The year 2020 has presented us with many challenges that have profoundly affected our global society’s collective emotional trauma. It is easy to get swept up in the uncertainty of these times or simply turn away from it all by distracting ourselves with miscellaneous business, i.e., work, exercise, food, alcohol, etc. It’s a complicated time, and there are no right or wrong answers as to how one may process this unchartered territory.
From a yogic perspective, the realization of all things’ impermanent nature can help understand at this time. Non-attachment (one translation of aparigraha in Sanskrit) relinquishes our expectations of how things should be. The practice of non-attachment, in turn, equates to an authentic acceptance of how things are. Suffering is an unavoidable part of life.
Understanding and acknowledging our sufferings without judgment while learning to embrace it may help us to experience peace within the difficulties. It requires us to make a genuine effort to stay in the present.
Cycles are an inherent part of nature, and we, as humans, are always immersed in change. Like a tide that ebbs and flows, such is life. It is actually in the difficult times that we can learn the most about ourselves and about our ability to build resilience. As our collective identity and ideas are being supremely challenged at this time in history, it is evident that the only thing within our control is our ability to accept the present moment just as it is.
Below are a few tools for healing which may help each of us to find peace in the present:
Be Still & Breathe – Your breath is always with you. It is your life force. To be still and be with the breath allows us the opportunity to slow down, process our experience from a place of neutrality, and truly feel our feelings. Profound insight happens in the realm of stillness. Being still does not have to be a long meditative practice. Simply stopping for a few minutes to pay attention to the breath’s expansiveness can be incredibly grounding.
Be in Nature – Spending time in nature is therapeutic and helps us to ground our physical bodies. Nature teaches us that peace and life abound, even amid chaos. Observing everything from the ant to the mountain top helps us to understand the interconnectedness of all life and feel that we, as humanity, are an essential part of it off the bigger picture.
Connection – The goal of yoga is unification. We cannot heal in separation or isolation. This pandemic has shown us how interconnected we all are on a global scale and has magnified our need to be in the company with others. Although we are being asked to stay home as much as possible, it is vital to stay connected to feel supported. Calling a friend or family member, participating in a virtual gathering or yoga class, cuddling a pet – these are all modes of connectivity. Now is the perfect time to get creative in your collaborations.
Journal – Writing is a beautiful form of expression, and it is especially useful in clearing a cluttered headspace. There needn’t be any rules about what or how we write; simply apply pen to paper in a stream of consciousness and see what comes out. Try not to judge your words and let the process unfold naturally and be cathartic for you.
Compassion – Be compassionate with yourself as you move through, potentially, many emotions in one day or even one hour! If we root in self-compassion, we can then extend this out towards others. We are all experiencing the present moment in varying ways. If you come from a place of privilege, consider how you might be of service at this time. Nothing waters the seeds of compassion like giving – but remember, you must always fill your own well first.
Life is challenging, and our fears of the future have the potential to prevent us from thriving in the present. Allow yourself not only to accept what is but take in all of the ups and downs that life has to offer whole-heartedly. Root yourself in your present experience, whatever it may be. Know that there will always be change afoot. Give yourself the luxury of sitting quietly. Allow the process of acceptance to support you in the work that you need to do in your personal life and then out in the world. Although the practice of yoga and the tools above can’t make our worries disappear, a dedicated practice each day may leave you feeling reconnected, refreshed, resilient, and better prepared to take on whatever comes your way.
By Nadia Bubtana-Crabtree, 500 RYT
October 19, 2020