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Season 1 - Episode 3

Instruments of Perception

50 min - Practice


Samyama is the practice of the yogi seeing more clearly. With Jacqui's help, Kira shares a practice that opens us to a grounded and generous quality of seeing in the body. We begin supine and finish in a short seated meditation.
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So, Jacky, thank you for being here. Fun to always be together. My pleasure. So, the yogists suggest that continually, what's creating the mischief is that we're not seeing clearly enough. The Sanskrit for this is Avidya.

Sometimes you'll see a video translated different ways. The way we like to understand it is just simply not seeing clearly which gives so much potential. So, what we're playing with today is a sequence to allow us to turn on more of the instruments of our perception. Primarily, the belly, the heart, and the mind. Now, when we've turned on these three elements of perception, we end up in the practice of seeing more clearly which the yogists refer to as samyama.

You'll see that spelled S-A-M-Y-A-M-A. But when we pronounce it, usually, that A is silent. Now, samyama, which when translated results in, usually you'll see it as perfect concentration, or perfect discipline. But it's a combination of the last three of the eight limbs which happened to be dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. Now the problem whenever you have something in the list particularly the eight limbs, is continually the illusion is it's step one, step two, step three, and so on.

And then eventually, you would get to step eight. Samadhi (laughs). But truly, or at least as we perceive more true is that step eight, samadhi, already is. And samadhi can really be felt in the belly. And one of the definitions of samadhi might be absorption, or rapture, or intimacy with all there is.

Now, dhyana, which most of us seem to feel most clearly in our heart region. Dhyana, which translates as wide open awareness, and dharana, which most of us seem to be able to feel at more in the region of the mind, and dharana being this quality of steady attention. And so today's practice which Jacky is here to help me demonstrate, thank you. Today's practice, the main point today will be to tune the region of the heart, dhyana, tune the region of the belly, samadhi. And tune a little bit towards the dharana, steady attention.

So that together we can find a more useful, how do I say this? A more holistic method of seeing. Now, one other detail on this is that when we say seeing in yoga, we don't just mean with the eyes. To see in yoga is to be able to listen, to touch, to feel, to tune. Okay, so the word seeing, to see more clearly, the point of that translation isn't to limit us to thinking, it's just when the eyes, it's a way of being.

And so after we've tuned these areas, the way we'll finish today is an acceded meditation. And what I'm hoping you might find is, once you've found these three regions, that you can find them again and again. Okay, so thank you for being here. We're happy to be together. Thank you, Jacky.

You're welcome. So what we'll do is we're gonna start supine and something we call impressing the heart. So I'm gonna ask Jacky to scoot so that she's sitting about in the middle of the mat. Okay? I'm gonna use two bricks for this.

At home you might not have two yoga blocks. You could use like a side of your couch cushion and a pillow. Just two objects to allow an impression to be made in the heart. Now, when Jacky lies down, I'm gonna be trying to find these bricks so that one is about here, and one is about here. So this one is gonna be supporting the back of her heart.

Now, with this language supporting the back of her heart, it's just, it's like it's providing a sense for the heart to be able to lie down on something. And this brick is gonna go in her occiput. So your occiput is that just right at the base of the skull, like you can kinda feel it like the bottom edge of your skull, nice. Okay, so I'm gonna do my best to set this up, but we'll see how it goes and Jacky will let me know (laughs). Let's see.

I think this one wants to go about here. And I think this one wants to go about here. How do we do? Do we get in the right spot? That's good.

Okay. You're not looking for an athletic feeling. Basically, if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. And then as Jacky starts to get a sense of how this feels, okay, with this gently supporting the heart, the purpose of this brick underneath the head is to create a little bit of what, what the yogists called jalandhara bandha, just the slightest little chin drop so her gaze is towards the heart. Now, how she has her legs will depend on how it feels on your back.

So many of you keeping the knees bent will be the most comfortable, but some of you might find it letting your legs straight and feels good. Now, I find that when I do that, I like to have my legs together and have a little bit of zing through the feet to create a little bit of a juju reach to be technical about it (laughs). Zing. And if you happened to be lucky enough to be near a wall, having the feet up against the wall can feel quite good. Jacky, what feels better for you, legs straight or knees bent?

I think knees bent. Okay. Let me try that. Okay, nice. So the play here then, big deliberate inhale, and exhale everything, nice.

The play here is to allow the back of the heart to start to feel supported. Okay, right on there, at the back of the heart right behind where the brick is sitting on Jacky sit the nerves of the sympathetic that reach around and grip the heart. And so, it's not unusual when you first start this to be sensitive to attention back there that you might not even have known was there. And so the play here is if you let the front of the heart get a little heavier, you let the throat feel a little softer. Let the jaw feel a little easier.

And the ears feel a bit more open. I love your ears. Okay? Yes. And essentially, you're letting the heart get used to a feeling of support.

Essentially, the way tension works is tension will never let go unless it perceives a greater tension. So, until the back of the heart starts to trust the support that's there, it shall remain appropriately protected and held. Okay. Nice. And so, those of you that are practicing at home with us, if at any point as we practice, if at any point as we move on or continue and you find a place that you'd rather stay longer or rest at, or you discover a different or better way of doing something than what we're doing, please, please, please, follow your inner guidance.

Follow your inner guidance. That's like, that's where all the information is, okay? How's that feeling? Does it feel like it softened a little behind there? Yeah, especially the jaw.

Nice. Okay. So now, the next request that I'm gonna make of Jacky and I'm gonna have her do it, I'm gonna show you what I'm asking her to do. I'm gonna ask her to turn that brick that's under her head to the medium setting, and it's no longer gonna be in her occiput, it's gonna be at this back bulbous part of her skull. Okay, so when you feel ready, we use your hands to turn that brick down a notch.

Okay, how's that feel? Does that feel okay? It's good. Okay. So you can still feel the opening in the heart.

What we're tuning towards now is there's this quality of vulnerability around the collar bones that starts to be opened. I mean, there's very little in the body that wants to open up the jugular. And so it's not a normal biological position of safety. And so the play here is to start to get used to the heart being open, and to start to get used to just this tender softness around the collar bones. Does that make sense what I'm saying?

Yeah. And letting the throat feel soft, and the ears open, okay? And now, most people find that the medium setting of the brick is exactly the right spot. And so most of you will leave the brick where it is. But some of you, and Jacky will demonstrate, we'll turn the brick to what we usually call the lower setting, which so that it matches the brick underneath the heart.

Okay? If when you do that, it feels like there's strain or effort in the shoulders, it's not working. Go back to the medium setting. Does that feel okay? Mm-hmm.

Good. Your hair is kind cut underneath there. Let me just fix that so you don't pull it. Wait, there, is that better? Okay.

Okay. Nice. And what you can feel, what sort of interesting here and it starts to help you get a sense of how the spine works is, even though the bricks are now matching, most likely, Jacky, you can feel the one under your heart a lot more. Yeah. Okay.

Because of the, what we know as the kyphotic curve of the spine, okay. Now from here, we're gonna get a little bit more active just to kind of tune some length and to start to tune us to the breath. So what I'm gonna ask, Jacky, you to do, if it feels okay in your back, would you please extend your legs straight, inner line of the legs together if that feels comfortable. Flex your feet, yeah, beautiful. Now, flex is one of those words that every yoga teacher thinks everybody knows what the meaning is.

So flex means, drawing the toes back towards you. Okay, will you tune your arms along your side so your palms are facing towards you? Yeah, fingers enthusiastic, beautiful. Inhale, we reach your arms up towards the sky. Beautiful.

Now, pause here, relax, like let the elbows relax a little bit. Beautiful. So the shoulder blades soften back and down. Then from here, I'm gonna ask Jacky to bend your elbows so your palms find the elbows. Yes, inhale here.

And as you exhale, stretch your arms up over the top of your head. Beautiful. Now from here, the play is to just get a little length. And so often what feels good is to stretch through one side, and stretch through the other. And she's just intentionally creating a little bit of length in between the ribs and through the sideways, she's reaching though her feet.

Now, for many of you, it's gentler on the joints, in both the shoulder and the elbow to keep the elbows bent like this and keep the clasp. So if you're working with some mischief, you might just keep this. But for some of you, you might experiment with extending your arms straight, reaching the fingertips enthusiastically, yes. And then same idea, you might stretch one side and then the other. Beautiful.

Really nice. How's that feel, is that okay? Feels so good. Yeah, yeah. It's like really like having your own sort of rack.

Every household need one (laughs). Okay, when you're ready, inhale, reach the arms back up towards the sky. Beautiful. And as you exhale, let your arms come down along your side. Nice.

Pretty. Now, we're only gonna do one of those today in this sequence, but if you wanna pause us and do a few more, please feel welcome. Otherwise now the transition out of this is always awkward. Will you please bend your knees, soles of the feet on the floor. I'm gonna ask Jacky to reach her right arm over the top of her head, and then roll off the bricks to the right, pause.

Now, it's nice to have somebody assisting you to gently pull your props out of the way, but if you might not have that, in which case you'll have to just move them out of the way and then will you roll back down onto your back. Okay, pause. Now, the play here, the joke we often say, this is the problem with jokes, you end up reusing them. But the joke is notice how good it feels to remove a giant block from the back of your heart. (laughter) How's that feel?

Good. Yeah (laughs). Sometimes what it feels is only there's this new spaciousness that you never knew was available. Does that make sense? It's like there's this openness.

Sometimes you don't know how tight a relationship is until it's over (laughs). Okay, so a few more moments, let that open. Nice. And the play here, what we're trying to tune is a memory of spaciousness. Okay, like so, there's a memory of the opening of the heart and there's a memory of the opening in the back of the heart.

We're just designed, we're designed to remember the bomber. It takes a little bit more effort to remember the awesomeness. Okay, a few more moments. Nice job. Okay.

Beautiful. Okay. So now we've tuned a little bit towards the area of dhyana. Again, this wide open awareness. This next part of the sequence, we're gonna be tuning more to open up this area of where we're tuning to feel samadhi.

We're gonna start with an easy gentle hip opener. Okay, and then we're gonna go into a mapping of the pelvic floor. So, Jacky, do you feel ready to move on? Okay. So what I'm gonna ask you to do please is bring your right ankle up on top of your left thigh, okay.

Now, you're gonna keep the left foot on the floor, okay? Or whatever left is for you at home. You keep this foot on the floor. And gently we're just gonna get to know the hip joint a little bit. So I'm gonna ask Jacky to inhale, bring your right hip and knees slightly in towards you.

And as you exhale, let your right hip and knee move away. Nice. And just inhale. Let your right hip and knee move towards you. And as you exhale, let your right hip and knee away.

We'll do about three more like that. Sometimes keeping this foot a little flexed can help. And we're just sort of letting the hip joint know that we're coming in. I think that's maybe four? Mm-hmm.

Yeah? Nice. Now, as you come to your last one, and in our case, it's our fifth one. As that right hip and knee moves away, the request is keep the knee moving away. And if this feels deep enough today, just stay right here.

But if it feels okay to deepen it, then youâ??ll let the left side draw in towards your chest. You'll wobble a little bit. This will usually increase the feeling back in the back of the right hip. And for some of you, this might be perfect. For Jacky, probably, it would feel good to find her hands around the back of the left thigh, nice.

The thing you're always tuning is, what's now happened in your shoulders? Can your shoulders still say relax? How's your jaw? (mumbles) How's your face? Nice.

And if some of you might want even, some people like to bring their hands around the top of the chin, do you like to do that? It seems like it might be. Sometimes for a second? Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

Generally in yoga, how we're doing something is making a deeper impression than what we're doing. Okay, so if you're rushing something or forcing something, then all you're getting better at is force. Okay, just a few more moments here. Just kind of wobble, feel into it, little hot there in the eyes. Nice, pretty.

Okay. Then eventually, Jacky's gonna let her left foot come back down to the floor. She's gonna let her right leg come up to the sky. She's gonna shake it out a little bit. Bend the right knee, place the right foot back down on the floor, and then just pause.

And like take a moment to notice how sweet it is in that right hip. Yeah. The temptation continually is to hurry up and do the other side. Like unless we pause and really get to know how good it feels in there, it's gonna be hard to wanna hang out. Nice.

Okay, other side, left ankle up on top of right thigh. So same idea, just keep the right foot on the floor and just get to know the hip a little bit. So, inhale, hip and knee towards you. Exhale, hip and knee away. Inhale, hip and knee towards you.

Exhale, hip and knee away. Carrie, is it okay to just have the hands here? That's a good question. I find it so comforting to have my hands on me. How does it feel to you?

Oh, I like it, I just do. Yeah. I think it creates a nice sense of safety. Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Thanks for asking. Is that four or five? Maybe just do one more for good luck. Okay, there, keep that left hip moving away. Now again, if this side might be different, so if this feels like enough stretch, please just stay right here breathing into where you feel it.

If it's of useful to feel more, let the right thigh draw in towards you. And you may not need to add the action of your hands. This might be enough. Okay, if it would feel good, you can find your hands around the back of that right thigh, pretty. And then again, this is a relationship you're in.

So, how are your knuckles? Are they gripped and white? Soften wrist, elbows, shoulders. Pretty. Soft, open in the ears, soften the throat, gorgeous.

And usually, we're here with you, but it's just common across yoga teachers everywhere on the planet to teach the second side shorter, so I'm gonna do my best. But what happens is you just sort of get in this mood of, ah, we've done this, haven't we? So we'll do our best but you'll probably notice if we don't hold it quite as long and we'll do it a little longer. Can you feel that in the back of that left hip? Yes, yes, you wanna let go.

Yeah. Isn't it amazing how you always feel it? One of the things you can get over quickly if you're newer to yoga is don't imagine that you ever won't feel it (laughs). You'll be tight the rest of your life (laughs). How long have you been doing yoga?

26 years. 26 years. Still tight, huh? I'm not doing that. Yeah (laughs).

Still tight, isn't it? Amazing. Okay (laughs). Let the right foot come back down to the earth. Okay, let the left foot come up to the sky.

Shake her out a little bit. And then let just the left knee bend. Let the sole of the foot come down to the floor. Okay, beautiful. Big deliberate inhale, exhale everything.

Does that feel okay? So good. Nice. I mean really like, the best thing you can do is realize how little it takes to feel better, okay. I had thought maybe we do a little bit hip opening, but that seems, does that seem like enough let's move on to the pelvic floor?

Yeah, yeah. It's okay? Okay. Okay, let's do that. so I'm gonna ask Jacky to extend her legs straight, okay?

Now, we're moving into the mapping the pelvic floor, okay? And what this means is we're gonna bringing our awareness to the base of your torso. Okay so, Jacky, what I'd like you to do is just without doing anything with your feet, will you please just make an effort to engage the floor of the pelvis? And then let the floor of the pelvis relax. And just engage, so you're drawing the floor of the pelvis up and in, and then you're letting the floor of the pelvis relax.

Okay, so, just see if that makes, if that language makes sense. This drawing of the floor, the pelvis up and in, and then letting the floor of the pelvis relax. Okay, a few more moments, just like that. Does that make sense to you? Mm-hmm.

Okay. Okay now, let that effort relax. What we're gonna do now is we're gonna try to map a little bit more detailed into the floor of the pelvis mostly for the purpose of learning how to bring the attention lower. So what I'd like you to do, please is rotate your hips inward by turning your toes inward so you have a pigeon toe action. And with the pigeon toe action, now, please make an effort to engage in what we're gonna call for right now, the front of the pelvic floor.

Like as if you were holding in the need to urinate and then relax. And you engage and relax. And it's not an easy place to find. So usually, it's easier to find in comparison with other places. So, turn the toes out now so that you're more like duck-footed, yes.

And then bring your mind, please, to back of your pelvic floor to the region of your anus, and engage and relax. Okay so, engage the region of the anus and relax. This is easier for most of us to find. This is bigger muscles, stronger, okay? So let's try this again.

Turn your toes in again, and just see if you can find more the front of your pelvic floor, okay? More towards the front. Like, again, more like you're holding in the need to urinate a bit. And then just in comparison, relax that effort. Turn the toes out again.

Is that trying to make sense, the front and the back? So now, when your toes are turned out and you're engaging the back of the pelvic floor, this is known as ashwini mudra. It's really great for us here at Yoga Anytime, if you learn the word, ashwini mudra, so that we don't have to keep saying, engage your anus. (laughter) Okay. Okay, relax, that turn that toes and again.

(laughs) And these two, these front mudra, okay, also has a name, for women it's called sahajoli mudra. Sahajoli mudra. And for the gentlemen, it's called vajroli mudra. And the women tend to feel it kind of at the back of the cervix. if the parts are still where we imagine them to be and the gentlemen will tend to feel it more surfaced because the prostrates sits right here, Okay?

Okay now, relax, just turn the toes, flex the toes back. So now we're looking for the middle of the pelvic floor, the region of the perineum which sits between the genitals and the anus. And she's like, she's sort of kite shaped, she reaches her fingers out to the sit bones, the pubis and back to the anus and when you, the play here is as you're playing with pulling in and up on her and then relaxing, you can kind of feel like you're pulling these four corners together, does that make sense? Mm-hmm. Okay.

And this is the beginning of what the yogists usually refer to as mula bandha. And I say the beginning because you can relax the effort for a moment, I say the beginning because mula bandha ultimately according to text is a psychic contraction of the muladhara, the root chakra. Okay, but we have to start somewhere. Okay, let's just tune that again. So turn the toes out again, so just, this is a scheeney, back at the pelvic floor, okay?

Turn the toes in, front of the pelvic floor, for most of the women it's sahajoli for gentlemen it's vajoli . And then turn the toes back, flex and you're looking for the perineum. Now, temptation sometimes when we first do this is to be like (exhaling rapidly). (laughter) Be gentle on this. Yeah.

Okay, nice. Thanks. Relax. Okay, and just pause for a moment where you are at home and just see the effect of this, sometimes it can be quite relaxing, sometimes it can be quite energizing. And so, you just wanna tune in to how was that for you knowing that it will be different all the time.

Okay. Now, the main purpose in mapping the pelvic floor today was actually so that we would know how to relax the pelvic floor. So please will you bring your knees into your chest and hug your knees and wobble, okay. And then the set up for this, for most people, it's pretty comfortable to let the feet come back down to the floor so the knees are bent and the heels are in line with the sit bones. Is this okay for you?

Yeah. Would you like anything underneath your head or are you okay? No. Okay. And then I'm gonna suggest that we start at the navels.

So bring one hand down the navel and then bring the other hand right on top of that hand, if that feels okay. Is that okay on your shoulders? Yeah, it feels good. And the play here now is step one is you bring your attention to your navel, but navel is another word for belly button, if that's an obscure word, okay? And for some of you, you'll be able to feel like sometimes it's quite tense here at the navel.

You know, this is where we have this very real physiological memory of separation as well as the feeling of excitement. And so sometimes it can be little tense, little anxious, a little excited. It's not abnormal to feel some tension here. And then it will help, if you haven't quite found the navel with your awareness, it will help to add the breath, so just feeling the gentle rise of the inhale and the fall of the exhale. Yeah.

And this is the beginning of starting to tune the awareness down and in. Okay, because most of us are used to holding our awareness up in the realm of the mind. And so, this isn't so easy. The attempt of this is to start to break some of the habitual patterning of having everything be up here so, having the hands here helps, tuning to the breath here helps. And just because it looks easy doesn't mean it is.

Okay? Nice. Pretty. And so only once you've really found here, so if you haven't yet found here, just stay here, okay? But if you feel ready, step two would bring to let your hands come a little lower more towards the lower belly.

And then I like to widen the hands a little bit so my elbows are relaxed and it just gives me, allows me to cover more surface area. Now this area's a little thicker and a little harder to stay attentive to and so it really helps to feel to move another breath here. It's easy to get lost in here. It's easy to kind of start to tune here and go pachoo. And I should mention that we might lose some of you at home in this next part of the sequence.

And if you fall asleep, then probably you needed a nap. It's okay. Nice. And so the play here, just feeling the rise and the falling. The sense organ attached to these areas said to be the tongue so if you soften the jaw and you let the tongue be easy, lips fluffy and there's a watery quality to this area.

Nice. Nice. Now, the play here is you maintain your hands on your low belly and the request is to start to bring your awareness to the floor of your pelvis. And as you bring your awareness to the floor of the pelvis, what we're wondering is, is can you start to feel the breath in the floor of the pelvis or the movement of the breath? Uh-huh.

And sometimes she gets a little nervous and she'll reverse herself. But when she's harmonized with the diaphragm, it will be this sweet, on the inhale, she'll gently move away from you. And as you exhale, you'll feel her come towards you. And if this isn't feeling safe today, if this is an uncertain region for you to bring your awareness, just come back to where your hands are on your low belly or even back up to your navel. Okay, so only if it feels safe.

And then if it feels appropriate and correct, okay, with your awareness on the floor of the pelvis, the request is, how does it feel to relax here a little bit more? So starting with the region of the ashwini, let the ashwini soften. So you'll feel your sit bones relax and widen. Yes. Does it feel okay to relax the region of the perineum?

Okay, so if you remember that area between the anus and the genitals, soften. Yes. Nice. And like, how does it feel? Can you bring your awareness to the region of your genitals?

And let the region of your genitals relax. And then as it feels right, let the front mudra relax. So for you, Jacky, it's the sahajoli. Yeah. Okay.

And then just one extra little detail here is if you're still with us, let your awareness come back to the realm of that perineum. Soft open wide, almost like a quality of transparency in the perineum. And then like spread the toes a little bit so you feel the feet on the ground again. And then just see if from the perineum you can tune in to this little spot between the big toe and the second toe right underneath the ball of the foot. For me, it's just right about here.

There's this little spot that our brothers and sisters call the bubbling spring. And sometimes right from the perineum, you can catch the connection from the perineum right to the spot. And that sometimes there's this sweet grounding feeling. Not always, sometimes. For the last few moments, just tuning to this earth feeling.

Beautiful. Yeah. And then relax the effort of relaxing. And just feel the effect. And like just rest in bringing the awareness deep down and low.

Okay, nice. Yeah. How was that? Super grounding. Yeah.

And so when you want, bring the knees into your chest. Hug your knees. And so for some of you at home, if all you did there was just pass out and you have no idea what happened, now you have a new technique to help you fall asleep at night (laughs). I mean like this sequence is always more of themselves for us. Now, so you might be done and you might be (exhales), stay there.

What we're gonna do is we're gonna roll to sitting and use these three centers or the two centers we've explored for meditation. So only as you're ready, you can rock and roll up to sitting. And once you've come to sitting, you'll stay facing that way. You'll sit shin to shin. Okay, we usually call that sukhasana.

Now that translates as easy pose, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Would you prefer to have a blanket underneath you, or are you comfortable? So some of you will do. Does that feel like enough height, or would you like a little more? No, that's good.

Okay. And some of you will do a sit up on the blanket. Ankles cross. And just first step here, big deliberate inhale, exhale everything. And as you relax your low belly, can you also let your pelvic floor relax?

Okay, so you're gonna relax your low belly. You're gonna relax your pelvic floor, okay? And so that you're really tuning into this grounding. Hips wide. And if this is deep enough of a forward fold, you're gonna stay right here.

But, Jacky, if it feels good, what you might do is just let your elbows come down onto your knees. And as your elbows come down onto your knees, okay, you'll soften the mouth, you'll soften the jaw. And so for some of you, this is the perfect spot. This is deep enough, okay? For some of you, it might be appropriate to let your hands come a little bit further.

But pause for a moment now. Most of us tend to get a little hung up in the inner groin as we come into the forward fold, and so try just relaxing that front mudra, that sahajoli. Yeah, does that make sense? Mm-hmm. Try relaxing that perineum, and try, I'm gonna adjust your costume.

Try relaxing your ashwini. Like try relaxing the pelvic floor to drop in deeper. Nice, can you feel that? Mm-hmm. And then you might be perfect right here with your elbows bent.

Some of you might choose to walk your hands more forward. You just go with what feels right, okay? The play here is to really start to tune into connecting to relaxing the floor of the pelvis as a way to open towards the earth energy. Nice. Okay.

When you feel like you've cooped there enough, chin into the chest, let yourself roll back up. And as you let your hands come behind you, start with your fingertips pointing straight back, uh-huh. So for some of you, in the wrists that you might be working with today, fingertips straight back can be more relaxing on the wrists. Okay, but many people find that turning their fingertips in towards the body, sets their shoulders up for more success. How does that feel?

It's good either way. Okay, but it can be, this can be more demanding on the wrist. So letting the pelvis roll forward. Keep the chin tucked in. Do you remember the brick behind your heart?

So, as you let the front of the heart open, can you also remember the support from behind? Does that make sense? So you let it feel whole. Pretty. Now some of you are gonna wisely keep the chin in letting the collar bones feel more vulnerable.

Some of you will feel very natural to let the throat start to open, to let the face brighten. Letting those collar bones feel more vulnerable. So pretty. Letting the heart feel supported. Pretty, and yes.

Then when you feel like you've had enough of this, you lead with the heart. The heart leads and you'll start to come back up. Yeah, nice. Yoga totally works, doesn't it? Amazing.

It's amazing. Okay, other side. Switch the cross of your legs. Okay, so again like, before you go into deep, just start, and the play is like just big deliberate inhale, exhale everything. Yeah, soften the low belly.

Soften the floor of your pelvis. Yeah. It's like, whoa, nice. And soften the throat. Yeah, I know.

So good. Okay, then as you start to come forward, if appropriate for you, you might notice. Again, so pause with the elbows. So again, some of you might notice that when you start to fold forward, right? You get this immediate little catch in your inner groin.

And so instead of focusing on the inner groin, go deeper. Go into that sahajoli. Sahajoli like sink in, nice. That might be deep enough. Some of you are gonna relax that perineum.

And if it's appropriate for you, you'll start to come forward a little bit more. Ashwini. The difficulty with the word mudra, mudra means seal. And the difficulty with that word for us is we tend to think that, oh, therefore, it should be sealed up all the time. But a good seal knows how to open and close.

And a good seal is flexible. And our friend Leslie Howard is, her research has shown that most of us, right? Most of us have a sense that our pelvic floor should be strong, but for most of us, it's actually just tensed. And when something is tensed, it's weak. And so the play here is to start to learn how to soften.

Yeah. Can you feel how that works? How it's like deeper than the hips? Yeah. Gooey in the back of the neck, easy in the eyes.

Pretty. When you feel like you've been here about the same amount of time, chin into the chest, you'll slowly roll back up. Pretty. And then same idea, hands will come behind you. And you decide maybe the fingertips points straight back for you.

Maybe they come in towards you. The wrists are so delicate, okay? So, Jacky is showing with fingertips pointing straight back right now. Spread the fingers. Roll the pelvis forward.

Keep the chin in as you kinda wiggle up through the spine. Remember when you were on the brick and you were kinda going side to side? Like, let yourself go side to side, yes. Okay, now, remember not only the opening in the brick, but remember the support behind. Let this feel whole, yes.

And some of you are gonna stay right here. And some of you are gonna let your throat open. So pretty. Some of you are gonna let your face brighten. Couple of you will feel really nice to let the head fall back.

And you just wanna maintain the quality of vulnerability here. Yeah, beautiful. So beautiful, a few more moments. Yeah. Nice.

Okay, then when you've had enough, you'll lead with your heart. You'll let yourself come all the way up and pause. And pause. And just like appreciate the results of your efforts. Nice.

Beautiful. Now the last part of what we're gonna do today with this sequence is we're gonna move into a seated meditation. Does that seem okay? Yeah, it's good. Okay, so I'm gonna ask you to turn to face our friends.

So both Jacky and I are sitting up on blankets. Truthfully when I actually meditate, I sit up on a few more blankets. But for the purposes of reduction of props in this particular segment, not so much. So if you haven't yet found a comfortable seated position in your practice, I recommend finding one of our videos where we talked about finding a comfortable seated position. But in this case, like if you notice like, you can see I have chosen a higher seat than Jacky.

Do you wanna make yours that high, or you good? This feels good. Okay. Okay, so basically, it's just generally about your hips being higher than your knees. Okay, so the play here, coming back to the beginning points.

As we come into this seated meditation which we won't be here, maybe, I don't know, we'll find out. Maybe a handful of minutes, does that seem all right? It's good. Okay. But the play here is that we're tuning these three centers.

So, once you've found your comfortable seat, big deliberate inhale, exhale everything. And do that again. If you let that be a little noisy, it helps. Big deliberate inhale, exhale. And I really like, see if we can really let the belly draw, and really let the pelvic floor relax.

Like you wanna let that belly drop so much like, I mean this analogy might not work if you're not in California, but it's as if like you had a couple of burritos. Soften the pelvic floor, like, okay. This is samadhi. If you're really doing it, it'll feel quite quiet in your head. You might even mistake it for boredom.

Really let this happen. Widen the sit bones, open them. Okay, like wait for this, like it's worth waiting for. And the play here is you maintain this openness. You maintain this openness.

As you root just enough through your sit bones, like just enough to feel the heart start to come on line. So this generosity of heart, again, dhyana. This natural openness, so you can remember the impressing of the brick behind the heart. And you'll know you've overdone it if an anxiety occurs, or you feel hardness in your mid-low back, there's a fullness. And so when we overdo it, what you do is you do another little ha breath, and you soften again through the sit bones, okay?

Okay, so you've got samadhi, dhyana. And now in order to find the alignment of the head, okay, so your eyes are closed. In order to find the alignment of the head, the dharaá¹?a, you gotta find the placement of the skull so that your then tension in the neck is no longer necessary. And if you remember from when we were on the bricks, when you were lengthening the back of the neck, when you were creating just that little bit of jalandhara bandha, you're letting the base of the occiput widen. And as the skull aligns, as the skull finds their right placement on the body, there's this immediate expansive quality of listening.

The jaw softens, often the lips will part slightly. And there's a fluffiness. And like you'll know you've hit it. You'll know that you're cooperating with the alignment. And it just feels better.

There's this wonderful honey-like thickness. So just again, the belly is soft, open, grounded. Samadhi. Absorbed in rapture. The heart is generous, wide, aware.

And the skull and the mind are open listening. Jaw soft, eyes calm. And as that natural like tension is always right there trying to get a hold again. And so as that happens, you just remember, grounded, generous, listening. Soften the jaw, fluffy in the lips.

A few more moments here together. Beautiful. When you feel ready, you'll find your hands together in anjali mudra at your heart. Thank you, my dear friend Jacky, for being with us today. And thank you, my dear friends at home for being with us today.

See you again soon.


dear kira,
thank you for the medicine of your tenderness and sensitivity.
such a beautiful relaxing and centering sequence.
You are amazing Kira. I agree with Julia's comment. As I was going in to medatation I felt like I was being hugged. Tears came up. But when my mind started to think or question it , It slowly went away. Thank you.
Dearest Katherine, what a wonderful result! Thank you so much for letting us in on the experience. xok
what do you mean by tension will only relax unless it percieves a greater tension , what on earthe does this mean ,this is my big problem globally uptightness, so end up during the day in a mess, barring props a lovely dog I used to walk or a woman to hug, joke .. please help .
(part 1 of 3)
Hi there Richard. Nice to meet you, and thank you so much for asking for clarification.

(When I first tried to post my response, I was told it was too long, so I have to break it up into three pieces.)

I make this reference as a general statement based on my experience and research of how we (specifically our autonomic nervous systems) respond to support and a feeling of being held.

Ultimately our skill of awareness becomes the tool to offer the container for the unnecessary tensions to relax. Until then, we can work with the nervous system to communicate support.
(part 2 of 3)
1. Intelligence of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)
The sympathetic nervous system is continually asking the question, "Am I safe?" Only if it gets back the answer, "Yes" will it give up its grip and let the Parasympathetic run the show. Its very difficult to convince ourselves that it's safe to relax. A physiological cue of support for an extended period of time is much more effective. I talk a little more about the autonomic nervous system here: ew/52/video/Yoga-The-Practice-of-Af fection-by-Kira-Ryder

2. Swaddling as a cure for infant anxiety
Research has shown that babies born to drug addicted mothers can be calmed through tighter than normal swaddling. m/article/208863-how-to-care-for-in fants-of-drug-addicted-mothers/
(part 3 of 3)
3. Calming Cows and Autism
Temple Grandin discovered a similar phenomenon of resulting ease from being held in her work in the cattle industry and within the autistic community. wiki/Temple_Grandin

Since my reference about it being difficult to cry without someone holding you did not translate, perhaps you can remember a time when you felt the relief of trusting someone else to be in charge. Or perhaps you are more intimate with the tension of being in charge and wish there was someone you could trust so you could relax. The nervous system acts very much the same way. Until the SNS perceives that all is well and good, she will remain in a high alert state creating a feeling of stress.

Our job as yogis is to start to be learn how to know and inwardly communicate that all is going to be just fine.

Does this help at all? If not, please help me answer your inquiry with more skill.

1 person likes this.
Thankyou so much .

I have just returned from communion but without a lift to the free church am stranded again and then read your intelligent and well researched response to my question briefly wow !!

It is so lovely when others take the time to really answer properly , I am an intellectual ( scientist) by default so they (the links) will get followed up , Erich said something similar , "lossening one's grip" ain't easy around the tendons and bones , a grip onto something which on a deeper level isn't actually what we are led to believe it is ...Namaste
1 person likes this.
Problem :

The conditions I find myself in are from ideal ie surrounded by people with intractable mental health /personality disorders in the small council estate , who often make noise till late at night ie TV's etc and drink, having over period of 6 years lost all my back teeth, no prsothetic yet , on benefit and this in itself makes me less confident, used to go to Osho leela for years, many great hugs there , then this stopped my partner ( soul -mate) left me 13 years ago , etc parents dead ..hugs are in very short supply...

1 person likes this.
Part two :

So now what , Tarthang Tulku style massage ..
I do enjoy Yoga ( body work), but as you say the default is to uptighness my forhead looks like the map of a dried up river bed but apart from all this am well andfit if tired and prone to depression .

Any further help greatly appreciated , I feel I felt abandoned as a very small child and left in my cot, Mother brought up on Spock etc which fitted in with her neuroticism and so it goes on, the ghost of our pyschodtynamic past and life scripts come back to haunt us ! Then what , how can we respond to this ..?

From this space it is easy to sabotgae everyhting life , friendships , so yes RELAXATION is a Big One...
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