For Courage & Unity: A Yoga Practice

Like every woman I know, I’m baffled by the Supreme Court nomination/confirmation process in the United States. I’ve run the gamut of emotions; I’ve traveled the peaks and valleys.

I am, like far too many women I know, a survivor. It took me many years to be able to acknowledge it, let alone say anything about it. The healing work, I only recently realized, is life-long. As I learned in Bessel Van Der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score, ”trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body.”

How do we gently attend to the hurt and sorrow while also practicing unity in a highly divisive time? That’s a question I keep coming back to, because it empowers me—and it helps me remember that this healing work connects me to everyone else, because everyone has healing work to do.

Taking supremely good care of ourselves gives us an excellent running start toward answering this question. Our nervous systems can only handle so much before they go into overload. That’s why I see restfulness-oriented practices and mutual care as revolutionary: It often seems like the current powers that-be are purposely aiming to exhaust us all. To refuse to allow the toxic divisiveness to drain our adrenal glands, and hence our physical energy, is to literally take back our power. To care for one another is to shore up our reserves, not to mention grow love.

Eager to help put a halt to our energy drains and power leaks, I’ve created a yoga-inspired practice to strengthen the nervous system and invite calming responses into the body-mind-spirit. You can play the audio below—just scroll to the media player.

The 24-minute practice is gentle and minimal. No prior experience with yoga is necessary, though I strongly encourage you to consult your doctor if you’re not sure that yoga is right for you (note: this practice is not appropriate for anyone with a herniated disc).

You’ll find it most effective to do this practice with a yoga mat or yoga rug, but if you move slowly and mindfully, any non-slippery surface with some cushion (like a thick carpet) can work. You’ll also find it better when practicing on an empty-ish stomach (3 hours after a full meal or 1.5 hours after a light one).

May we carry on with the power to heal and the courage to practice unity.

Audio for practice linked here.