I instruct you to use these poses & your breath to help you let go of tension. I do believe it actually works. We breath, sweat, strengthen and stretch and tension leaves the body.

But there are other routes. One is forgiveness. Forgiveness can be a loaded word, so please keep it simple and straightforward so it works for you. So, for all the ways we clench or list to the right, or hold onto anger, sadness or fear …. what about “forgiving your muscles and joints for not forgetting, for keeping that imprint alive”. When you feel that pang in your heart or that ache in your bones, understand it’s your life trying to be remembered.

Maybe another route to releasing tension and tightness from your mind and body is to forgive yourself. I’ll give you an example in my life that may help you work with this theme:

I forgive myself for tensing my shoulders every time I overthink. Part of me cares enough to try that hard. To want to get it right. But I judge myself for being perfectionistic, or for not remembering to not tense up; like I should’ve learned that lesson by now!

First off, no shoulds :) So here is another way I can talk to myself (and maybe you can talk to yourself in a similar fashion):

I forgive you, Lynn. Even after all these years, its kinda cute you go there. Yes, I’ll try to relax and breathe and do yoga, but maybe I’ll always tense my shoulders. Maybe it has a positive message in it, too: It can remind me of all the times I took on a challenge or pursued a goal or cared. I invited students to think of a way they might want to forgive themselves for some quirky habit or idiosyncrasy, or anything they might want to let go of. I also encouraged students to trust the healing powers of the yoga practice to help them with this.

We opened the asana practice with floor work: childs pose, twisted childs pose, pilates strengthening poses, and a series of purvottanasanas, and then we headed into sun salutations including Shiva side opener. The asana practice focused on forward folds, deep hamstrings, shoulders and hips. Core, balance moves, and twists were woven throughout. Students melted into anahata, a surrendering backbend. Class closed with janu sirsasana. Thank you yogis for your openness and all you bring to our community, Lynn