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How to Breathe Deeply in a Crisis: Yoga and Meditation Tools for Social Isolation

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We’re hearing lots of encouragement to “take care” right now, and rightly so. But when the world around us feels like a scene from Contagion—easier said than done.

Feelings of fear and distress make us human and prove useful in times of crisis. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost to our immune system. In this context, self-care becomes a selfless exercise, as much to support our own well-being as the well-being of everyone around us.

Meditation and yoga have been around for thousands of years because they’re simple tools that work. Here are a few ways to experiment with them at home:

Yoga at Home

Photo by Lauren Kaljur.

For perspective

As neuropsychologist and acclaimed author Dr. Rick Hanson reminds us: “In this moment… there’s enough air to breathe, the heart is still beating… you’re basically alright.” Follow his guided meditations on YouTube and check out his “resources for resilience” on his website.

For tailored support, download the free app MindShift CBT to check in with your feelings, follow guided meditations, find some relief from anxiety, and track your progress.

For the flow

Don’t let Instagram fool you: Yoga is not just for the acrobatically inclined. Check out Jessamyn Stanley’s YouTube videos, or follow her on Instagram, for yoga that’s genuinely accessible.

 

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Senior Kundalini instructor Krishna Kaur is also offering simple meditation practices every Monday evening via zoom until April 13.

And Vancouver’s overflowing pool of talented yoga instructors has plenty of live and pre-recorded offerings. Follow teachers such as Krystina Simes, Clara Roberts-Oss, and Kate Gillespie for online classes and community discussions. If you can, support these teachers directly so they can continue to support others.

 

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For the quiet

Anxiety can incite nightmares and restlessness. If you’re yearning for someone to tuck you in, tune into YYoga’s Sleep Meditation Challenge on IGTV every night at 9 p.m. PT, featuring acclaimed wellness and meditation author Farzana Jaffer Jeraj.

And to help get your day started, Vancouver’s Andrew Clements is offering live breathwork and meditation at 10 a.m. PT.

 

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For the analog

Trying to limit screen time? Good idea. Here’s a simple, potent exercise for everyone: Take a comfortable seat and gently close your eyes. Relax the muscles in your face. Now bring attention to your breath, as it is naturally. Is it shallow or deep? What speed? Don’t try and change it, just notice. It’s okay if you’re not sure.

Now bring your attention to the palms of your hands. Notice what you feel. You might feel tingling, tickling, heat, or cold.  There’s no wrong answer. Just feel for a while.

Now come back to your breath. Has the quality of your breath changed? Over time, with practice, you’ll notice that awareness of your sensations softens your breath and quiets your mind.

Yoga at Home

Photo by Lauren Kaljur.


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Post Date:

March 27, 2020