I am hoping that throughout this current social and economic climate I can provide you with a reprieve. I am sharing some tools to add to your toolbox so that you can care for yourself during this time of uncertainty. I am also hoping to provide you with some healthy ways to spend your plethora of down time!
I have mentioned this first because it is the most obvious, the most available, and the most well known. Asana is the sanskrit word for “pose” or “posture” and this is the physical practice that you likely immediately think of when you think of yoga. There is no shortage of online classes (free or donation-based) available to you at this time. I am personally offering free online classes via ZOOM on Saturday’s at 10am MST (code 437 249 6637). Youtube also has never ending classes amongst many other platforms. If you are struggling to find asana classes please reach out to me and I will do my best to point you in the direction of one that will suit your needs!
Pranayama is the sanskrit word for “breath control” and is another tool for calming and focusing the mind. Odds are if you’ve practiced a yoga asana practice, you’ve practiced a pranayama. This is another practice available with endless resources, you can find many youtube videos with different pranayama exercises for different ailments. My go to pranayama practice lately has been nadi shodana or alternate nostril breath, I explained this breath technique in depth in my last blog post.
Meditation has been by far one of the most beneficial practices for me in terms of my mental health and getting through hard times. It is so easy in these times to tune into the world and start to feel anxious, because the world is a very anxious place right now (and for good reason!), but as we know this is not a healthy response. Spend some time sitting down with yourself, it doesn’t have to be complicated, arrive in a comfortable seated position and focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your nose. If you have trouble focusing you can mentally say inhale as you inhale and exhale as you exhale, or count 1 on the inhale and 2 on the exhale, as your mind wonders (because it will) just draw the attention back to the breath. So simple and so powerful!
Mantra, or chanting, is an excellent way to open up your throat chakra, ground down, and bring positive energy into your life. This, like the other practices I have mentioned in this post, does not have to be complicated. This can be as simple as sitting down and chanting the universal vibration of, “OM” three or so times. This can be very powerful for calming the mind when the thoughts start to run rampant. Lately, my personal favorite mantra has been, “OM Namaha Shivaya” which directly translates to “OM greetings to the auspicious one (Shiva)” and this has been important to me lately because Shiva is the God of transformation and I am personally feeling like transformation is something the world and myself desperately need(s) right now.
Yoga Nidra is another amazing practice for calming the mind and body. Yoga Nidra is a practice of moving through each part of the body and relaxing it with the mind, sometimes followed by a guided mediation, this is the ultimate mindfulness practice and a great cure for anxiety. I have been using a YouTube video for this that has been amazing and I highly recommend for times when you are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, or anxious: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H0FKzeuVVs.
I hope so much that these practices help you during this odd time and that each of us can use this time for personal and spiritual growth. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me during this time if there is any way that I can support you or with any questions you may have, I am here for YOU!