I am so excited to bring you this guest post from my friend Amy. We’ve known each other since way back when I lived in DC, and I will never, ever forget how she was there for me at my lowest. A few years ago she became a yoga instructor, and we reconnected, and I’m so happy to have her back in my life, even if it’s mostly just over email.
Amy is the founder of ProYOGA USA and former DC politico. Follow her (and her puppy!!!) on Instagram @proyogausa.
Stressed out by the election, the onslaught of political news, and the anticipation of Tuesday evening’s results? These curated yoga poses target those parts of the body feeling the strain of the final days of the presidential campaign, while soothing and calming the mind. Do this sequence, or just choose one or two favorite poses, as often as needed between now and Tuesday evening.
Child’s Pose (TB note: can I just stay in this all day tomorrow?!)
Start in the safety of Child’s Pose to immediately calm the mind, body, and spirit. Stay in Child’s Pose until the mind is focused solely on the breath and the body is relaxed.
The repetition of sun salutations forces the mind to the present. Flow from Low Lunge to High Crescent Lunge, open the hips in Warrior II and release the body in Reverse Warrior. Reset with a Vinyasa and do the same on the other side. Hold each pose for 5 breaths.
The Bald Eagle is America’s national symbol. Show your patriotism, as well as relieve tension in the shoulders and hips, with Eagle Pose (Garudasana). Eagle Pose also restricts the blood and releases fresh blood to the limbs upon release – increasing circulation (which improves oxygen flow in the body, which makes you feel better!).
Get Upside Down
Inversions calm the nervous system (your flight or fight response) by resetting the parasympathic nervous system (this is a good thing). Choose an inversion that best suits your practice (Ragdoll or Gorilla pose for beginners, head or hand stand for more advanced practitioners). If inversions are scary, Legs Up the Wall is always an option.
Release extra energy through Donkey Kicks (also called Fire Jumps). Start in Downward Facing Dog, bring your shoulders over your wrists, bend the knees and kick the legs up over the hips. Do 10 kicks.
The difficulty of this arm balance, Elephant Trunk Pose, will not allow the mind to worry about who is going to win Tuesday for a good five minutes (that’s also how long it will take to get into the pose). Try the balance first on your favorite side. Move the shoulder under the leg, then lift the body off the ground. Move to the other side.
The Final Countdown
Close the practice by releasing the hips and the IT band (the muscle that runs from the hips down to the calves) in Supine Pigeon (take a good one minute on each side). The hips tend to hold more tension than any other place in the body, so make the time to release any tension hiding there. Follow by releasing the lower back in Supine Twist, holding for 30 seconds on each side. End the practice in Savasana – do a body scan to release any hidden tension in the jaw, neck, arms, hips, legs, all the way down to the soles of the feet and then relax!
If by some chance the election doesn’t end on Tuesday, we recommend going on a yoga retreat ASAP.