Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Breathing through anxiety

I'm hoping that every single person who is reading this watched last night's debate. This is the most consequential election in our country's history and it demands our very careful consideration and every possible vote.

It also demands, for me at least, that I constantly check the news, Facebook, political podcasts, and every other morsel of information until I'm a useless, jelly-like puddle of horrified anxiety, convinced that this time next year it won't be global warming that's the biggest threat to humanity, but nuclear winter.

What's a little meditation or breath in the face of this overwhelming existential anxiety?

Pretty damn effective, actually.

If you've been anxious like I have lately, even if it's unrelated to politics or injury, I've found this to be a very helpful grounding technique:


Take a comfortable seat, either cross-legged on padding or with two blocks between the ankles in supported hero's pose.

Align your spine - shoulders down and back aligned over the hips, chin slightly tucked and back of the head pulled back in space so the earlobes align over the shoulders.  The crown of the head is aligned over the center of the pelvis.

Imagine a long line, or a long column of light, running from the center of the pelvis up and out through the crown of the head.  With each breath in, that line grows longer in both directions.  With each breath out, soften your body around your tall spine.

Inhale as everything from the navel up grows longer, lighter, taller, more lifted.  Exhale to soften the expression on the face, the jaw, the neck, the shoulders.  Inhale as the crown of the head lengthens toward the ceiling.  Exhale to soften tension in the chest, belly, back, and to release any gripping in the hips or legs.

Imagine everything from the navel up grows taller and lighter, while everything from the navel down becomes heavier, more rooted, more grounded.

Allow the inhalations and the exhalations to be even - inhaling and exhaling for a count of 4 or any length of time that will keep it a calming, easy breath.

Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

And then go vote.

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