Yoga and Faith Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 2


30 min - Practice


Yoga is a devotional practice. Experience the devotional energy of the heart while lovingly meeting and releasing tension in the chest, shoulders, and back. We begin in a seated mudra practice to connect to our devotion to the earth, to our loved ones, and to all that is. We then move through Yin shapes with various teachings on devotion and how it shows up in our practice and in our lives. You will feel soothed, peaceful, and in awe of the heart.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Blanket

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Hi, everyone. Welcome to Devotion. There's an insightful verse in the Gospel of Matthew that says, Where your treasure lies, there your heart will be also. What we treasure, what we love, is where we will extend our heart's devotion. That's what this class is all about today. So we're going to use a few simple yin shapes. We'll settle into the space of our heart. We know where devotion extends itself outward from. And so I invite you to join me on the mat. I have a folded blanket underneath my hips.

You're welcome to sit on a blanket or a block, whatever feels comfortable for you. Our hands are said to be the motor organ of our heart. So as we land today, we're going to start with connecting with our hands. We're going to take our peace fingers and plug them into the earth. We're going to feel into this sense of devotion that we have toward the earth.

So just very lightly rest your fingertips there. Allow your hips to soften down. Begin to feel your connection with the stable ground of the earth. You're welcome to let your eyes close. And take a moment just to consider the devotion you have for earth. Do you feel the rhythm connected with your rhythm?

As you hold this mudra, can you sense the out breath? The word devotion comes from two Latin words, di, meaning to empty, down, down to the bottom. And then val, meaning a solemn promise or self-sacrifice. Just a few more seconds here. Sensing devotion for earth. And then very slowly, please bring your hands in front of your belly and let all the fingers and thumbs touch, creating a circle.

This is called Hakini mudra. And as you hold this mudra, notice how it informs your breath. And bring to your awareness someone you love, maybe many someones. And sense the devotion that you have for your loved ones, those you hold dear. Is there any distance as you bring them into your heart between where you are and where they are?

You might think of devotion as love being surrendered or poured out toward an object. In this case, our loved ones. And then very slowly, bring your hands up to the heart, allowing your fingers to open in the shape of a lotus flower coming into Padma mudra. And notice right away how the breath changes here. And consider the devotion you have for all that is, the I Am, perhaps your understanding of God.

And again, is there any distance between pure being and where you are? In Chapter 9 of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna, anyone who offers me a leaf, a flower, a cup of water, a fruit, with a devotional heart, I accept that offering. Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you sacrifice, whatever effort you make, make it an offering to me. This way you will be liberated from the bondage of action that produces good and evil. Breathe in this devotion to all that is.

And then slowly let your fingers close in, press your thumbs toward the sternum. And together let's take a nice big breath in. Exhale everything completely. Now we're going to make our way onto our backs. So the blanket, if you have a blanket that you're seated on, just go ahead and move that to the top of your mat.

And if you need a moment to grab a blanket, or even a rolled hand towel can work, we're just going to open up the chest and we're going to come a little bit more into this devotional shape. So just allow the blanket to come right about the shoulder blades and then allow your heart just to open over the top. Let your feet be comfortable, knees bent, maybe a little wider than your hips. And we're going to hold this shape for about three minutes and just finding that sense of letting go into this heart opener. If it's more comfortable for your arms to be straight, you can straighten them a bit.

Or you're welcome to bend the elbows. We're going to breathe here for about two minutes. All of yoga is a devotional practice. And so as we land here, can you begin to sense that natural devotion that springs from each of our hearts, just as you're here, tune inward toward that. And you're welcome to let your head roll a little side to side.

And you might deepen the breath. Allowing the whole weight of the body to be supported by the ground beneath you. Final few seconds here. Awesome. Now take your feet in close to your sits bones, raise your hips high to the sky. Let's slide that blanket out from under you.

And then we're just going to stretch out to the corners, just like a starfish laying in the sand. We're just going to extend our arms and legs. Breathing from the center, exhaling everything. And then as you are ready, go ahead and draw your legs in wide to the edges of your mat. You might snuggle the shoulder blades under.

We're going to start to windshield wiper those legs a little side to side. Just finding some freedom in the spine. Freedom in the heart and hips. And again, like remembering those connections, those devotional connections to the earth, when our feet are touching the earth, when our arms are reaching toward the heavens, all of this movement can be devotional. The smallest thing can be a devotion.

Gently let your arms come down alongside your body, walk your feet in close to your sits bones, and then let's shimmy forward and back here. You're just pulsing through the bottoms of the feet and letting the body rebound. And then we'll come to stillness. And then slowly and very mindfully, we're going to roll over onto our side. We're going to come all the way up and we're going to prepare for butterfly.

So just find your way up. We'll bring the soles of our feet together. You're welcome to bring the feet closer in, which is going to kind of get us more in the inner line of the legs or you can move them a bit away. I'm going to move my legs a little bit away today. And this is a very devotional shape butterfly.

So as you come into it, I want you to make sure that you have the support you need. So if you need to grab a block to support your head or any other prop support blanket for your head to rest on, please have that ready. And I'm just going to reach up. So I feel into this sense of lengthening up through the central channel and then diving forward and just really letting the body come into a yielded space here. And I'm going to take my little finger and ring finger to the thumb and just allow the head to draw.

We'll be here for a few moments. This is a great place to breathe into the back of the heart space. And as you're devoting yourself forward, can you allow your your tensions to be met with loving awareness? Notice how this mudra informs your breath. Just a bit longer here.

Good. And how slowly begin to rise. And then as we come out of that, reach the arms up toward the ceiling. Really lengthen up through the spine and we'll let the arms come down. Good.

And now we're going to transition into a shape that really encourages the heart to open. And again, I want you to be very mindful of your body and only go where it feels right for you. So I'm going to get my bolster, place it near the top of the mat. We're going to come into anahata. So I'm going to bring my hands onto the top of the bolster and then just begin to walk the knees back.

You get quite a bit of space. I've got my toes tucked under and then I'm going to start to drop the heart down. And I really want to feel into my body and where it is today. So please take care of yourself in that way and then allow your your forehead to come near the floor. And if you find that you need to walk the feet back just a smidge, go ahead and do that.

Just looking for that heart to earth connection. And we'll breathe here for a couple of minutes. See if you can relax your fingers, your wrists, your elbows, shoulders. And any modification will work. You could even do a supported, kind of a supported child's pose here. So as you're in this shape, consider where do your treasures lie?

What are you devoted to? In these final few seconds, I invite you to lift your head away from the floor. Bring your knees forward a bit and then just bring the elbows up onto the bolster. We're going to just let the head drop between the elbows. And just bring the palms together, hands in prayer.

Excellent. Slowly inhale, rise. Now we're going to make our way into a supine twist. But before we do that, we're going to practice clock pose together. I love clock pose. It's one of the most devotional practices that I do. And it's also very good for the shoulders.

So we're going to come on to our right side. We're going to stack the knees, let a 90 degree bend come into your knees, and we'll place the left palm on top of the right. Now you may need a pillow under your head or blanket. So go ahead and grab a blanket if you need it. And as you're ready, we're going to bring the left arm away from the right and begin to paint along the top of the mat.

And so we're just going to move sort of in and out, keeping the hips stacked. And then just kind of in the shape of a clock or an analog clock, we're going to move that hand around. When you start to feel your left fingers raise up off of the floor, then you're going to know that's your edge. Let's do that a couple more times, just inhaling out. And then exhaling open.

Last one here. Good. And then we'll find our edge. You might tuck that right shoulder under a bit. And then we'll just breathe here for just about a minute. And allow your breath to really move up into the top of your lungs here.

Ease in the neck. I don't know about you, but often I'm devoted to things that really sort of aren't necessarily the best, like binging on Netflix. So it's a good time on our mat to always consider like, what am I devoted to and is my life energy being extended to something that I truly love? And now slowly let your left arm open and you'll find your way into a spinal twist. And right here you're welcome to look toward that left hand or toward the right or even up toward the ceiling.

We're just going to breathe here for a couple of minutes. Thank you. As Krishna says, the smallest act of devotion is meaningful from a pure heart. And the most intimate relationship we have is with this breath, this body. And so finding ways that we can even devote our time to our practice, even if it's just five minutes, 30 minutes, it's worth it. It matters.

Very slowly bring that left arm over to meet the right. And as you take your next in breath, let that left arm stretch past the right arm, maybe flex through the wrist and then inhale, draw back up, keeping the arm straight. Let's do that a couple more times, just moving those shoulder blades. And inhale, reach. And then slowly bend your elbows on our backs and pause and just notice what you feel.

And we'll transition to the second side. So you might want to scooch over toward the left side of your mat. We'll stack the knees. Now with the right hand over the left, we're going to move back into our clock pose on the second side. Inhale is going to take us around. And just when you start to feel your hip shift or your fingers rise up off the floor, that's where you want to just hang out for a moment. We'll do this a few times. Again, it's just finding that freedom and sensing into that notion of devotion.

It's really letting the shoulder blade have some freedom. And maybe one more before we hold and breathe. And then just feel all of your fingers knit toward the earth. Knees are together. Let's breathe a little here. Maybe be a bit more interested now in the breath coming into the right lung, right shoulder.

Feel free to move your head. Yoga is about freedom. So always make space for that. And then as you feel ready, go ahead and open up into your supine twist. Again, caring for your neck, either looking toward the right or left. Maybe up toward the ceiling.

And the beauty of this practice we call devotion is that we don't have to try to be devotional. Like what we really love is where we will pour our energy. And so as you're in these shapes, it's so important to find a space that you can breathe, that you really love, that the body loves, that you're not trying to get anywhere. You're simply allowing, you're allowing yourself to meet the body right where it is. And that's a natural loving way.

All right, let's take that right arm over, place it on the left and then just find that reach as you extend that right arm past the left hand. And then we'll come back up the arm, shifting the shoulders. Inhale, reaching. And then exhaling, come back up the arm. Let's do that one more time. Beautiful, now bending through the elbows, find your way onto your back.

Let's take a moment to rest in lying release before we move to our shavasana. And just get a sense of where you are here in space, the feet, the knees, the hips, the torso, the arms, the head. And then slowly make your way to your favorite shavasana. You're welcome to bring a bolster under your knees, stretch your legs out. Let's get super comfortable.

So devotion implies relationship, pouring out, a yielding toward. And so I invite you here to just consciously consider just what would you like to be devoted to, even just for today. And slowly deepen your breath. Gently draw your legs in, bring your feet to the mat, and we'll ease over to one side and push up. And we'll make our way to a comfortable seat, closing with hands in prayer.

Thank you for joining me for these devotional practices. Namaste.


Jenny S
2 people like this.
I did this practice facing a gorgeous December sunrise and it was just “aaaaaahhhhh”. So blissful. And your gentle words really got me thinking of how I want to move through what is generally a hectic time of year. I’m inspired to bring a devotional mindset into my daily walk of life as best I can. And yes - less Netflix! Thank you for this practice 🙏🏻❤️
Angel B
3 people like this.
Dear Jenny! I am so glad you enjoyed the class.  Yay! You are most welcome. Your sweet words are such a blessing. Thank you. See you in the next episodes. xo
Michelle F
5 people like this.
Hi Angel,
I saw Jenny S comment here - hello there Jenny! so I KNEW i would love this practice . Such a wonderful pause in a busy Saturday that really gave me the opportunity to see what I was devoting my time and energy to and just dial it all in! The afternoon looks sweeter now!
Thank you!

Barbara S
5 people like this.
This is a wonderful practice that will slow you down to meditate and stretch, loosening all the “stuff” that makes us crazy at this time of the year. I so hope this series continues and grows. We need it. Thx to Angel!
Angel B
2 people like this.
Michelle F Awwww! Thankful for Jenny S too. Grateful this class brought a little peace to your weekend! Much love. Angel
Angel B
2 people like this.
Barbara S Wonderful! You are so welcome, dear heart.  I look forward to more yoga together.
Francesca Venturini
This was my first practice after 8 days of very bad flue. It was so nice feeling my breath back, connecting with mother earth and with my heart. Feeling alive is just so sweet and beautiful.
Angel B
Francesca Venturini It surely is!! I am so grateful this class helped you reconnect after such a challenging time with the flu. Hope you continue getting your strength back. xo Angel
Beth Fegley
I love this practice so much. I have found myself resistant to stillness lately. This practice with my yoga sister Angel reminded me of my need for balance, quiet, and stillness. ❤️💕❤️
Angel B
Beth Fegley YAY for stillness! I love that you experienced that. ♥️
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