3 Ways to Heal Guilt with Yoga

A religion, a belief system or a way of life will not necessarily suit all those born into it.

For some it will work.  For others it will be damaging. And you’ll feel worse than a “fish out of water” – you’ll feel, or be made to feel, guilty about it.  From personal experience I can only write about my own past and the healing I was able to do with the help of the whole of Yoga.

The lonely legacy of Catholic guilt  is what I call the left-over loneliness that comes from low self-esteem, the pain and hurt from the damage of the catholic way (that’s the family way, schooling community etc) and also the confusion and conflict from the twistings in the teaching – especially about our origins as humans.  It leaves you lost as to how the world works – and to how people really behave and why.

But nothing stays the same forever, and everything is constantly changing. There’s compensation in everything.  In every ‘wrong’ there is the potential for ‘right’, if you look for it.  And Yoga gave me the way to find the ‘right’ in my life when I was healing from Catholic guilt.  Many people have shared with me that my writing of the experience of guilt and the healing from it has helped enormously:  Asian women and men also associate with the family and community stuff, along with Presbyterians and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The need for healing seems to be Universal.

Healing with Yoga is profound, deep and lasting.  It helps, in my experience, with a new stronger outlook, with your identity, values and lifestyle changes. Here are 3 ways I found to heal guilt with Yoga:

Letting Go
Awareness and acceptance of what has happened is the first step. For that you usually need quiet downtime. Releasing the past and letting go takes time and it also takes a certain state of mind . Relaxation in Yoga is one of the most profound ways of reaching a state of deep contemplation for the letting go to happen.

Try this for free:  Relaxing from  Seeds of Yoga Meditation Part 2 [ free downloads audio guided meditations link below].

Flushing Out The Sadness
Letting the feelings of sadness or loneliness come up, the emotions to surface and flow and allowing them to wash through are all deeply therapeutic techniques of Yoga. Stillness and breath flow really help.   Simply learning to slow down enough to be still and silent is a powerful thing to give yourself.  Allowing your emotions to do the work for you, allowing the breath to breathe you is an amazing gift to yourself and it’s a gift that you control.

Try this for free:  Breathing from Seeds of Yoga Meditation Part 1  [free downloads audio guided meditations link below].

Wipe The Slate Clean
Contemplation is one of the steps on the path to meditation – it allows the mind to settle down into the state of silence necessary for meditation – it allows your thoughts to come up into awareness for your mind, body and emotional system to heal,  for you to make sense of your experiences and put them into some place on your soul’s path.  Then you can wipe the slate clean and face the future. Contemplation in Yoga is an ancient practice of learning from the teacher’s truths. You may have been told forgiveness is the way to healing?  Well, this is how you start . . .

Try this for free:  Forgiving  from Seeds of Yoga Meditation Part 2  [free downloads audio guided meditations link below].

Remember what I said about origins? Well, growing what I understood about the origins of Yoga, some of the fascinating stories about the Yogis, gave me a  frame in my head to think about how life can be better and vital.  It’s an amazingly powerful legacy – better than guilt any day.



Seeds of Yoga Meditation parts 1 and 2 Free Audio Guided Meditations link is here.

Note: And if you do have healing to do with guilt and Catholic guilt you can read more about Susan’s healing approach here and/or listen to video podcasts here.


Reasons to Meditate

Personally, I love what Osho the Zen Master said . . . “Meditation is your medication, once it has worked for you – you throw away the medication, throw away the Meditation and get a new one . . .” and in the tradition of the Zen Masters they never say anything to fullness, but leave much unsaid . . . for US to meditate on!

So, reasons to meditate:

You find your own inner wisdom . . . one of the most powerful reasons to meditate as far as I’m concerned, because this builds so much inner confidence.

So many of our spiritual masters have taught us that everything comes from within. Our natural wisdom is within, the healer is within and the “Guru” is within. All it takes to tap into all of this inner power, is practice regularly in Meditation. We then learn to master ourselves.

This is one of J. Krishnamurti’s sayings on Meditation: “Meditation is freedom, and it is like entering into an unkown world of beauty and quietness; it is a world without image, symbol or word, without waves of memory.”

Meditation transforms . . . meditation was the final journey of the ancient Vedic yogis (founders of Vedanta, belief in Life Freedom) – they mastered and controlled the body with Asanas, the physical postures of Yoga. Then they mastered and controlled the emotions with Pranayama, the breathing practices and techniques. And finally, they mastered and controlled the mind with Meditation . . . but more than that, they spent their time then in Meditation exploring the quality of “man’s” relationship with God or the Divine. And so the legacy was passed down to us, that we are born with the seeds of Divinity within us – or, as my interpretation goes . . . we’re all potential creative geniuses just waiting to be transformed!

Meditation takes you out into vast spaces of light – in other words, it releases you from tight, little small worlds of being. Your spirit might be wild and on an adventure of its own . . . and you will need to control your own little and constricted mundane mind to follow your bliss with your spirit! I love the fact that knowledge of the Chakras (our own psychic gateways to Cosmic energy) is still a living tradition of the Hopi Indians in North America whose tradition of Meditation is as old as that of the South American Indians and the Yogis of India.

The above paragraph is with reverential reference (to vast spaces of light) to the 6th century Sufi poet Rumi – and I feel I should also share the following with you from South American poet Pablo Neruda as I have such affinity with both himself and Rumi: I also use his term “the light of flowers” for the beautiful state of being that follows when our seeds of potential have blossomed as we follow the paths of our hearts and spirits.


I love you between shadow and soul , I love you as the plant that hasn’t bloomed yet, and carries within it, the light of flowers. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where . . . because of you the dense fragrance that rises from the earth, lives within my body, rioting with hunger for the eternity of our victorious kisses.

Namaste, Susan

Susan’s note: Krishnamurti’s quote on Meditation from Page 121 of his notebook written on September 23rd 1961 in Paris.

While the suzenyoga.com website is down for renovation, Susan is offering one-to-one guidance by Skype:

Meditation Guidance Private Sessions

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation). She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.