Sign up now for Yoga Journal’s new online course Inclusivity Training for Yoga: Building Community with Compassion for an introduction to the skills and tools you need as a teacher and as a student. In this class, you’ll learn how to better identify student needs, make compassionate and inclusive language choices, gracefully offer pose alternatives, give appropriate assists, reach out to neighboring communities, and expand and diversify your classes.
As teacher Joan Halifax has said, “In Buddhism, it takes a strong back and a soft front to have an open heart.” This guided meditation is designed to help you feel that something has your back, so you can open your heart.
Find a comfortable position where your back is fully supported. Try lying down completely or with your feet up a wall, or sitting in a chair or on the ground with your back against the wall.
Once you have found your place, pay attention to your breath.
Notice your body: Where is there spaciousness? Where is there tension? Move your attention to your back and its contact with the chair, wall, or floor. Allow yourself to feel supported.
Holding this support in your body’s awareness, turn your breath and attention toward your heart space. Is there fear? Is there hope? Is there a bit of both? Just notice.
Once again, release into the support against your back as deeply as you are able. As you do, is there room to relax and soften your heart space? And to create more space on the exhale? Explore without judgment.
When you are ready, begin to expand your attention to the room around you. Allow yourself time to gently transition into the space.