The events of last Friday have stayed with me. Every second I look at my children’s smiling, innocent faces…I feel blessed. It has really made me see my challenges/concerns in a whole different manner. And then there is a part of me that feels helpless; helpless for those families who will no longer see the smile of their child. Christmas has always been a time of connections, of healing and bringing people together. However; for this year, particularly for those families in Newtown, it is so much more.
And so, I did what I always do when I feel stressed, strained or helpless: I turned to yoga.
Yoga has been used a tool for healing a variety of stress disorders from soldiers returning from war to individuals coping with loss or depression. Yoga Journal discussed how yoga has been used to aid the healing for a variety of post traumatic stress clients. The spirituality and the nature beneath the asana’s are the perfect foundation for reconnecting to yourself and your feelings.
Yoga can help you:
- Focus on the present
- Become self-aware
- Feel calm and in control of your thoughts
- Realize that your body and mind have the strength to endure
In the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, research found that an eight week session of Yoga Nidra (IRest therapy) reduced rage, anxiety and emotional reactivity in a group of war veterans. In addition, the soldiers reported increased feelings of relaxation, self awareness and peace. IRest is usually taught as a guided meditation. One of the main uses for this type of yoga nidra is to help with the healing process by helping to neutralize the negative emotions and restore the positive. It helps connect the users to the idea that the underlying aspect in our mind is peace. It helps bring clients back to this sense of peace and well being.
One of the most powerful healing techniques of yoga is learning how to take deep, cleansing, oxygenating breaths. Breathing is the most essential element of yoga. It helps connect to your present mind and body, slow your parasympathetic nervous system down and allow your body the energy needed to repair and heal.
During this time, take a few moments to notice the blessings you have around you. We are all connected. I know realistically that yoga can’t fully heal the pain that those families in Newtown are going through. However, there is strength in coming together as a community. In my yoga classes this week, we have spent some extra time in Meditation or Savasana simply reflecting on the blessings that we have. We have brought together our collective positive energy and love. I hope that somehow the universe is powerful enough to bring that positive energy to the families that desperately need it: whether in Newtown or somewhere else.