This episode is part of a course.
A Gita Retreat: The Power of Purpose and Practice Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Day 3: Shraddha - Faith & Trust

55 min - Talk


We shape our lives through our thoughts, our actions, and where we place our faith. Shraddha refers to “that which is placed in the heart”, our beliefs, our core values which guide us through everything we do. The Bhagavad Gita teaches that as we grow and live life, Shraddha can change as we change, and we ultimately come to place our faith in our selves, our practice, and our relationship with the Divine. In Day 3, we explore turning our practice upside-down to experience familiar poses with a different perspective, cultivate trust, and surrender to what life has to offer. We close in meditation with Vajrapradama mudra, the mudra of Unshakable Trust, and contemplate the role of Shraddha in our lives through several journaling prompts.

In this video, Jasmine references the Eknath Easwaran version of The Bhagavad Gita.

What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)


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Welcome back everyone to our practice and exploration of the Bhagavad Gita and from what I hope you've experienced so far if you've been with us for the journey so far is this relationship to our self and relationship to our world, relationship to the divine. Yoga so much is about intimacy this getting to know this deep listening contemplation that we spend with ourselves and see how it translates to the world around us. So when I think about relationships of course when you know a big word comes up maybe it does for you too that it all takes time to develop this trust. It develops time to develop faith in anything that we begin in that something you know as deep as trust has to take its time through experience that it develops and so a big theme in the Bhagavad Gita is developing and cultivating what's called Shraddha which the closest thing definition in the English language is faith. But it's you know Sanskrit is so beautiful and the words have for me such deeper meaning and this can be translated to faith from experience but also what's placed within the heart. So it's an accumulation of our beliefs that literally whatever we're placing our faith in our belief in we're creating. So again we're co-creating our life and our world this relationship with the world around us. So I've literally bowed down at the altars of my insecurities and my negative self-talk. So one of the things that this is it's whispered throughout the Gita but towards the end it's even saying you know Arjuna is coming a little bit closer to understanding what his Dharma is and Krishna says listen if this wasn't meant to be what you were placed here to do this war wouldn't be in your path. This is a gift for any warrior to fight for which just to fight against evil. This is literally what you were placed on the planet for and so as he begins to continue to encourage him and inspire him again with a friend you can do this you're supposed to do this you're placed in the world to be able to fight this fight. So one of the ways that Krishna is continuing to encourage Arjuna to fight this war is and to believe in his Dharma in who he is as you know Arjuna starts completely despondent and saying I'm not going to fight this I'm not going to show up I'm not going to do my duty I refuse is that Krishna tells him listen if this was not meant to be what you were placed in the world to do it would not be here it's a testament to you being a great warrior to fight for what's just to fight for what's righteous and to fight against evil. So you know perhaps you can think of a time in your own life where destiny kind of steps in for me it's happened many times to where it's like a you know a big blow even to my life to where my life suddenly takes a different turn I think everything's really wonderful even for all of us I think facing the pandemic facing so many different personal experiences as we're going along and then something happens and we're all called to wake up and really to our deeper belief systems. So in this way Krishna is saying that our life you know it's not just having blind faith in even his teachings he's like don't even believe me believe in your life and what you're placing your faith in within us each there are light qualities and then there are demonic so this is the way that it's termed these demonic traits and these saintly traits and so his encouragement is to arjuna is to place his faith to place his trust in these enlightened qualities that exist within us and within himself. So you can sit up nice and tall and perhaps take a trip into your own battlefield right because it takes place on this battlefield kurushitra between these two forces of darkness and light and the great thing about the Bhagavad Gita and about our our bestie Bhagavad Gita is that it's so honest and it really portrays our truth that it isn't that heaven is here and hell is there it exists right within our human nature so it's this love song to all of who we are not just let's just say the light qualities but really reflecting honestly everything that exists within us and really having us show up and take that personal responsibility so it's not deterministic but it's how we show up and what we're doing that's creating our world and creating our destiny and it's dependent on what we do now so you can sit up nice and tall and you can close your eyes for me closing my eyes has my listening opened up a little bit more we're such visual creatures and yoga is so much about listening about strengthening this other sense of tuning in whether it's to ourselves to scriptures to one another deepening our relationships this is again Eknath Eshwaran's translation and in chapter two on dharma starts out with faith saying considering your dharma in verse 31 you should not vacillate for a warrior nothing is higher than a war against evil the warrior confronted with such a war should be pleased so this faith and everything in is in our life is placed there even out of this divine love of this omniscient omnipresent omnipotent energy that we can call the divine that permeates everything that's placing things in our life for our highest good and Krishna says in chapter 17 verse 21 and 22 when a person is devoted to something with complete faith I unify in that faith so what we place our faith in is the divine itself then when faith is completely unified one gains the object of devotion in this way every desire is fulfilled by me so today in our practice we're literally going to turn our lives upside down to see if we can begin to have this faith in you know going upside down what would it be like to to take our feet off the earth and put our faith in something greater in this higher purpose that we're placed here to experience so we'll move a little bit with the breath vinyasa itself is to offer our movements offer our minds and let the breath take over right what would it be like if we were you know so consumed in faith that we could surrender to the will of our lives and what we're meant to experience to actually guide us to who we are so take a couple moments make sure that you can take your mat over to a wall so you can clear the space in your home so that we have a wall there to catch us in deepening this relationship with our faith and i'll meet you over there


let's go ahead and get started there's nothing more invigorating scary um and uplifting than inversions but it's most important that you take it slow you build trust like with any relationship as time goes on it's not going to happen overnight we just have to keep at it one day at a time and again we'll see fears come up of course and doubt but we're trying not to put all of our faith in those they're natural they actually are there to protect us we're going to see if we can put some of our faith in this trust you know and one of the ways is to surrender into the breath and not clutch on and hold on too tight so let's go ahead and uh come out on term and again if you're not at a wall make sure that you're there we'll start in child's pose it's such a wonderful way to start our practice in this gesture of surrender to life as it is not the way we want it to be let the head release and even the third eye so that we can see into the meaning behind everything in our lives but it's meant to teach us about who we are develop faith i've certainly got a lot stronger through some of the most challenging times of my life and then ride the next breath forward so a few cats and cows again so that you can listen to your breath it's usually the head that's dragging us along we're gonna let the breath lead here so inhale lift and open the chest as you exhale curl into yourself you can place that little whisper ujjayi breath a victorious breath exhale that can continue to whisper our values breathing in lift the chest and exhale round you can even listen to your body and if it's guiding you to move your hips from side to side or your head from side to side you just do it and then come through center tuck your toes under lift your knees and pour yourself into downward dog so again it's the breath that's taking you back as you just surrender to it follow the next breath forward into a plank pose in the same way leading with the heart allow that to guide you what we place in the heart you can find the little lift up from the belly that's always there center of courage and our will to shape our lives and then soften the knees chest and chin to the earth right into swing pose from there so elbows underneath your shoulders lift and open the chest draw the shoulders back really press the hands into the earth and then tuck your toes under reach back through the heels forward through the chest and then with a big exhale lift yourself up so it's even not you doing it when we surrender to the breath it becomes so much easier into a forearm plank and then from here you're going to send your hips up walk your feet forward for dolphin pose so bend your knees let the head drop and open up through the chest as you allow the heart to be right over your head guiding you and take another breath in here and then release your knees to the ground you can keep your toes tucked under walk your hands back and then we're just going to move with the breath a few times like to call this either baby camel or dancing camel moving over from side to side to loosen up the spine a little bit right hand to right ankle circle yourself up and then follow the movement over to the other side one more time to each direction and then rise all the way up you can take your hands to your hips you can flip your palms up so that you're drawing that sacrum down to support the back body elbows in as you lean back just a tiny bit and then from here step the right foot forward for an angina asana so allow the pelvis to sink down you can reach your arms up again this reaching trustine and then circle the hands down you can reach for some blocks if you need them and straighten out through the right leg into arda hanuman you can talk tuck the back toes under and bow your head down and then from the back toes let the whole pose unravel into this revolve twist opening up through the chest big inhale exhale into downward facing dog breathing out completely inhaling forward plank pose exhaling knees chest and chin rising up sphinx elbows right underneath the shoulders lifting your chest up and then tuck your toes under so the exhale if you surrender to it will lift you up forearm plank float the hips up walk your feet forward for dolphin another bend of the knees to allow the chest to drop heavy towards the tops of the thighs and then release your knees to the ground walk your hands back a couple more of these kind of intuitive movements circling around following the breath opening up through the side waist a little and then reaching all the way up hands to your hips stabilized with the pelvis and then you can slip the left foot forward allowing the hips to drop down for your anginae reach the arms up as you breathe in pelvis sinks down and then circle the hands down to straighten out through the left leg tuck the back toes under and bow in so it's placed in the heart where we place our faith re-bend into the left knee open up from the back toes lifting open through the chest downward facing dog as you breathe out we're gonna do that same vinyasa a little deeper plank pose knees chest and chin right into sphinx forearm plank with the breath out lift the hips up walk your feet forward for dolphin and then from here as you press the hips back this is going to be experimental we're going to see if you can lift the elbows and land on your belly so take a deep breath and you're going to press off the feet lift the elbows like a little chaturanga cobra as you breathe in and then walk yourself back to your dog breathing out from here extend the right leg up to the sky as you exhale draw the knee in towards your nose step forward reach the right arm forward in your twist and then following the breath swing the right arm up you may come onto your fingertips or reach for a block again bend through the right knee swing it forward straighten and circle the right arm up one more time and then extend the arm both of the arms forward to what i like to call a flying pranam a surrender and then rise up into a high lunge straighten through the right leg following the breath so we're moving without conflict without struggle again straightening breathing in breathing out into high lunge step back downward dog let's check out that funky vinyasa again plank pose knees chest chin sphinx breathing in forearm plank and right into dolphin breathing out bend the knees deeply so that you're using kind of the power of those back feet to lift up through the elbows just think i can i think i can and then come forward chaturanga to the ground cobra or upward dog and downward facing dog as you breathe out it's the left leg lifting up this time breathing in draw the knee in towards the nose using the power of the breath to step forward lengthen the left arm forward breathing in straighten the left leg and breathe out swinging the left arm up again bend and reach inhale and breathe out lengthening and swinging one more time it really is like swinging on a breath when you stop using your legs and then both arms forward so the breath can lift you up high lunge straighten through the front leg arms by your side and then bend deeply as your arms come back up lengthen arms by your side and then bending as your arms come up it's time release your hands down and step forward with the right foot to join the left lengthen the spine for arto uttanasana breathing in and then bow forward as you breathe out bend through your knees inhale the arms up and then release your arms by your side and then go ahead and face the wall so make sure that your mat is pretty close and actually if you do have blocks you may want to use them because we're going to take a standing sequence at the wall and then flip it upside down like life generally does so you want as much support around you and again for the wall to catch you so that you can release into it instead of the struggle so you'll have to play around a little bit with the length that you're away from the wall but this is just like the lunge we were doing it's pretty much you can move the left foot a little bit out to the side maybe toes in so that they're parallel and start with those same types of movements to bend the right knee and let the hips really sink towards the wall and then see if you can straighten surrendering over to the wall this trust that you're going to be held and then from there taking the twist you can take the back of the left hand to the right leg and swing back and look behind you this pose is generally quite challenging in the middle of the room so you can allow yourself to open up a little bit more and then come back up through center with a little bend through the right knee you're going to pivot sort of like a compass stays in the paper as you turn around to find that same pose warrior three so it's basically the same pose in all these different shapes but with the wall here behind you you have the support to kind of lean back and maybe extend the arms forward and then take a bow a forward bend over your left leg and from here it may be nice to reach for a block for me it is for revolved ardha chandrasana so with the wall again here supporting the back leg you may be able to find a little bit more openness and rotation as you lean backwards you can release your left hand and your right hand so you're going to frame your left foot like you were in a lunge and then by pressing your right foot into the wall and planting your hands down you can pop the left foot back a little bit shift the weight into your hands keep the arms nice and long and then you're going to play with lifting the left foot up and then sending it straight up into the sky flipping the whole shape upside down for an l-shaped handstand feeling what it's like to be completely upside down and then take both feet to the wall for a moment you can bend the knees to really lengthen out through the arms keeping the spine long and then bend your knees this is going to be feel really strange but you're going to see if you can hop your feet between your hands it'll hop off the wall like gravity take you as you inhale lift and open the chest and exhale fold into your legs begin to slowly roll and rise up to stand because your head you can get a little light-headed by coming back up and then check it out over on the other side so you'll shift the weight into the right foot pick up the left leg release it to the wall come into a nice lunge shape so that the spine is long and then you can begin to slowly lengthen out through the left leg take a few breaths in the extension and then twisting pressing the back of your right hand to the outside of your leg and then maybe looking all the way back swing both arms again with a little bend into the left knee keeping the foot and the heel there you'll turn your toes in right toes out arms can swing back behind you and then maybe out and in front of you with the connection with the left foot on the wall fold forward over the right leg reach for your trusted friend your block maybe I like this height and then by pressing into the wall with the back foot you can begin to open up and breathe a little bit more into the shape one more big inhale and exhale fold forward and then walk your hands back the right foot back press deeply with the left foot into the wall so you can lift the right leg up and send it up to the sky internally rotate the thighs see if you can draw the ribs in and press into the ground but reach up to the sky and then both feet to the wall lengthen through the legs drop the head bend your knees look forward and then you'll see if you can hop or step your feet between your hands breathing in halfway folding down as you exhale roll and rise up vertebrae by vertebrae rolling the shoulders back and then we're going to take the sequence one more time just a little bit different remembering it takes time to trust our bodies before we can fully go upside down so right legs going to go up this time as you come forward bend the right knee so your hands can find the wall a deeper forward fold over the right leg and then you're going to swing the right leg behind you into a warrior three slowly take a walk down the wall with your hands to the earth your right legs lifted so you just have to come up onto the ball of the left foot bend through the knee and with every exhale you're gonna play with hops so we'll just start with hopping two and maybe on three just throw yourself up the wall maybe both legs are there lengthen through the arms press down through the hands internally rotate the thighs you can look down maybe play with a little balance and then come on down so you may be called to kind of sink down but then it's harder to come back up so i would say stay folded over both legs and rise on up vertebrae by vertebrae last time on the left side send your leg up the wall arms high find your palms into the wall like you are going to do a handstand starting there as you send your left leg back bend the right knee journey all the way down begin to get a little springy arms nice and strong like legs and then it's with the exhale that you surrender yourself up after a couple of times maybe you come up maybe you don't you can play with your balance by drawing everything in towards the midline faith faith faith believe and this time you can come down and take a child's pose back down to earth when all else fails and then we're going to take one more inversion forearm stand so we've done quite a bit of work here on the forearms and finding the lift up from our belly our center you can make your way back into this dolphin pose and you can hang out here playing with one leg up and then the other but if you're coming up with hops it's the same thing you do have to look forward and after a hop or two you'll see if you can make your way up maybe moving away from the wall and then coming back down into your child's pose come on back up you can again play with this relationship if inversions are new and hopping up get first really connected with the earth trust the earth we all have that starting place and then start by taking little hops and i promise you like it happened with me i was terrified of these poses terrified of so much doubt and fear you really rule my life a lot of the time and have so switching it has been uh has been tremendous through these teachings where i choose to place my faith so you can come on up oh actually while you're here because we are going to take it into one last big shape that we've been working towards with the backbends and that scorpion pose so again something terrifying and how we can again begin to bow to it what it's meant to teach us when it's there in our life so just like we were playing a little bit towards the beginning with the dancing camels you can start by drawing the sacrum down to lift the chest you can point your toes to allow the tops of the thighs to open more this back bending pose and then if you're comfortable you can reach back with one hand one hand and then the other keep the chin pretty neutral and if you're ready you can begin to release the head and slowly come back and then we'll put those two poses together so let's ground down again you really want to find your fingers into the earth your elbows underneath your shoulders this foundation is the most important from where we can sprout from right the deeper the roots the higher anything can begin to sprout and shoot up so find that foundation even if it's here second would be to tuck the toes under and lift your hips and if you started out with the right leg maybe you'll explore first lifting up through the left bend the right knee deeply as you inhale and again play with those hops as you exhale exhale inhaling exhaling and then play with it as many times as you need to either come up or not and for those of you that have made your way up you can even begin to bend your knees and lift your head towards your toes for scorpion pose you can press the tops of your feet to the wall and then when you're ready to come down you'll make your way down another couple moments in child's pose there we are we have the earth you can take your hands forward you can open up your knees let the chest melt towards the ground we always have the earth always there for us we know this and then rise on up one more time onto your shins and we're going to end in a very restorative inversions it's the same thing to allow our roots to be uprooted and up in heaven and then our heads that are generally swirling around full of doubt and fear to find that stability and safety on the ground that faith so this is called viparita korani so you want to start pretty close into the wall with your left hip touching the wall and then lower down onto your backs and this in itself can be a really enjoyable way to allow the body to receive all of the great nutrients from your practice and you can also bend the knees press your feet into the wall float your hips up for a little bit more of a shoulder stand feeling and it's supported because your feet are in the wall and all the weight is there in your neck and then place one of your blocks or a blanket whatever you have nearby right underneath your sacrum it's a little bit of a heart opener the hips are still elevated and then your legs can come up the wall you can release your arms out to the side and take a few breaths even in this upside down shape everything in our life is placed there for our highest good to return back to who we are and take a few more breaths there and if you'd like to bend your knees and take the soles of your feet together you can take your hands at the tops of the thighs for a supported goddess pose allowing the breath to open up the creative center of the body to continue to co-create your life it says by the thoughts we think the actions we take we create our reality and draw the knees towards each other plant the feet into the wall again as you float the hips up remove the block out to the side and release your hips down you can scoot a little bit away from the wall you can still press your feet into the edge of the wall i usually find a little bit extra space in the left side of my hips as you peel open through the chest these restorative poses or poses of surrender instead of the active doing take a walk up the wall over to the other side using the feet to get grounded you press the right foot to open up right side of the chest and begin to roll right over onto your side into a fetal position for a moment and then rise on up to sit take your legs out and in front of you you inhale the arms up and big forward bend over your two legs as you breathe out your knees can be bent so that you're really placing your chest on top of your thighs as we move forward forward bends are so much about again what's going to be so much determined by our faith as you breathe in lift your arms up and then slowly lower yourself down for shavasana you can keep your knees bent to support the low back if that's more comfortable or allow them to lengthen out you can squeeze everything tight if you've been holding on to anything in the past especially and then drop it you can even do a little internal mantra practice of breathing in let breathing out go inside of your head of course or say it out loud it's helpful you can do that around three or five times and then then surrender over to what is and gently begin to bring your awareness back to your breath and even deepen it making it more conscious with this conscious breathing conscious thinking conscious living you can begin to shape our lives move your fingers and your toes you can bend your knees move them a little bit from side to side listening to your body and then a big hug of your knees into your chest lift your head up roll over to the side and come up to sit rock yourself up up now it might feel strange to have your head on top after all the upside down and take a couple of moments seated and then we're going to get ready for our meditation and journaling practice so make sure you have something warm to cover yourself up with and your journal we'll see you in a couple moments so let's go ahead and get ready for meditation it's always nice to have your hips


a little elevated so the spine can lengthen your chest can remain open and we're going to take today's meditation with a mudra called vajra pramada so that's the mudra of unshakable trust as we explore this concept of faith and what it means to us personally in our lives because this faith as we've gone over is really strengthened through personal experience through this trusted relationship with our practice to keep showing up to our life and ultimately to however we see the divine mysterious force in the universe so you'll interlace your fingers and then simply place them on your heart interconnected and i i still like this one like a a friend it's kind of like a a handshake or a hand holding that we ultimately make with ourselves and you can sit up to allow the shoulders to go slide backwards and the heart lifts and remembering the definition of shrada being that which is placed in the heart that which is placed in the heart so our beliefs our core values not even without thinking are guiding us through everything we do so in yoga and specifically through the bug of agita we're guided to participate in this because this shrada can change as we change we placed our faith in our parents when we were babies in our jobs in schools and in our spiritual practice we begin to place our faith in ourselves and our practice and our relationship with the divine divine we can close your eyes and listen to the sound of your breath this presence that's always there and you can bring your awareness to what forces are within you you what are you placing the most faith in right now a lot of us have placed our faith in science a lot of us don't it's a personal choice where especially this text is a book of choices Krishna says here's the information now do as you please you make the choices it's not one of just place your faith and what I'm saying and do as you're told we're told we shape our lives through our thoughts through our actions where we place our faith if you need to flip things around and perhaps choose not to believe in your fears or doubts or you can place your faith in your strengths your dharma whatever is in your path and that little by little as we show up make some conscious choices is those big blows can perhaps lessen in our lives that are guiding us and teaching us it's a wonderful mantra it's my yogic anthem that sings you know lead me from the untruth to the truth and lead me from darkness or ignorance to light and from fear to the knowledge of my immortal self or my liberation and at the end of chapter 17 kind of a shorter version of the mantra Krishna breaks down is om tat sat, om being the primordial sound of the universe, sat being truth, tat that is, what is so if you'd like to join me in singing just a simple version om tat sat you can chant that all start and you can join in when you're moved amtat sat, amtat sat, amtat sat amtat sat, amtat sat, amtat sat another big breath in release your hands down on your thighs this openness may be a message that's being replayed again and again that you haven't been listening to this guide sometimes it's called grace cripa in sanskrit so i'm gonna take a few breaths here and then when you're ready you can reach for your journals pick up your pen you can just kind of start writing when i want to deepen my relationship to faith i more let a download come through me instead of try to orchestrate but you can perhaps start by really outlining these different forces that exist within you what are some of the energies that you've placed your faith in what alters have you bowed to and which ones do you see being a healthier choice now leading more towards your your dharma and ultimate fulfillment to be able to be of service you can even imagine what the outcome what that might be a different outcome um if you had chosen a different path or thought another thing you might be moved to explore writing about are are those times that destiny has stepped in and made a decision for you and now in hindsight by looking back as they say is 2020 you realize wow yes that was meant to be it led me on this path that i'm supposed to be on and this begins to develop the faith and shraddha in our personal experience this trust and one of the things i like to do is instead of making a list and kind of being controlling every single day and following a set set of rules maybe once a week loosen up the plan a little bit and see if you can be led with a little less control and placing your life over in divine hands and what might that look like and another practice you can just play with you know sometimes like these the bug of agita and many books even in the sufi tradition are just opened up as guides not so much do what i tell you like tarot cards as well or astrology or something like that but it's just this belief to practice getting out of our own way and our ego things that we hold on to our beliefs so dearly about who we are sometimes i'll just pull a tarot and choose to like okay i'll believe i'll do what you tell me today see what happens so maybe make a little vow to begin to have trust and um something beyond those strongly constructed belief patterns and then when you're done take your time finishing up or come back to it at any time throughout the week and i just really look forward to hearing about what your experiences have been like so enjoy the rest of your day and i'll see you next time thanks everyone


Kate M
1 person likes this.
Loving this journey. Turning our perspective upside down... opening to new ways of seeing, of believing. Love.
Jenny S
1 person likes this.
The asana practice part of this episode was so invigorating . Getting upside down really does change one’s perspective both literally and figuratively! Loved the use of the wall for the restorative twists at the end. As for the journal prompts and suggestions at the end - I totally got goosebumps! Earlier today was my very first time pulling a tarot card (I’m late to the party)…I pulled the Wheel of Fortune! Coincidence ? I think not! ✨✨✨✨✨
Charlie S
Loving this journey with you. 
Tina P
1 person likes this.
wow my limiting thought just got kicked you know where ✨Thank you Jasmine !
Kate M
1 person likes this.
Such a lovely integrated practice. One to return to again and again. Thank you Jasmine.   : )

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