I’ve been thinking about how we can find resilience when we’re tired. (You can even check out my Instagram story today for a desperate, teary plea for help with this if you want to…)
Life feels heavy these days. I find myself crying as I look at images portraying the murder and division that is happening in America today. I wake up and have to fight the anxiety that wants to choke me over how my business will recover from this extended closure. Every little thing feels massive. And the things that are incredibly important… well they feel like too much to handle, don’t they?
There is no quick or easy solution to: members of the black community being murdered by police and others, white people refusing to acknowledge their privilege and use it for positive change, economic impacts of COVID-19 mandated closures, prospective ongoing worldwide health crises, deep trenches of division that people are falling into like a trap, government incompetency and manipulation, etc…
Here’s what I believe we can do… Practice yoga.
Stay with me.
In modern day yoga, and even in my very own network here at JTB, we put a lot of emphasis on the asana- physical- when it comes to yoga. Asana is a very small piece of the yogic picture, and it is actually only one of the 8 limbs of yoga as presented in the sacred ancient texts by Patanjali. Yoga, by definition, means union. I think that’s something we can all use a lot more of right now.
Here are 3 ways you can practice yoga to help steady your mind and improve your life right now.
In the 8 limbs of yoga, Satya is a subdivision of the Yamas, or personal restraints branch of yoga. Practicing Satya means embodying truth. Being honest with your thoughts, feelings and deeds.
Ask yourself: How do you really feel about what is happening in the world right now? How do you feel about how your life has changed over the last few months? How do you feel when you think about taking a stand for something? Do you want to take a stand? Whether yes or no, does that bring up any other feelings for you? Guilt? Shame? Fear?
Saucha falls under the branch of yoga called the Niyamas, or personal practices. This is where we take action. Saucha means purity of mind, body, and spirit. I can’t think of a better time to do some personal housekeeping than right now.
You’ve gotten honest with yourself. What are you going to do next?
It starts with personal accountability. You know those questions I asked above? Think of your answers. Write them down. Read them to yourself.
Maybe action means asking for some extra support right now. Maybe it means taking a mental health day from work or setting a time limit on how much social media or news you are ingesting. (I am not suggesting you disconnect or turn a blind eye to what is happening right now, rather set healthy limits so you can process and integrate everything you are seeing and hearing. Just like we wouldn’t suggest you do yoga for 6 days straight- the same goes for media intake!) I guarantee that this act of self-cleaning will include scraping up some deeply embedded patterns of thought and being open to a brand new perspective.
Karma, in Sanskrit (the ancient language of yoga), means action. Now is not the time to sit back silently in self contemplation for too long. Those are just the first steps. Once you’re clear on what you’re holding on to and where that might need to shift, do something about it. Feel helpless? Here are some organizations you can get behind and support financially or otherwise. Admit in a conversation that you don’t have all the answers. Be vocal about the value of human life over property. Support a local business. Order takeout. Go outside for a walk. Smile at a stranger. Stop trying to over-explain things with the mind and lead with your heart.
The climate is charged right now and that is because this movement is so incredibly important, and every human being alive right now has had their life altered in at least some way in the last few months due to the pandemic.
Change is hard. It can be brutal.
We can deny that it is happening or necessary, or we can gracefully acknowledge that we may have been blind. This is your chance to choose to be on the right side of history.