How Yoga Can Help You Press 'Pause' When The News Is Triggering

How Yoga Can Help You Press 'Pause' When The News Is Triggering

Hold space for whatever you are feeling.

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When there is a challenging news cycle, it often feels like there are painful and re-triggering stories everywhere. It can feel never-ending and inescapable when we see and hear these stories every time we turn on our TV, read our email, or scroll through social media. The recent Kavanaugh allegations and hearings have been significantly difficult for survivors of sexual assault and trauma. Even aspects of social media that are intended to reduce stigma and support survivors can be difficult to see or constantly be reminded of, like #WhyIDidntReport. If this resonates with you, please know that it is okay to give yourself a break.

You don't owe anyone your participation in conversations about the hearings and you don't need to share your personal experiences in a public way. On the other hand, sharing your story might feel empowering and freeing. Maybe you're finding yourself somewhere in between – wanting to share your story, but feeling weighed down by anxiety and overwhelm. The process of healing isn't linear or one-size-fits-all. Whatever you're feeling is okay.

Practicing yoga in times of high stress and anxiety can help you connect to how you're really feeling – when you aren't pretending like everything is fine. Physically, practicing yoga can help alleviate and bring awareness to areas in the body holding tension. Yoga postures can turn on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is also referred to as "rest and digest", versus the sympathetic nervous system's colloquial term "fight or flight". When our bodies shift into "rest and digest", we can pause, relax, and begin to truly rest deeply.

Ultimately, yoga is a journey of self-inquiry, self-care, and self-compassion. The process of self-inquiry starts with allowing yourself to feel whatever it is you're experiencing and meeting whatever you find with compassion and acceptance. You might consider practicing this sequence before bed as part of your night routine, to help signal to your body that it's time to slow down and get ready for sleep.

1. Constructive rest and gentle warm-up

Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the floor. With your arms resting alongside you, open your palms so they are facing the ceiling. Gently stretch your palm and fingers and then close your hand so that the tips of your fingers lightly touch. Do this a few times on your own breath's rhythm, matching your inhale with the opening of your hand and exhale with the meeting of your fingers.

2. Knees to chest pose (Sanskrit: Apanasana)

Hug both knees into your chest and begin to gently massage your lower back by rolling side to side.

3. One knee to chest pose (Sanskrit: Eka pada apanasana) to a variation of Reclining hand-to-big-toe pose (Sanskrit: Supta Padangusthasana)

Keep the right knee hugging in towards your chest, and stretch your left leg out long. Gently draw circles with your right knee to warm up the hip area and begin to release tension held here.

Interlace your fingers behind your thigh and begin to straighten your leg towards a 90-degree angle (imagining the sole of your foot is parallel to the ceiling). Bend your knee any amount to stretch your hamstring muscles. Hold this for four or five breaths. Switch sides.

4. Simple supine twist (Sanskrit: Jathara Parivartanasana)

Hug your knees back into your chest and on your next exhale, allow your legs to fall over to your left. Stretch your arms out to the side like a "T" or like a cactus by bending your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Come back to center on an inhale, and on an exhale, allow your legs to fall over to the right.

5. Thread the needle (Sanskrit: Sucirandhrasana)

Cross your right ankle over your left thigh, flexing your foot. Lift your left foot off of the floor and interlace your fingers behind the left thigh. This can be a deep stretch in the hips and gluteal muscles, so if it feels too deep, you can leave your left foot planted on the floor. Stay here for a few breaths and then switch sides.

6. Savasana

Stretch your legs out long with a yoga bolster or pillow under the knees to relieve your lower back and a folded blanket or pillow under your head. To make Savasana extra grounding, I suggest folding a couple of blankets and placing them on your upper thighs and belly. Allow yourself to be held up by the ground. Your neck and legs are held up by props and your back can spread across the floor. Slowly scan your body and notice if there is anywhere you can do less, like unclenching your jaw. Notice any feelings that arise without judging yourself - see if you can meet your thoughts and feelings with compassion.

7. Closing

After a five or 10 minute period of relaxation, draw your knees into your chest and roll onto your right side in a fetal position. Slowly and gently come up to a seated position. Take a moment to thank yourself for making space in your day to go inward and take care of yourself. Remind yourself that you can always return to this sequence or even just a short seated meditation to press "pause" and take a break. Namaste.

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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My Love-Hate Relationship with Starbucks

This is my oh so wonderful experience at Starbucks during the week of midterms.

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When I usually go to Starbucks, I typically get the same type of drinks: carmel macchiato, chai tea latte, chestnut praline chai tea latte (which sadly is only a holiday drink), or a shaken black tea lemonade with light ice. However, sometimes a person just gets bored drinking the same three drinks over and over, so I thought, "Hey! lets get out of our comfort zone here pal and try something new." So I did I walked my tired stressed out self to Starbucks 10 minutes before my next class and ordered a tall cinnamon shortbread latte, I mean the description and other peoples comments about it made it sound super good.


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As I was waiting for my drink I noticed that one of the baristas was having some issues with some type of syrup, but I thought that they would refill it and then add what they need, and that one probably wasn't even mine. When they did that, I saw them get a new jug of syrup and I went back onto my phone and to try and plan how I was going to get through this midterms week.

Quick info about midterms: everyone is dead, and everyone is stressed. Us college students literally live off of caffeine during midterms week. If you're lucky like me you are at school from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., so the caffeine is really needed.


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Now soon after I saw the new jug come, my name was called. I grabbed my drink and walked like the walking zombie I was to my next class. I went in for my first drink I was so excited to have this sweet taste of vanilla, cinnamon and coffee...but what I got was the opposite. It literally tasted like a very burnt somewhat coffee and cinnamon edible without the marijuana affects, or for the non-edible people, a very bad tasting cookie that was missing all the sugar. I was not a happy camper one bit, but I was going to drink it anyway because I payed $4 for this coffee. I struggled drinking this during my writing class because it tasted terrible, but then out of no where I got this hit of sweet — I was drinking the sweet vanilla and the sweet cinnamon part of my drink minus the majority of the coffee since I was 3/4 done with the drink. I was seriously crying on the inside because I didn't get to enjoy this drink the way I needed.


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Then the realization hit me: 1. They probably didn't add in the missing parts of the syrup once it got refilled since they suddenly got busy. 2. They did not stir that drink one bit because all the syrup was literally at the bottom of the cup. If they did these, then the problem wouldn't have happened.

This is not the first time this has happened to me having all the syrup at the bottom of the cup at a Starbucks. Its not like I am able to swish it around myself because it is full to the top and I don't want hot coffee poured or splashed on my hand. Also, most people are on-the-go while they are drinking their coffee or doing other things. I have only had this issue at Starbucks and never at any other place have I had this issue like Anthem Coffee.


So can Starbucks just agree to always mix their drinks? So that the zombie college kids during midterms have good coffee to keep them alive?


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