Yin Yoga and Mythology Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 8

Krishna Yin

25 min - Practice


May we know the depth of love in our hearts, and may it shine on everyone. Krishna is playful, Krishna is romantic, Krishna is love personified. It's said that when people became too serious, Vishnu transformed himself into Krishna and came to earth to bring back playfulness and to teach them how to love. This class is a lighthearted love letter to your shoulders and ribcage, full of gentle heart-openers to make lots of room in your chest for all the affection that you carry around. You will feel playful, soft, and easygoing.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

Apr 01, 2022
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Welcome, I'm Kelly Cam, and in this practice I'm going to share one of my most favorite mythical stories with you. It's a story about the God Krishna, and it said that Vishnu incarnated as Krishna when the world got too serious. And so he came to teach people how to be lighthearted, how to be silly, and how to love each other again. So we're going to work a lot of heart opening shapes today, front of the heart, back of the heart, sides of the heart, and we're going to start with a bolster or a pillow or a blanket. Whatever you have handy will work.

You do want it to be firm enough that when you lie back over it, you feel a sense of a backbend. So if you have a bolster, that's great. If not, roll up a blanket or roll up a pillow and put it right underneath your ribcage so that your armpit creases come just above the top edge of the bolster of the pillow. Your legs can stretch out, your arms can stretch out overhead. And then we're just going to sink in for a moment here like a river flowing over a rock, just letting every inch of your body, every drop of you, fall to the lowest place like water.

And then in a very playful way, rocking and rolling from side to side over the bolster so that you roll onto one ribcage on the side, almost like we're steamrolling the area all around our heart, coming back through center onto the back of the heart and then rolling to the other side ribcage. And you see, I'm moving my legs around to support myself. You can do anything you like with your legs that feels helpful, but just taking a few rolls from side to side, kind of smearing your ribcage onto the bolster or the pillow, getting into all those little nooks and crannies between the ribs, around the heart, even into the upper back. If anything feels really interesting, you could stop and linger there and settle for a moment or you could keep it moving at a gentle but easy pace. We'll do that for another breath or two and then settling in the center, in the back bend.

And when you arrive there, go ahead and bend your knees, bring your feet to the floor so that you can push your whole body backwards a little bit and take the bolster from underneath your ribcage and put it underneath your sacrum so that we come into a supported bridge here. Arms anywhere that you want, arms can just go out to the sides in an easy place, feed underneath the knees and then bringing your attention into your own physical heart space and letting it soften, imagining your heart widening, spreading out like a great lake, really soft and calm. So Krishna, Krishna grew up in the village of Vrindavan where everyone loved him. When he was a baby, people were just crazy about him. They didn't quite know why, they just knew that they really loved this little baby.

They had no idea that this little baby was actually God in their midst, but they just adored him and no one adored him more than Radha. Radha was a cowherding girl and she loved Krishna so much, all she could think about all day long was Krishna, Krishna, Krishna. They grew up together, playing in the forests, loving, dancing, singing, splashing in the river. But eventually, they grew up and Krishna had to leave. Let the back of your heart get even softer and heavier.

Imagine water spilling from your knees down through the shins to the feet, from the pelvis down through the torso, to the chest and the arms. So Krishna, when he was a baby, would do silly things like he would steal butter and feed it to all the monkeys. And when he was caught, he would say, I didn't do it. You can take the legs now straight up into the air and just kick them all around any which way. You can turn them in, turn them out, they can bend, they can straighten, anywhere your legs want to go.

Just have a little fun with it, just like a little baby in your crib. Just kicking around, nowhere special to go, nothing to achieve, but just enjoying, delighting in the movement of your own body, noticing any sounds your body might make, any of those serial sounds, snap, crackle, pop through your joints, not a bad thing, don't worry about it. Taking another moment here to just let everything open up around the hips. And then we're going to take this into a twist on the bolster. If twisting on the bolster doesn't feel right to you, you're always very welcome to get rid of the bolster and just do it right on the ground.

I'm going to scoot over towards the right edge of my bolster so that I don't fall off when I take the right leg across the body and over towards the left. You can do this with straight legs or bent knees. I'm going to straighten my leg out and let my arms open out to the side. So I feel really wide and spacious, and then once you arrive in your shape, just let everything settle. And as you let the dust settle, feel back into your heart again, into your physical heart space, and keeping your mind's eye there, your breath there.

I'll finish the story for you. So Radha and Krishna have parted ways. Krishna's left for another village, and Radha is so sad. And time goes by, years go by, and Krishna's really far away. And at some point, Krishna gets a new best friend, and this guy, his name is Uddhava.

And one day, Krishna says to Uddhava, hey, will you go and check on Radha for me? You can go see her and the other cowherding women, and just see how they're doing. And so Uddhava makes a long journey back to Vrindavan, and he's thinking that when he gets there, he's going to see Radha and the other girls just wasting away from sadness, just completely consumed by their grief. And when he gets there, though, he finds them in a forest clearing, and they're all dancing and singing and looking super ecstatic, like, blissed out, like he's never seen anyone so blissed out before. And Radha herself, he finds her hugging a tree.

She's got her arms wrapped around the tree, hugging it like it's her beloved. And he thinks, ah, she must have gone mad with heartache. And so Uddhava calls Radha over, he catches her eye and calls her to him. And Radha says, oh, Uddhava, I'm so happy to see you. And Uddhava, thinking that Radha is really just broken from her grief, he says, oh, Radha, Radha, listen, if you come and sit with me and you close your eyes, you'll be able to feel Krishna here, and remember that he loves you.

And Radha, Radha falls down laughing. Radha can't stop laughing at what Uddhava just said, and he's confused. Take another couple of breaths to sink and soften, feel that churning, twisting through the belly into the heart. And then we'll come on back through center. Take a moment in the middle where if you like those wild legs, you could kick them around again, you could stay in a simple bridge, or you could pull your knees in and give yourself a little hug and a rock, and you're just tuning in to what you feel inside your body, your inner landscape, and when it feels like enough time has passed and you're ready for the second side of the twist, go ahead and shift your hips off to the left side of your pillow blanket or bolster, and you'll bring the left leg in and across, the right leg is outstretched on the ground, arms can go wherever they feel at ease, organic and happy, and you're choosing whether to lengthen the top leg that's twisted over or to bend it either way is great as long as you feel comfortable enough to stay for a while and really spread out.

So Radha's laughing, where we left Radha, she was laughing at Uddhava, we told her that if she closed her eyes, she could remember that Krishna loves her. And so Uddhava says, I don't understand, why are you laughing? And Radha says, oh, you have to close your eyes to see him. She said, we see him everywhere all the time. And she explains the mystery of love to Uddhava.

She says, listen, when your beloved is really close, when they're right next to you, it's so easy to feel love. It's right there on the surface. And she said, he went away for so long, so far away that we dug and we dug and we found the wellspring of love was in our hearts all the time. That Krishna may have inspired it. She said, but I made it, it came from my heart and nobody can take that away from me.

You know, it's like when you've ever loved someone and then they were gone, you didn't stop loving them. Really loved them even a little more because that love came from you, not from them. You made it. It's yours. And sometimes it takes that, it takes a heartbreak, it takes some aloneness to point us to the fact that that love was ours all along.

And then Cohen said, there's a crack in everything. That's where the light gets in. And Rumi said it too. The poet Rumi said, the wound is where the light enters us. Sometimes a heartbreak is not such a bad thing after all.

It hurts in the beginning, but it also causes us to reach and search. And sometimes if we're lucky, we search, we reach and we find that love in our own hearts. So coming back, you can unwind from your twist and as you come back, just press your feet into the floor enough to lift your pelvis off the bolster of the pillow and push your bolster down so that it ends up underneath your knees and your thighs and you can rest on your back for a moment with your legs draped over the bolster. Maybe put a hand or two on your heart and resting your hands on your heart, feeling all the love that's in there, remembering all the people that you love and the ones that are gone now. And do you still love them?

Do you still feel that in your heart? It's yours. It's always there. Nobody can take it away. We're going to come on up and take a melting heart pose now.

So slowly in a nice, heavy, gentle way, you can make your way up and I'm going to bring the bolster in front of me, which you can use or not use as you like, but you could use the bolster for your forehead or your chest as you come onto all fours and stretch your arms forward and then melting the heart, just letting it drape down between the tailbone and the crown like a hammock, arms heavy, chest soft. So we can remember in hard times to reach out, right? If life was really easy all the time, we'd have no need for these practices, yoga, spirit. We reach for them when we need help, when we need support. So it's a great way to reframe things, that when you feel broken, when your heart hurts, when things are challenging, it's an opportunity to reach out and it's an opportunity to ask for help and it's an opportunity to dig in and look a little deeper for love, for joy.

Once you find that deep wellspring of love in your own heart, then you can turn it on everything you like, you can turn it on every tree, you can look at every flower with love, every blade of grass, even every piece of dirt. Start to walk your hands back as you do. Lift your head off the floor, the bolster, pillow, you can take a moment to push your props off to the side, if you want to round your back into a cat pose or shake your spine out a bit, go for it, a little rinse off. And then we'll come into something called the hugging child and this is just an option. I'll show you this version first and then I'll show you some other variations, but for this hugging child, the arms thread between the legs with your palms facing up and you can turn your head to either side.

I know my son, when he was a little baby, you would often do this, tuck his arms underneath and sleep like this, so like a sweet little baby, you can tuck yourself in and if that doesn't work for your body, no problem, stretch your arms out in front of you or take any other version of child's pose. You could put a bolster under your chest, I'm going to go back to this hugging child threading the arms between the legs and turning my head to the side, at any point if you want to turn your head the other way to even it out, go for it and then let yourself sink and settle. So the end of the story, Uddhava goes back to Krishna and Krishna with a twinkle in his eye because he already knew what happened. He says, so how to go, I would like to bless you for doing that, I want to thank you and I want to give you a title, I want to give you an honorific title for doing that errand for going back to see Radha for me and Uddhava says, no, thank you, I don't want that, but I do want something and Krishna says, anything, anything at all you can have it, Uddhava says, I want to be a blade of grass, Krishna's a little confused, like what, you could be anything, you want to be a blade of grass, Uddhava says, not just any blade of grass, I want to be a blade of grass in the forest of Vrindavan so that maybe if I'm lucky, Radha will step on me and just a little bit of that devotion, that trust and that love that she has will fall on my head. So like a little blade of grass, a little soft, tender blade of grass, let yourself root into the earth, start to call yourself back here pulling the arms out if they were tucked underneath you or bringing them closer if they were stretched out and as you start to climb your way out, we'll turn around and rest and so resting can be on your back, can also be on your side or on your belly, however you feel most supported and comfortable and as you rest, just bringing your attention back to your heart space for a moment here, they say the bioelectricity of your heart is way stronger even than your brain and that all the time, the electromagnetic waves are shining out from your heart between your ribs and that people can feel it feet away as much as five or six feet away.

But the cool thing is that they're also bouncing back in that those same electromagnetic waves that reach out from between your ribs, sometimes they bump into your ribs and they get reflected back into your heart. So as you lie in this resting shape, feeling or imagining that you feel the electricity of your own heart nourishing itself, reflecting itself back to itself as well as radiating out into the space around you. Thank you very much. Let the breath start to light you up again, let it light up your fingers and they can playfully wiggle, let the breath light up your toes as they dance, any stretching, any hugging, any snuggling, any rocking that wants to happen and then go ahead and start to make your way back up to sit where we'll finish with a mudra practice. This one is called Abhaya Hradaya and it means the deepest cave of your heart has no fear.

Abhaya means no fear. So it's like a trust, a sense of fearlessness and the very depths of your heart. So you're going to cross your wrists, make like an X at the wrist with the backs of your hands facing each other. The pinkies hook, pinky to pinky, ring finger to ring finger, they hook. And then you're going to take the pointer to pointer and hook them.

And the last piece here is to touch the thumb to the tip of the middle finger of each hand. And that can come right in front of your chest and it's a complicated one so I'll show you one more time, wrist cross, back of the hands are facing each other, pinky to pinky hook, ring to ring hook, pointer to pointer hook and then thumb touches middle finger on each hand, Abhaya Hradaya. And this is a beautiful reminder that our hearts are deep wells full of love and affection and that yes people might come and go, our life might change, but nobody, no one can ever take away this deep love that we have in our heart. This is yours. Breathing in as you breathe out, let your shoulders soften, your heart spread out even softer and wider and take up more space in your chest.

And then gently release the mudra, bring your palms together and bow your head towards your heart. Thank you so much for joining me in this practice today.


Jennifer E
3 people like this.
A lot of loss in my life over the last year and hearing this beautiful story along with its message really touched me! Thank you thank you for this class, Kelly!
Jenny S
2 people like this.
Oh Kelly this was so nourishing for my soul…so grateful for your gifts…❤️🙏🏻
Alessandra  Y
1 person likes this.
What a tonic! I loved this practice, and I really liked discovering the new (to me) mudra at the end.
Alessandra  Y
1 person likes this.
Kelly K, could you write down the name of the mudra used at the end if this practice. I'm having trouble searching phonetically for any info about it.
Kelly K
Jennifer E thank you so much! so happy you liked it xoxo
Kelly K
1 person likes this.
Alessandra Y Yes no problem! It's called "abhaya hridaya"
2 people like this.
I just love practicing Yin Yoga  with you Kelly K!  Hope there will be another season.
Kelly K
1 person likes this.
Katrin This makes me so happy !! Thank you! I'm hoping too! 
Diane C
1 person likes this.
Thank you for this nourishing class, and much needed inspiration as I go through a recent heart break. This class really touched my heart. Thank you Kelly!
Kelly K
2 people like this.
Diane C I'm so sorry you're going through heartbreak. It's so painful. I wish you so much love and strength! Big hugs 
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