Transforming Fear to Joy

Restorative Yoga for Opening & Strengthening Your Heart

As yogis, we learn that physical sensations of tension or tightness indicate where in our bodies we hold pain and suffering. Alas, when we suppress our emotions, they don’t disappear, never to be seen again. Suppressed emotions are stored in our bodies, and each of us has our own unique habits to keep wounded feelings from rising back into consciousness. We use these habits to distract ourselves from giving attention to our woundedness.

The price we pay for distraction is that tension and tightness increase in our bodies and minds eventually triggering physical and/or mental illnesses. Some examples of these behavioural habits include — constant tapping of one’s foot, grinding one’s teeth, clenching one’s buttock muscles, talking about others’ habits rather than revealing one’s own, talking over and/or more than everyone else, rarely talking at all, keeping busy, etc. If you recognize yourself in one of these habits, then the following yoga actions and asana sequence are for you.

Two major ‘storage tanks’ for our unresolved emotions are the pelvis and the heart space. It is no coincidence that hip replacement and heart disease are so prevalent in society. Holding back our tears and fears not only makes us ill but also hides the learning opportunity present within each of these experiences. For today, allow each pose to show you where you are holding tension and tightness. As the sensations become apparent, ask yourself “What am I hiding from myself and others?

1. In each posture, notice where the sensation is located.
2. Ask yourself, “What am I hiding underneath this sensation?”

SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA (Supine Bound Angle Pose) 5 – 10 minutes
– horizontal bolster under the thoracic spine; support for your head
– belt legs & sacrum OR place blocks under outer thighs

SALAMBA BALASANA (Supported Child Pose) 5 m
– torso rests on vertical bolster; add blankets if sit bones lift off heels 5 m

ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (Supported Downward Dog) 1 m
– forehead rests into bolster or block

– thighs supported by blocks, hands on floor or blocks

ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (Supported Downward Dog) 1 m
– forehead rests into bolster or block

SALAMBA UTTANASANA (Supported Standing Forward Fold) 2 – 3 m
– crown of head on blocks

TADASANA (Standing Mountain Pose) 1 m each
– inner feet & ankles touching
– balance on 4 corners of feet–big toes & little toe mounds; inner & outer heels

– raise arms overhead, palms facing each other

– clasp hands & raise palms to ceiling
– reverse clasp & repeat

– bolster & block on chair seat
– legs in Baddha Konasana OR Sukhasana
– front of chair seat into upper shoulder blades
– release head to block & arms to bolster

ADHO MUKHA VRKSASANA (Handstand) 5 Breaths each; 2 REPS
– alternate kick-up leg

PINCHA MAYURASANA (Forearm Balance) 5 Bs each; 2 REPS
– belt arms above elbows; block between hands
– alternate kick-up leg

SALAMBA VIPARITA DANDASANA (Supported Inverted Staff Pose) 2 m ea

1) front chair seat into middle of shoulder blades
– clasped hands support head

2) front chair seat into bottom of shoulder blades
– clasped hands & crown of head supported by bolster and blankets

SALAMBA BHARADVAJASANA (Supported Twist Pose) 1 m ea
– twist from the breast bone; pelvis & legs do not twist
– repeat in other direction

SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA (Supported Bridge Pose) 2 – 3 m
– either HI or MED block under sacrum
– if HI block, place LO block under heels
– legs belted & extended

PAVANA MUKTASANA (Wind-relieving Pose) 1 – 2 m
– release sacrum & tailbone toward floor

CHAIR SAVASANA (Corpse Pose) 5 – 10 m

May the gentle easing of your tears and fears reveal your truth and joy. Namaste.

For more heart-opening sequences and yoga actions, click here.

Picture of Author: Helen Maupin

Author: Helen Maupin

Helen is passionate about transforming fear into love — from her, for her, for all. She expresses her commitment to transformation through writing poetry, self-awareness and yoga books, co-designing organizations into adaptive enterprises and deepening her daily meditation and yoga practices.


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