press with the other hand. And then change. Imagine just pressing. Be defining some space. And feel free to go in all directions.

Maybe both hands, you just get to clear the space. And sense what it's like to, from the edges of your hands as you press away. Can you still remember where your center is? What helps and support you to do that as you set or define some space or boundaries for you? Right, you might do that one or two more times in another direction.

It might be up or down, but a press and a way, a no. I want you to imagine the yes in just whatever gesture comes from the yes. For me, the yes is here. For somebody else, the just might be like, oh, I got myself in here. There's a full reach.

So play with that, maybe even closing the eyes. What is it like to say yes and to reach towards something with permission? And as you do that, also, where is your center? Do you need to remember the agency of your core muscles or the stability of the legs? The breath.

The yes. Beautiful. We're going to pull it all in now. Well, pull it back to you. Put in your stance.

Turn towards your left and make it like a decent width apart, sturdy and stable. And now there's an offering with the hands as we lean forward and just a swimming back. So an offering and a swimming. Now you just move through space, the pace, the curiosity that works for you. Go with breath, maybe.

After this next one, we're going to pause back and try it in the opposite direction. And now pull in towards you. Just moving forward and back, allowing the sway to happen. Maybe visualizing, drawing in energy, offering out from a sustainable place. And hands together.

Pause in the middle. Let's go to the other side. Start first by drawing in, feeding yourself. We are able to feed ourselves with what we need, the food, the rest, the boundaries. Drawing up to others, sharing with others becomes less resentment filled, oftentimes more enjoyable.

And so now offer out. Offer out. Swimming with arms, drawing back. Check out where your gaze is, what the energy and the heart rate is doing at this moment. And pausing.

Come on back to self. Lastly bring the hands, the backs of the hands together and open. It's like a waterfall. Not a waterfall, a fountain, a water fountain. Up and out.

Up and out. On this island of compassion, staying in your center, moving with breath. One more. Opposite, take the arms out, up to the height you need and down. Again out and up.

Consider exhaling down through that central channel if you're working with that. Staying with boundaries, with space and remaining in you. Take one more. Now just go ahead and place your hands on your center wherever that is at this moment and it may have shifted. That's all right.

As we move into the world, may we do it with tenderness, may we remember that we have the agency to set boundaries and to change, that we are allowed to change our minds and what our needs are. May we remember to stay close to ourselves so that we may honestly and with authenticity share with one another. May you take this sense of center and compassion throughout your day. Thank you.


Jenny S
Thank you, Kyra for this very sweet and empowering episode. I loved the Tai Chi vibe with the crashing tide providing a feast for the eyes and ears. This whole season has been a salve for this “interesting” time we find ourselves in. 🙏🏻❤️🌊
Moira C
“Success”!!!  Today is a good day, I modified the yoga movements to fit my “elder body” and learned to say “NO”!!!!  ( not a word commonly used as a 👶 child ). Thank you Kyra for the lesson of the day 💕
Sandra Židan
Great practice! Thanks, Kyra! Regards!
Claire O
lovely practice, thank you. I started this without reading the description of the class, I just wanted a gentle short practice this morning. It was exactly what I needed as I have been looking at my own boundaries recently and trying to be mindful and compassionate about what I say yes and no to. It was lovely, thank you again!
Moira C
1 person likes this.
Support is thanks to 30 day rejoin coupon. SO GRATEFUL to listen to Kyra’s lessons and blessings again 💝
Moira C
Releasing the anger today, again, practicing finding the tap root to compassion in my behaviors
Robin J
Love this practice thank you
Kate M
Trauma is a guest that arrives - usually - unannounced. Making space for the experience and opening to the valuable lessons it brings: this is the challenge. Thank you for this exploration of boundaries, of learning that we are on an island of compassion, held in compassion no matter the circumstance. Thank you Kira : )

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