Yin Yoga and Mythology Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 4

Akhilandeshwari

30 min - Practice
53 likes

Description

The friction and grit we find in the dark times of our lives help us grow and transform. In this creative hip focused sequence we work our way towards Frog pose while hearing about the goddess Akhilandeshwari, who's name means "Never Not Broken". You will feel vast, courageous, and open to magic and possibility.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Welcome to our practice together. Today we're going to get right into it and you can come right down onto your front. We're going to start in crocodile pose. So for crocodile pose your legs are behind you, just streaming back straight behind your hips and the toes are turned out so that the inner edges of your feet meet the ground. And then for this pose you also fold your arms so that they're horizontal in front of you, stacking one palm on top of the other. It doesn't matter which one, you can choose. We're gonna do it twice so we'll alternate. So you choose which palm is on top, relax your legs like they're just two great rivers streaming back behind you and then your head is going to come down to touch your hands, your forehead leaning on the back of your top hand. So take as long as you need to to get into the pose and then once you find a spot that feels just right, like your Goldilocks spot, let your body soften and get heavier. Trying to find the most natural organic place for your bones to land in this shape. We'll just ride the river of our breath for a few moments here. So there's a goddess, one of my favorite goddesses, who rides a crocodile through the rivers of life and her name is Akhilandeshwari. And Akhilandeshwari, it means never not broken. Such a cool name, isn't it? She who is never not broken. So let me tell you a little bit about her and why she's called that. So Akhilandeshwari was the local goddess of a small temple in a village in India and the villagers, they thought that she was really scary. They said she's angry and she's wild and she's unpredictable. They couldn't handle it and so all the villagers got together and they asked Shiva if he would help. Shiva is her beloved. She is a manifestation of Parvati, Shiva's counterpart. And so Shiva decided that he was going to give her a pair of earrings and the earrings on the inside of the earrings was a depiction of the Sri Yantra, which is a series of interlocking triangles. So we're gonna go ahead and come on up and take our next shape, which is a half frog in a sphinx. So we're not moving that much, just coming up onto the elbows, forearms, palms on the earth and then the right knee is gonna slide up to the outside of your hip and I still have the inside edge of my right foot on the ground. The toes are pointing out to the right and then once you arrive here, gently settling in one more time, loosening muscle from bone and allowing your body to drape and be soft. You can think about your muscles like silk or cashmere just softly draping over your bones. Look around for anywhere in your body that's clenched or gripping or coiled up and see if you can just invite any sense anywhere, any place that might be willing to uncoil, to unravel, allow it to happen. So Shiva gives Akhilanda Shwari these earrings to wear and they have these triangles inside and the idea is that all her wild energy can get channeled into those triangles. It can bounce around inside of that triangle forever to infinity and she puts them on and she's like, all right, I guess I'll wear your earrings for a minute but then every night she takes them off. That's the deal. She'll only wear the earrings during the day but at night she's not giving over her power. At night she's free, she's wild, she's unbridled, she's unpredictable. In the darkness she remembers who she is and so Akhilanda Shwari never not broken. The images of her, if you see a depiction of her, they often show her looking like a puzzle with all of the pieces in the right place but not quite completely together. There's space between all of her pieces. Just do another check-in, scan your body, look for anywhere that's gripping, that's tightening, that doesn't need to be anywhere at all, that there's a possibility of softening and as you breathe in you could pour the breath into whatever feels tight or constricted and as you breathe out invite one more layer of letting go here. Allow your pieces to come apart. Imagine your bones separating, moving away from each other so that there could be oceans of space between all of your bones.

Noticing any sensation in your low back. We want sensation here, right? We don't want this to be like restorative yoga where we're only going for support and not sensation but you don't want that sensation to be so much that this is unsustainable, right? So finding that happy meeting place where there's sensation but there's also ease, where there might be some discomfort but there can also be softening. We'll take one more deep breath here, breathing in and all the way out and then to release this pose it's a little bit of a funny transition so I'm just watching for a moment. I'm bringing my hands back underneath the shoulders and as I press up I'm pressing up onto my left shin and knee and my right foot so that I end up with one knee like it would be in a simple hands and knees and the other leg out to the side, knee pointing to the right and up towards the ceiling and then any movement that wants to happen here you could circle your hips around you could take any kind of cat-cow motion of your spine up and down or round and round truly anything that helps you feel a little more clear a little more free in your body. We're gonna go on to the next shape in a moment it's gonna be a child's pose in this funny asymmetrical position. It's one place here you might want a block if it feels like the floor is far away and I'll tell you where that could go so we're gonna settle back left hip towards left heel and the right sitting bone is just kind of floating and here's where you might put a block or something underneath you to sit on if you feel like it's too far away to get to the floor that's no problem and you can also play with the position of this right foot you know you could move it a little bit further back that tends to give more sensation in the hip you could move it a little further in so it's not turned out so much that might give a little less sensation so you can really modulate and make this fit you just right and then as far as how far you fold that as well is up to you you can always put some support like a bolster underneath you if you like you can come down to your elbows and let your head hang or you can walk your arms all the way out and let your head hang. I'm gonna stay on my elbows here so Akhilanda Shuri, she who is never not broken and her power is in her brokenness her power is in this idea that she's just a bunch of puzzle pieces that aren't fixed together so that she can rearrange them however she wants she's in a constant state of transformation constantly recreating herself in every moment and she rides this crocodile through the rivers crocodiles are really smart they're actually very they notice a lot crocodiles they're very perceptive animals and so say for example every day you walk from your house to the river and you take the same path every day down to the river to fetch water well the crocodile is gonna notice that the crocodiles gonna remember ah this person comes to fetch water at this time on this path and one day he might be ready for you chomp you right up great and so the crocodile that she rides it tells us to shake things up so we'll shake it up now and start to climb up out of this pose we're gonna keep the legs pretty much the same just coming up higher with the hips now if you need to adjust anything please do if you need to take a break in between please do the next pose is a gate pose an asymmetrical pose again where my right elbow forearm is coming to the thigh and my left arm is gonna wrap behind my back you might find your right thigh with your left hand but you definitely don't have to you can just let the back of your arm and hand rest in whatever place feels most natural here and then the final addition here is that the head drops letting my right ear fall towards my right shoulder so that I get sensation stretch the left side of the neck up into the left shoulder and then just re-relaxing one more time bringing some attention to your hands could there be more softness in your hands how about your face if there's any tension in your face to let that soften and melt giving just enough effort here to hold yourself up to stay in the shape but no more than necessary as much as possible letting it be easy and soft you could release your jaw here even let your lower jaw unhinge a little bit so that you feel it slide down and to the right just a little bit so Akhilandeshwari and her crocodile reminding us that it's okay to fall apart it's welcomed and sometimes it's actually where the power is and reminding us to not take the same well-trodden path every single time in yoga we talk about some scars they're sort of like deep grooves in in a record you know these patterns that repeat in our life you can go ahead and release now and wrap your arm with the head come up really slowly a lot of very sensitive tender tissues around the neck and head so when you come up be extra careful and then we're gonna come back to the crocodile in a moment but before we do that you can come out to hands and knees and just move things around or move in any way you can change your shape you can do anything that feels good for a moment to release all of those poses big hip open our poses on that side before we come into crocodile one more time so lying down when you're ready legs behind you toes turned out as you arrange your arms you can put the other palm on top this time and then let your forehead meet the back of your top hand and when it does take a breath into every bone every joint every nook and cranny of your body and let everything soften and drape spaces between the bones here let your bones move apart so that there's spaces for your breath to move it can slide between your bones washing all the dust off I love the idea in this story too that the goddess remembers who she is in the darkness sometimes it takes in the darkness of night right the dark night of the soul for us to really dig in and find our power and our strength and remember who we are when it's all easy all the time you don't have to work that hard do you right when life is all rainbows and sunshine there's not a lot of impetus to grow and change and transform right that stuff happens with friction it's that stuff happens when when there's grit right and so I think that nighttime when she comes alive at nighttime is symbolic of that friction and grit that helps us change you can start to bring your forearms to the floor now palms nice and heavy and soft on the ground sphinx pose with the left knee bending up to the outside of the hip the inner left foot on the ground my right foot's pointing back now top of the foot on the ground finding a shape that suits you finding a place that feels really easy and soft and organic and I'm living here a bit and so that story of Akhilandashwari is really reminiscent of another story coming from the Kabbalah tradition it's a story about the beginning of creation and there were ten vessels these ten vessels were designed to hold divine light but when they poured the light into these vessels the light was so powerful that it shattered all the vessels and the pieces went everywhere and many of the pieces shards of these vessels fell to earth they fell to earth and the story is that they're still here they're all over and so at any moment we can bend down and pick up one of these shards of light and hold it up and build again so it's so beautiful this idea of power in the brokenness check in check in with your body look for any gripping tension or holding on so letting things unbraid untangle inside you knots loosening imagining all the waters of you all the fluid the blood sweat and tears all moving in the direction of the ground all softening downward and then we'll climb up palms walking back underneath your shoulders here you can start to press your torso up so we're gonna be on the right shin right knee and the left foot here the left knee bent over up to the side and doing a little bit of rinse off just moving whatever parts of you have a longing to move listening to the urges that come from deep inside your body body what do you crave right now body what movement would make you feel good what do you long for and it could look like anything there's no wrong answers here eventually this is going to turn into this asymmetrical child's pose that we're doing so I'm sitting back right hip towards right heel deciding whether or not this left leg is in the right spot for you you could inch it forward back or anywhere really you know I just made this pose up so it's not like there's any specific alignment details and then we'll fold folding with a soft upper back a heavy head any props that you might want to have under your seat or under your torso or arms so that this is doable for you because that's the most important thing is that you can really have some time here to loosen right we spend so much of our life trying to hold it together don't we trying to keep all the puzzle pieces in order stuck together but there's definitely a time for letting it come apart and there's definitely great great power and transformation growth that can come from letting things fall apart let the next breath out the extra long follow it all the way to the end and then climb your hands back a little closer to your legs so that you can pick up your chest come up to standing on your right shin and knee arrange your left leg so it feels like it's in a good place usually in line with the hip feels nice foot underneath the knee and bring left elbow and forearm to the thigh right arm wraps behind the back and either it just hangs out there in a soft place that feels easy or you slide it towards your inner left thigh and catch hold let your hands soften and your belly be soft enough that the breath can move your belly and coming back to that idea that vision of things falling apart letting your head fall left ear to left shoulder letting your arm bones release out of your shoulder sockets even your fingers especially on your left hand could you imagine the little joints in your fingers opening all the tiny little bones moving away from each other so there can be oceans of space in your hands I think often we're so afraid of falling apart so afraid of not having it all together and figured out that it could be paralyzing and so it's really good to remember the beauty the beauty in the falling apart for example in Japan they have gold repair right kintsugi or when something like a teacup cracks they repair it with gold and it becomes even more beautiful becomes a work of art so our cracks they can be filled with gold are falling apart as like shards of light that we drop everywhere and we get to pick up hold them up and begin again so remember neck here we're gonna come out really slowly with the neck take your time move like a sloth as you come out of this shape real slow motion taking any amount of time that fits you to wash that one off you can come to all fours shake your spine around a little bit so we've been doing all this external hip rotation here so that we can make our way into a frog pose and so we'll start small we'll start big toes together knees are gonna open a little wider than a mat distance if you need them more narrow that's fine too and this might be where you stay where you land and where you stay for the whole time you can bring your elbows to the ground or onto blocks or some other support and then you can let your head hang so that might be a wonderful spot if you feel it you're doing it really and yin yoga if you feel it good if it feels like too much back up it doesn't feel like enough we add on always looking for that Goldilocks spot so I'm gonna add on I'm gonna turn my toes out like we did in the crocodile in the beginning and you can have your knees open as wide as you like as wide as it serves you and feet can be underneath your knees or they can be closer together you can really play with tiny little movements if I move a little this way a little that way how does it change what serves me best you can stay on your elbows or you can come further down and lay on your chest and forehead and you can also play with where your pelvis is in relationship to your knees what if I shift a little forward what if I shift a little back so just trying on lots of different shapes until you find the one that's yours one of my teachers always says it could take you the whole time just to get into the pose if it takes five minutes to get into it that's fine that's welcomed and so frog pose I know it's a big one right it's really like you're being pulled apart at the seams here we go here's your puzzle pieces coming undone and can we hold our center can we maintain our grace our composure when things are coming apart for me this pose is also about how willing am I to live with discomfort you know not like torturous discomfort but it's gonna happen right there's gonna be times in our life when we're a little uncomfortable and I think it's really powerful work that's why I love yin yoga so much right that we work with that can I live here can I be spacious fast enough that there's room for both discomfort and joy and ease can they live together can I not run away but that's enough we can run away now back to center walking hands in carefully again bringing yourself towards a child's pose if you need anything else on the way honor that need that longing but we'll finish with a child's pose here that's a little more narrow you can bring your legs all the way together if you like and have your arms streaming back behind you at your head on the ground might feel nice after everything being pulled apart to kind of harness back towards center or you could take a little space in between your knees and have either your elbows on the floor head hanging or arm stretched and head dropped you can even visualize here your brain softening and falling towards your forehead that even the folds of your brain could be a little bit looser untie a knot a little bit as if it's going from a tightly closed fist to a soft open palm they loosening the pieces to come up walk your hands back roll up through your spine feel the moment that you come up arriving at the top and then we'll rest so you can take your legs out in front of you and rest on your back or any other way that's comfortable sometimes it's nice to rest on your side or on your front as you settle in and rest here it's one more opportunity to fall apart to breathe in between your bones to make space breathing room for your skeleton imagine your muscles loosening off the bones that there might even be a little space between your muscles and your bones where the breath can move the same thing with your muscles in your skin your skin could loosen off the muscle and there could be space between your muscles and your skin for the breath to move and bringing attention to your heart to your center chest and imagining or feeling the braids of your heart unraveling a bit softening and spreading out as if your heart could become a great wide lake spreading out to the sides and back of your chest let your body rest you notice your breath notice it coming in the texture the temperature invited in to your limbs and to your fingers and toes and let the breath inspire any movement that wants to happen to help call you back any wiggles any stretches any shakes or rocks and as you come back to kind of pull yourself together again maybe you don't pull all the way together maybe as you come back you can still keep a sense of looseness about your form of space between your bones space in the mind space in the heart and as you come up bringing your hands to wherever they feel comfortable on your body your thighs your chest and belly you're together at your heart imagining your whole body is a million shards of light that you can change you can arrange you can recreate the shape however you like building yourself new again whenever you need to thank you for joining me

Comments

Lina S
3 people like this.
Nice hip openers. It feels good to try new or uncommon hip stretches. I appreciate being told a story during the practice: a mind-body experience.
Kelly K
1 person likes this.
Lina S Thanks so much - really glad you enjoyed it!
Sandra Židan
Thanks, Kelly, for this beautiful and profound practice! It wasn't easy to do all those poses but it was a great experience to do something new! Namaste! ❤️
Nadine R
2 people like this.
This class is just what I needed today!
Kelly K
1 person likes this.
Sandra Židan Thanks Sandra! 
Kelly K
Nadine R so happy to hear it!! xx
Matthew
2 people like this.
thanks for this. will ponder some more on 'never not broken'. 🐊 🙏
Martha K
2 people like this.
I love the image of falling apart to find space. 
Kate M
2 people like this.
Such a beautiful invitation to go deep deep ... I thought of that line from Leonard Cohen about being broken - "that's how the light gets in". A very profound experience, acknowledging our brokenness and finding the light within that... thank you so much Kelly K : )
Kelly K
1 person likes this.
Kate M aw thanks so much Kate!! xoxoxoxo
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