Whether we need to forgive ourselves or others, it’s important that we process our healing not just in our minds, but in our bodies.
Whether we need to forgive ourselves or others, it’s important that we process our healing not just in our minds, but in our bodies. So much of our past trauma and lived experience is held in the physical body. In the yoga tradition it is believed that true healing comes from the combination of equal parts action and equal parts intention. Couple this physical yoga sequence with the intention of forgiveness to experience a profound release and transformation of heart.
A shift of consciousness
Guilt in its healthy expressions is a temporal emotion which allows us to experience genuine remorse. Similarly, anger toward someone whom we trusted and let us down, helps us to reflect on our boundaries, expectations, or maybe standards within a relationship. However, when either of these emotions become a permanent theme of consciousness, they begin to drain our energy and create a self-sabotaging cycle. A good practice for allowing ourselves to fully feel our emotions without getting stuck is to give ourselves a physical practice such as this sequence to process our hurt feelings while simulating a physical experience to release and move through our emotions.
All of the following poses should be practiced with full presence on the situation you are processing. All poses can be modified or adjusted to fit your abilities or comfort.
Fire Log Pose (Agnistambhasana)
Our emotions are held in our second chakra, the sacral chakra. Thus, whenever we are carrying heavy emotions our hips tighten. Invite the hips to release any stored guilt or anger with every exhalation. As the hips relax, notice a shift in your emotional body.
Hold for 3-5 minutes per side.
- Sit square with the edge of your mat and stack one shin on top of the other.
- Activate your feet.
- Place your hands on your top knee to add weight or hinge forward at the hips upon exhaling to fold forward.
- You can create a pillow for your forehead on your forearms.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Our heart chakra is home to our eternal soul. Everything we have experienced in this life up until this point has shaped our heart. Every struggle, every set back, and every mistake is a perfect part of our story. As you lean into this pose, honor all of your life experiences (the good and the bad) with love, acceptance, and total grace.
Hold for 3-5 full breaths
- Separate your knees hip width apart to stand on your shins
- Bring your hands to your low back, fingers pointing down
- Roll your shoulders back and done until you feel the tips of your shoulder blades pressing your heart forward
- Inhale, press your hips forward while you arch back any amount
- Option to stay here with your hands on your low back or on an exhalation reach back for your heels one hand at a time
- You may tuck your toes under to bring your heels up higher
- When exiting the pose, bring your hands back to your low back and sit onto your heels to rest
Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
Continuing to open and release the heart chakra, take wheel pose while repeating these affirmations either silently or aloud.
- “I forgive myself and others. I let go of the past.”
- “It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay for others to make mistakes.”
- “I extend the same love and compassion to myself that I would give to another.”
Hold for 3-5 full breaths
- Lie down on your back, bend your knees and plant your feet hip width apart
- Bring your hands over head and place your palms down next to your ears with your fingers pointing toward your body
- On an inhale breath, press your feet and hands into the mat you lift yourself off of the mat
- Begin to straighten your arms while hugging your elbows in toward your ears
- Let your head hang freely or try to look toward your feet
- To exit the pose, slowly bend your knees and elbows to gracefully lower yourself back to the mat
- Option to modify and replace this pose with bridge pose instead.
Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
Connect with your inner child and feelings of innocence. We are all doing the best we can with what we know and what we were given.
Hold for 1-3 minutes
- Lay on your back and bend your knees to grab the insides of your feet
- Draw your knees down to the floor outside of your rib cage
- Stack your heels over your knees and flex through your feet
- Draw your sacrum down to the mat and imagine all your vertebrae imprinting on the earth
- Option to rock side to side
Three Part Breathing
Allow yourself to be born anew, letting go fully of the past. Remind yourself that every new moment is another opportunity to start over and choose again.
Breathe for 3-5 minutes
- Lay on your back and bring your heels together to breathe butterfly wing legs. (If you feel pressure in your low back straighten your legs instead)
- Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly
- Take a deep inhale breath through your nose and intentionally fill first your low belly, then expand your ribs, and lastly fill your chest with air
- Exhale all three parts out through your mouth making an audible sigh out
If you are stuck in loop thinking from past hurts, please give yourself this gift of forgiveness.
“Thinking” about it usually doesn’t create healing. We’ve got to penetrate our subconscious mind and get deeper into the soul. Body movement, breath work, and intention are just some of the tools that can help us get out of our heads and into our body and soul.
You may also enjoy reading Sleep Better… A Few Stretches for Bedtime, by Carter Miles