In yoga teaching we have a saying that “we hold our issues in our tissues” meaning that we store stress in our physical bodies. Think about how you physically feel when you watch the news. Do you clench your jaw, tighten up in your chest and shoulders, or experience irregular breathing? If you are not constantly mindful about coping with stress and fear, it is very easy to store them long term. This in turn can cause harm to both your mental and physical health.
At the moment we are being flooded with news of the rapid spread of coronavirus and all of the possible outcomes because of it. I encourage you to focus on what you can control. We already know that you are washing your hands and staying away from big crowds. Now let’s find some coping mechanisms and create an on-demand de-stress toolbox.
Due to the rapid spread of the virus we are encouraged to self-quarantine and to stay away from other people. However the beauty of being here and now is the variety of online resources readily available.
- Yoga – If you are looking to start your yoga practice and feel too intimidated to walk into a studio, check out resources on platforms like YouTube where you will find many options for your practice. Some of my favorite beginner-friendly yoga channels are Yoga With Adriene, Body Positive Yoga, Faith Hunter, and Heart Alchemy Yoga. All you will need are a yoga mat or a beach towel, blocks or a stack of books and you are ready to practice. Yoga is not only a great tool to feel connected to your body and your mind but according to The Journal of Behavioral Medicine it can also boost your immune system. Next time you feel stress and fear flooding in, unroll your mat and melt them away with a yoga practice.
- Breathing Exercises – Another helpful and easily accessible tool for de-stressing is your own breath. Try the following breathing technique. Sit comfortably in a chair and begin to breathe in through your nose for four counts, inhale and hold your breath in for four, exhale for four and hold the breath (empty lungs) out for four. Repeat this for 1-2 minutes. This breathing technique is called box breathing. According to Medical News Today it is used by Navy SEALs, police officers and nurses to decrease stress and promote mindfulness.
- Meditation – I also encourage everyone to check out the following meditation apps: Calm, Headspace and Breethe. To benefit from meditation you need to be consistent at practicing it. So, invite your loved ones to participate in a mindfulness challenge. Encourage them to practice meditation at least 10 minutes a day and see how awesome you all will feel afterwards!
I hope that you will stay healthy and stress-free and remember “this too shall pass.”