Yoga and Faith Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 3


30 min - Practice


The truth will set you free. In this class we address the region of the neck and shoulders, which get energetically and physically stuck when we withhold our truth.  These shapes will get deep into your tight spots, and leave you feeling light, courageous, and unburdened.
What You'll Need: Square Bolster, Blanket

About This Video


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Hi, everyone. Welcome to honesty. I'm so happy to be with you today talking about this because what I've found is even though honesty is very difficult, right, we have to have courage to be honest. We also have to have a certain measure of humility. But really, to be honest is to be free. And when we can find that place, even on our mat, like with the asanas, the shapes that we take, there is a certain amount of freedom that comes in. And that freedom then hopefully can express itself out in our relationships. Rumi tells us that the wine God loves is human honesty. Good old fashioned telling the truth. And so we're going to work together with telling the truth in our asanas. Yoga is a great place to bring some honesty. So I invite you to join me on the mat. I'm seated on a blanket. You're welcome to find a blanket or even a bolster. We will be using a bolster in a little bit. So go ahead and get comfortable and orient yourself to the space that you're in. Maybe look around the room and just let yourself really land here. When we come into honesty, it requires a sensitivity, a listening. And so we'll just take a moment to rest your fingertips right at the collarbone and breathe into this light space above the chest. And just feel that sense of connection to a deeper listening. A listening beyond the habitual knowing into a quieter realm here. Honesty is communicated through our face, through the voice, through our ability to really hear. And so just connect with that in your body. And then as you're ready, we're going to let that left arm come down, take your right hand and just snuggle it under the collarbone. So it's like there's this perfect place for the palm to rest just beneath the collarbone. And as you hold this here, can you allow your right ear to gently drop? Often when we are not telling the truth, the neck will get tight and restricted. So we just want to meet our tensions. No one's saying that it shouldn't be tight or that we shouldn't not tell the truth. But honesty does set us free. And so as I mentioned in John's gospel, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Look for freedom here as you move your head forward and back. And then please take your left arm out, maybe flexing through the wrist. And just notice how as we bring the heart, the arms and the hands into it, it starts to feel different. More sensation out through the palm, the wrist. There's no right or wrong way to move. And then begin to paint with that left hand. So you're just kind of flexing the wrist and then dropping those fingers down. Just saying hello to the neck, to the collarbone, connecting with the ear. And then very gently let everything come back up through center. Let your left palm open and then let your right palm rest down and just feel. Feel what you feel. And then we'll move to the other side, taking that left hand. I like to get my palm right on the skin so it's like connected. So once you feel that, just anchor that in and then start to play with like, okay, where does my left ear want to move? And how do I want to meet this right side of the neck? It's amazing to me as I consider the times when I have been really honest. It's scary at first. And then there's a freedom that comes with telling the truth about a thing. And so as you find the tension, the line of tension that you might be feeling in the neck, can you accept that and be with that in an honest way? And then we'll bring that right arm out to the side, maybe flex through the wrist. Good. And then just again, like where is the right place to move, to breathe, to feel. And then maybe paint with that wrist, just flexing. Good. Just a few more like that. And then slowly yield out of that shape, letting that right palm open, left palm down. And again, like check in and notice what you feel.

You'll let both palms turn up, allowing for that inhale and exhale. Now we're going to make our way into a seated forward fold. So take your blanket, if you're seated on a blanket, and we're going to place that at the top of the mat. And we're going to come into a forward fold. And this is a great place to really get honest about where our hamstrings are, or where our low back, how it's feeling today. So before we do that, we're going to hook the thumbs together. Inhale, raise your arms high to the sky, maybe just a little bit of an opening up through the chest and then a lengthening up out and over. Slight bend in those knees is great here. Inhale, reach up and then exhale, lengthen up out and over. Let's do that one more time. And then we'll yield into this forward fold. And again, you're welcome to bend your knees a little and just let your head hang. Or you can move your legs towards straight. Let your palms open. We're going to breathe here for a few moments. And in the interest of honesty, can you really make adjustments as you need to? And that willingness to pull back from a shape where the breath is not flowing freely. A great indicator of if I'm not telling the truth is when I don't feel that freedom, when I don't feel that opening, that expansion. This is a yin class, so you're welcome to relax your toes, relax your ankles, and just really drop into the bones here. And feel the breath hugging you from inside. And if at any point you need to rise up away from the legs, kind of reorient yourself and then move back in, that's perfectly fine. You want to find what's true, what's right. Relax the eyes, relax the jaw. Final few seconds here. Inhale, slowly rise. Reach up, lengthen up out of the hips a bit, and then let your arms float down. Very good. We're going to make our way now into a reclined butterfly. So you're welcome to use your blanket for this. You also want to grab your bolster. Now if you don't have a bolster, you can use a pillow or you could just do this on your mat. So whatever you have to get comfortable in your butterfly, go ahead and set that up. And we're just going to turn and bring the soles of our feet together. Just allow the lower back to be supported by the bolster if you're using a bolster, and then the blanket just under the head. And we're just going to drop into this shape. And as you come into this butterfly shape, just take a moment to really feel into the space of the heart, in the space of the throat.

And breathe into the lightness of your throat. And just take a moment to consider the safety or the stability that's required for us to really be honest. It's difficult to be honest if we do not feel supported or safe. And so just allow this asana to remind you that you are supported. And if having your knees wide just doesn't feel as supportive as you need, just feel free to bring your knees up. Let the soles of your feet rest on the floor. Allow the breath to rise and fall and just feel that connection from the feet all the way up to the crown of your head. From that place of stability, of support, we can move up into the heart where courage lives. If there's any area of tension around the middle back that you'd like to release and let go. Any tension in the head and neck you might release and let go. And final few seconds here. All together let's take a nice breath in and exhale everything. In your own time bring the soles of your feet to the mat. Let's turn our feet in. Let the knees rest together. And then we'll gently bring the hands down just pushing up and away from the bolster.

And we'll prepare for sleeping swan. So I'm going to go ahead and use my bolster for this shape. You're welcome to do that. We're going to come to hands and knees and just bring that right leg forward and let the left leg stretch back. And I love this shape because it keeps me honest with where my hips are. And so if you need the blanket underneath your right hip, please take the time to get the blanket. And then we're just going to drape over the top of the bolster. Okay. Thank you very much. Nice and slow. Begin to ease out of the shape.

We're going to place our hands at the top of the mat and move into a downward facing dog. Just take your time here really stretching out, lengthening through the spine. Maybe move your hips a little side to side. And then we'll rest down in just a brief extended child's pose. Nice, slowly come on up.

I'm going to move to the other side. We'll take that left leg through. We'll take that right leg back, extended, and then just drape over the bolster if you're using a bolster. And just allow yourself to really land here. If you find that you need support under that left hip, take the time to get that support now.

I always believe that practicing honesty starts with the simple things like grabbing a blanket or a block if I need it. Just allow for the breath to meet that hip. Connecting maybe with the element of water in the shape. Just think about the water in the form of a river that's flowing freely. Just really connect with that sense of freedom through water.

Final few seconds here. We'll bring our hands under the shoulders, push away. And we'll make our way back into our downward facing dog. Again, a little movement can feel nice, lengthening through the spine, and then resting down in extended child's pose. Allow your inhale to bring you up slowly.

We're going to shift over onto the right hip, and just for a brief twist before we close out our practice. So I'm bringing that bolster in toward my right hip, and I'm just going to start to encourage a twist through the belly. And so as I find my way over, I have to decide where I'm going to look. Am I going to turn my head or I'm going to look toward the left? And so for today, I think I'll look toward the left.

If you would like to, you can look to the right. That's going to be more of a stretch for your neck. And just come over the bolster. We'll be here for about one minute. And you're welcome to stretch the right arm a little longer.

Good. And then slowly bringing those hands once more under the shoulders, push away from the bolster. Inhale, reach your left arm up and over, maybe catch hold of that left ankle, and then allow that right arm to reach up and over. And then we'll drape over the top of the bolster, maybe letting that left leg extend. Good.

And then we'll come up and move to the other side. So just positioning that left hip toward the bolster. And then we have to see, like, where is my tummy willing to rotate here? And so you just kind of do a little movement in and out and begin to twist from the belly and then decide if you want your right ear to come down or your left ear. It's really going to depend on the neck.

We'll breathe here for about a minute. And again, you're welcome to extend that left arm. And then slowly bring the hands under the shoulders, push away. Inhale, we're going to reach that right arm all the way up and over, maybe catch that right ankle, and then let your left arm reach up and over. And drape over the top, allowing that right leg to extend.

And then we'll use that right arm to help us up. And we'll make our way into Shavasana. So I think for today, I'm going to use a bolster under my head, or excuse me, a bolster under my knees and a blanket under my head. So just get comfortable. Make sure that you feel supported.

And we'll land here for a moment. And as you rest here, consider ways in which honesty has shown up for you lately. Anytime we choose to be honest, it usually requires change, and change can be challenging. But as we practice, as we practice humility, as we practice courage, then truth, honesty is born from that looking, from that willingness to be humble, that willingness to also be courageous. And in that humility, there's freedom.

In that courage, there is freedom. Last few seconds here. Slowly deepen the breath. Bring some movement into your body. Maybe bend the knees, give a little side to side rock.

And then we'll make our way up to a comfy seated position. Namaste, everyone.


Jenny S
5 people like this.
I love this idea of exploring honesty by keeping things real in the poses. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate the use of props to bring ease and joy into my practice, rather than trying to force my way into shapes that honestly do not feel great. I also really appreciate your gentle demeanor…it is so welcome especially during this often stressful time of year ❤️🙏🏻✨
Nadine R
2 people like this.
Wonderful class!
Nancy T
2 people like this.
You hit home for me to be more honest in my yoga by not forcing something to happen but just being in the pose as I feel it happen as it needs to.  Thank you for helping me find my self-honesty.  Self translates to my life with others.  
Angel B
Nadine R thank you! : )
Angel B
Nancy T Love it!! You are welcome, friend.
Angel B
1 person likes this.
Jenny S thank you for sharing! Isn't it a relief to know we really don't have to sacrifice our body for the glory of the asana!?  It reminds me of when I realized my feet were no longer willing to be forced into a stiletto. 

Jenny S
2 people like this.
Angel that's so funny!  I'm a bit tall and I'm married to "my little Italian guy" so I haven't worn heels in 34 years...recently I was shoe shopping and tried on a pair of stilettos just for "fun" and OMGodess!  Those things are lethal! 😂. Here's to comfort!
David G-
3 people like this.
Sometimes with my yoga practice, the teacher’s theme is exactly what I needed to move or be still with. Courage and humility linked together is a psychological yoking that produces a more honest life. Beautiful! 

This practice calmed me, but made my dog hyperactive with her squeaky toy, which she dumped on my chest during Savasana. She was being honest . Thank you for coming on a YogaAnytime. A yin-gift. Loved that Rumi quotation too.  🙏🏻 
Angel B
1 person likes this.
David G- Amazing! Aren't our furry babies the best! I can just see your pup with her squeaky toy. What a sweet visual!  I'm so happy to know the practice was calming for you. : ) Angel
Rosanna S
1 person likes this.
I did this practice the other day. It was so profound I had to come back here to say thank you! I don't think I understood what honesty was or what it felt like in the body. I realized in this practice that when Erich Schiffman says to be brave enough to do what you're prompted to do, when he's talking what intuition, it's really about an honesty. I was given advice to slow down, honor my spirit, and observe this holiday season. This class was so perfect for that. I've been ignoring what I really want and need and have needed up burnt out and with back pain. Honesty (along with devotion and your other themes) is starting me back on the long path to recovery. Honesty is the path to freedom. Ahhhh! Thank you!
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