Welcome to Urban Yoga: The people’s practice for the people, by the people. My name is Boo Boafo, and thank you for joining me. As we explore our breath and mindful practice today, we’ll be connecting to our brave heart.
Guided Meditation: Connect to Your Fearless Heart
A Gentle Movement Practice—Urban Yoga Foundation
1. Start by finding a comfortable seat. You can sit on a yoga block, a cushion, a sweatshirt, or a chair. Ground yourself in your seat, finding the connection between your feet and the ground. Then, start to feel your breath coming into your body. You may be breathing into your chest, or breathing into your belly. How does the breath feel coming in? How does the breath feel as it leaves?
Put your right hand on your belly—to really feel your breath in your belly. And put your left hand on your heart—to really feel your heartbeat. Notice your breath and your heartbeat as we honor these two factors that keep us in harmony.
3. Gently release your hands to your knees and continue to notice your breath. When we can tap into our conscious breath and a conscious mindset, we are able to bring awareness to our inner emotions and the light within us. And when we can take time to tap into that space, we realize we can connect with the peace within.
4. Start to lengthen the breath, taking a long inhale and a longer exhale. The breath is our first form of nourishment. And when we can take a long exhale, it allows us to tap into our parasympathetic nervous system. That parasympathetic nervous system allows us to pause, allows us to rest and digest. It can help release our heart and tell us we’re in a safe space. Imagine the exhale removing all that we don’t need from our body, and the inhale embracing everything that nourishes us. And we can imagine the same process happening in our mind.
Release any fear, sadness, sorrow. You don’t need to keep it in. You can let it out. Make room for love and cultivate the tools that will nurture, strengthen, and give you courage.
What can you embrace in your mind that lets you know you’re safe? And what can you release that does not serve your better good? Release any fear, sadness, sorrow. You don’t need to keep it in. You can let it out. Make room for love and cultivate the tools that will nurture, strengthen, and give you courage.
5. Breath into your heart center. Relax your jaw. Relax your tongue. Relax the space between your eyebrows. Soften the space between your ears and connect with who you authentically are. We have everything we need inside of us: all the courage, all the stamina, all the forgiveness, all the kindness. Embrace it all as you step into your brave heart.
6. Feel what it feels like to embrace the tools that serve you. Move your hands up toward the sky, embracing all that serves you. Meet your palms at center above your head and reach your fingertips up high. Take a long inhale, lengthen the fingers, and as you exhale, draw the shoulders down the back.
7. On your next exhale, turn your palms out and move your arms back down until they are straight out at your sides—your hands are parallel to the ground. Extend the fingertips.
8. On your next inhale, bend your forearms up as if mimicking a cactus. Your elbows are parallel to the ground and your fingertips are extended. Take a long exhale and draw the elbows to meet at the heart center. Move your arms closer together until your elbows, wrists, fingers, and palms connect. Bow your head and set an intention for your brave heart.
10. Relax your jaw, again. Relax your tongue. Relax your shoulders. Be with your practice, be with your breath, be with your heartbeat, and set your intention with love and kindness as your foundation.
11. Inhale, moving your arms back up toward the sky, and release your intention out into the universe. Take a half twist to the right by lowering your right hand down to the ground behind you while placing your left hand to the outside of the right knee. Inhale, lengthen the spine, and exhale, twisting the ribcage and shoulders to the right.
12. On the next inhale, leave the left hand where it is. Move your right hand high up toward the sky, shifting it all the way over to your left knee or thigh. With the elbows crossed, tuck the chin to the chest, tilt the pelvis up, and let your heart space open into your spine as your shoulders open up. Breath into that back heart space. Soften the space between your ears.
We often look externally for love, but love is inside of us. How does it feel to tell yourself that you love yourself?
13. On the next inhale, come up to a comfortable position. Keeping the elbows gently crossed, hug your shoulders and tell yourself that you love yourself unconditionally. No judgment, just unconditional love. We often look externally for love, but love is inside of us. How does it feel to tell yourself that you love yourself?
14. Now take a half twist to the left, letting your left hand come down to the ground behind you and the right hand come to the outside of the left knee. Inhale to lengthen the spine and exhale to twist. Twist the ribcage and the shoulders to the left.
15. When you’re ready, move your left hand up toward the sky, moving it all the way over until the left hand meets the right right knee or thigh. The elbows are crossed. Tuck the chin to the chest, tilt the pelvis up, and let your heart space open into your spine as your shoulders open up. Breath into that back heart space. Soften the space between your ears.
16. On the next inhale, come up to a comfortable position. Keeping the elbows gently crossed, hug your shoulders. Then, bring to mind someone or something that challenges you.
Breathe life into that challenge. And if you can’t, breathe love into it directly. Can you at least begin to think of the possibilities of what it would look like if you could resolve that situation? What tools can you embrace for the better good of all?
17. And then inhale, stretching your arms back up over your head once more. Then, move your arms back down to rest your hands on your knees or thighs. Just sit with that right now.
Urban Yoga Foundation is now hosting their 24-hour virtual event: The People’s Practice Conference. A variety of sessions will be led by teachers from all over the world. Practices include movement, meditation, and informative sessions with the intention of grounding and restoring Indigenous presence.
In our second annual focus on women leaders of mindfulness, we invited teachers, researchers, and activists to share guided meditations that reflect what they’ve learned from their years of deep practice. Read More