Yoga and Faith Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4


30 min - Practice


Forgiveness becomes possible when we recognize our shared humanity. Angel leads us through a practice to release held tension in the quads, hamstrings, and iliopsoas, and to cultivate the gentleness and kindness that leads to forgiveness. You will feel liberated, centered, and hopeful.
What You'll Need: Square Bolster, Blanket

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Hi everyone, welcome to forgiveness. So forgiveness really begins with the willingness to face our grievances in the body where they're first stored. Unforgiveness toward myself or other people it sort of lingers in the tissues of our body. Held resentments can be found in the body. And so yoga is the perfect opportunity for us to come in and really drop down into some of those difficult emotions. So today in our yin class we're going to sort of come close to the earth. We're going to work with feelings maybe of anger or fear, guilt, even some shame around these difficult emotions because forgiveness really does free us up. Another thing that forgiveness does is it reminds us that we aren't separate. When I can come in and meet my own grievances and bring presence to my body, to my mind, then I can soften. And in that softening I can meet you. And in meeting you there's usually this recognition that, ah, we share, we share our being. We really share something very sentiment. And that's really where forgiveness I think is born. So I'm so happy to be with you today. We're going to start in a super comfortable pose. Hips on a bolster. So I've got a bolster here and just going to pop right up on there and lean back. Takes a little bit of trust when we first get up here. So we're just going to kind of catch hold of the edge of the bolster and then we'll just come back and just pop the hips up on the bolster. You can let your palms open here and then just let your legs extend and let's knit the feet together, knit the knees together, knit the inner thighs together. Always remember that forgiveness also starts with humility. To be humble is to be close to the earth. And so as we're here, can you just ever so slightly start to circle your legs? It's dropping into the breath as you move and then reverse. So the question, am I willing to change my perspective and then let the legs part a little and just let them hang out in space and feel a sense of dropping down. Dropping down into that space where it's okay not to know. Just a few more breaths here. You might feel the breath land in the lower belly and the hips as we prepare to move there. And then like snails pace, start to bend your knees and just feel gravity as we begin to descend those legs down. Eventually finding the earth and feeling that sense of support and once again dropping through the hips. It's beautiful to live from the heart, but it's so important for us to acknowledge our humanness in the spaces in which we hold difficult emotions. So bring your attention to the front of your hips just for the final seconds here. One of the favorite places that we like to hold fear is in the psoas. So we'll begin looking into that area first. Awesome. Gently walk your feet in, come up high onto your toes, lift your hips, let's remove that bolster and then very gently let your hips land. Let's take a moment, maybe shimmy forward and back. Let's kind of let that energy sift through the whole body. Inhale, let's draw the knees in toward the chest, knees wide, give a little wobble from side to side. And if it's not too much trouble, catch the feet and let's come into happy baby here. Let's feel the breath down again into the lower belly and then gently release the feet. Let's take a moment to feel into your body and see where you are here. Now we're going to make our way into supine tree pose. So let your left leg extend and then just drop your right foot to the inner line of your left thigh and just let the weight of gravity pull the knee down. If you need a little support under that right knee, please take a blanket. We're going to be here for about one minute, just kind of breathing into this inner line of the right hip. Just allow yourself to settle in. Once again, we're moving into the lower region of the body to discover what we are holding here in this inner hip. This tree pose will prepare us for that deeper looking. Just a few more seconds here, just letting that leg get heavy, relaxing through the glute. Good. Now right here we're going to inhale, draw that left knee inward and then you're going to reach down with your left hand, catch hold of your right foot and then draw a line down the left hamstring toward the left sits bone and allow that knee to open. So this is going to bring us into a much deeper sensation.

And so as we hold this here, you're welcome to interlace your hands around your left knee or you can place that left foot down on the floor. Sometimes that's plenty. So you're feeling, you're really feeling that opening in the front of your, your hip. And then we'll hold here and breathe. And as you drop in here, see if you can relax down into that hip socket and letting the muscles rest. Maybe even deepen your breath. Final few seconds. Let's take one more good breath in. Exhale completely empty. Nice. If you're holding onto that left knee, go ahead and let that foot drop down. As you begin to inhale, draw that right knee around and circle and then hug the knee in toward your chest. Let's give it a good squeeze toward the belly and then gently release and pause here and just feel what you feel. So the right side is said to be the masculine side. It's that outward moving energy. And so as we release that right side, sometimes I think of it as like letting go of the doing and letting go of the control. So just see how you feel on that right side. And then we'll take the second side extending through now the right leg and just letting that left knee drop out to the side, bringing the foot to the inner right thigh. It's perfectly normal for one side to be different than the other. So as we come into this left side, this more internal feminine space, you could say, of the hip flexor, we're really working with just acknowledging whatever comes up, whatever sensations arise, whatever emotions may arise, creating space for them and seeing them with just a loving, a loving kind awareness. So important in forgiveness. It's very difficult to forgive when there's no space, when there's no room. Breathe here for a bit longer. You're welcome to let your eyes close and really go in to that inner left hip. My teacher says the left side is where we find our relationship to ourself. Nicely done. And slowly we're going to draw that right knee in. Reach down now with your right hand, catch hold of your left foot and just as best you can be mindful of your knee, but we're going to slide the heel down toward that right sits bone just as close as we can get it. And then let the knee fall open. And then again, you have to sort of test drive this and see what works. Do you want to keep the foot on the floor? Or do you, would you rather catch the knee in toward the chest? So for me, I like to catch with one hand on this side because the left hip is a bit tighter. So dropping in your way. We'll breathe here for just a few moments. Just continue to tether your attention to this, this notion of forgiveness. If you can, if the body starts to yield, feel free to move deeper in.

And often in working with one side and the other, we may notice that one side tends to hold on a little longer. Maybe it's less willing to let go in a short amount of time. And that's perfectly fine. It's just something to really be aware of. Okay, final few seconds here. Gently releasing. If you're holding onto that right knee, let the foot find the floor and then we'll draw that left knee around half circle and then hug the knee in toward the chest. Give it some really good love there, just dropping the thigh toward the belly. And then we'll release out of that, letting both feet find the floor, palms open and then feel down into your hips and legs. See the moment that we drop down and in, then it's like, ah, you know, we can sigh, we can take a breath, gently make your way over onto your side. We're going to do a little bit of movement now. So take your time, make your way up to the top of your mat. You're welcome here to have blankets under your, a blanket under your knees or even blocks under your hands to bring the floor a little bit closer. We're going to begin in hands and knees and just begin to feel into your hips. Let's take an inhale, raise the tailbone up and begin to just naturally let the belly drop as you stretch your gaze upward, moving slowly. We'll do a couple more after this one, just rounding through the spine. And then inhale, initiating that movement from the tailbone, letting the belly drop, looking up. And then exhale, round. One more like that. Inhale. Exhale. Good. Inhale to neutral. Now we're going to step the right foot forward. So this is again where the blocks may come in handy. If you need them, please grab them. Take the time. We're going to do a little movement back. So it's just kind of have to check in and see where those hamstrings are as we move back and then forward. And so you're looking for that release in the hamstrings and then also in the front of that left thigh. At some point, you're going to be ready to yield down into the lunge. And again, this is taking us in to that hip. You're welcome to stay high here, just resting your hands on your knee or you can drop low. Just allow your breath to be with you here. And as time goes by, if you're up higher, you may want to lower. Maybe you feel like the body's yielded enough for you to drop in just a little bit more. Feel free to do that. So it said that sometimes anger can be felt in the quads. I don't know if that's your experience, but I know if I stay in a lunge too long, I do start to get a little irritated. Just allow whatever comes up to be. Just a few more seconds here. And nice and slow, just begin to ease out, crossing over that threshold, maybe walking your hands back now and flexing through the foot. A little bit of a length come into the spine and then slowly bring the hands forward. We'll sweep that right leg back and transition to the other side.

Step that left foot forward. We're going to move in and out. So maybe this is an inhale here and an exhale coming forward. Inhale and we dive in. All right, we're going to ease into the shape. Again, you're welcome to stay low or come up onto that left knee and breathing here for a couple of minutes. Remember, this is your yoga so you can always change it. You can always come out of a shape. And I suppose one of the things I love about yoga is that really the body doesn't lie. And so when we come into the body and especially like a lunge, it really brings up what's there. It gives us this beautiful opportunity to say yes to what is. And I believe all the good fruits of the Spirit come from just that willingness to meet ourselves. So really being present here and honoring what your body needs. Meeting it exactly where it is. Final few seconds here and then slowly inhale back. You might walk your hands back and we'll flex through that front foot.

Maybe folding in a little toward the knee. All right, inhale, come out of that. Let's go ahead and tuck that right, the right toes under. Sweep the left leg back. Take a downward facing dog here. And just allow the heels to sink toward the earth. And then we're going to slowly bring our knees to the mat and come into a supported child's pose. So I invite you to grab a pillow or a bolster and just bring the bolster here. I'm going to just drop our gaze over to one side and just allow yourself to really land. Breathing down into the hips and legs. You're welcome to just relax through the chest and let yourself be totally supported here.

And then gently turn your head to face the other direction. And then gently bringing hands underneath your shoulders. We'll sit the bolster off to the side and then gently make your way forward onto your tummy. We're going to come into sphinx for our last shape here before Shavasana. So take your time, bring those elbows in close to your ribs. And if you happen to have those blocks and you want to use one to rest your head on, you're welcome to do that and just allow this shape to be more passive. And so we've taken this journey down into the lower body and it's finally letting that all be surrendered.

It's really important to remember that our mind is not what actually forgives. Forgiveness is it happens more from the heart, right? And so it's this idea that when I have met the grievances in my body, when I've met those feelings, then I am free. Free to move up into the heart, into that space where we find our standing, where we find our standing in forgiveness. And let these final breaths be very intentional, feeling up the lungs, letting the breath drop down again into the lower belly. And then slowly let the elbows widen. Allow your head to rest on your hands and give your hips a little rock side to side. And then we'll bend the knees and circle. And reverse.

Tucking the toes under, let's bring the hands under the shoulders, inhale here. Next, help press all the way back, sending the bottom to the heels and stretching. And then we'll bring the hands back, turn and prepare for shavasana. So make sure that you're comfy and you can let your legs stretch out. And as you rest here, just consider what forgiveness might look like for you today.

And it's important that we start small, usually with little things. So maybe it's just a small something that you want to forgive yourself for. And when we see ourselves as the universe sees us, as God sees us, we can usually find that gentleness and that kindness that leads to forgiveness. So go. Slowly begin to deepen your breath here.

Start to move your body in any way that would feel good for you. Maybe a little sway with your knees side to side. And this final bit, just place your hands on your belly, just honoring the work that you've done today. And then we'll slowly make our way over onto our side, coming up to seated. Namaste.


Nadine R
2 people like this.
I needed this class
Angel B
1 person likes this.
Nadine R so nice to know. xo
Jenny S
2 people like this.
I hear you Nadine R…when I saw this topic I felt so grateful for this gift from you Angel. I am heading into my 7th decade and I still struggle with forgiveness over things from long ago. In this class I learned some really deep hip openers and was really surprised by how much my left hip in particular was holding onto. I will be doing this practice often for sure ❤️
Nancy T
3 people like this.
Angel’s description of forgiveness and how unforgiveness and lower emotions are held in the body helped me understand how much I hold onto from the past.  This practice was really helpful in finding those places still holding onto the past.
Angel B
1 person likes this.
Jenny S such a blessing to do this forgiveness work together. 
Angel B
1 person likes this.
Nancy T yoga teaches us so much about the wisdom and redemption awaiting us through the body.  So glad you find this class helpful! xoxo
Nancy K
1 person likes this.
Beautiful deep dive into the hips. The perfect complement to my jogging! Thank you, Angel!
Angel B
Nancy K you are most welcome, friend! xoxo
Tesa Urbonaite Dunn
Great to see you on YA, Angel!  Very relaxing practice, thank you.  I have such sweet memories of the Temple Road Yoga Community! I hope you and everyone in Ft. Worth are well!! xo
Angel B
1 person likes this.
Tesa Urbonaite Dunn Hi friend! It's so wonderful to know you found this series.  It's like a reunion! I do miss practicing with you in person and what a delight to know you're still loving Yoga Anytime.  Blessings to you, hubby and the boys in 2023! xoxo
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