October 19, 2020
How To Navigate Election Season On & Off The Mat
Election season, whether you follow the news or not, inevitably stirs up triggering emotions and feelings. How you respond impacts your mental and emotional health, your relationships and our world.
Yoga and meditation teach you how to be with intense experiences and this skill increases your ability to respond from a conscious, value-centric place rather than react from a conditioned or overly emotional state. The practice also teaches you what you CAN be with and what you CANNOT be with, or what is not safe for you to be with any longer.
In yoga and meditation, we call this discernment. Your ability to discern what is safe for you to be with, such as the news cycle, certain conversations or even your social media feed, is critical to your health.
During this season there will be times when it will be critically important for you to turn off the news, close down social media and take care of yourself by going on a walk, doing a meditation or stepping onto your yoga mat. These activities will help you return to your center and remain equanimous as you navigate election season.
But why even talk about politics or elections in regards to yoga and meditation? Many people believe that politics and elections do not have a place here. This is simply not true. Yoga and meditation, and Inner Dimension TV, are not here to tell you who to vote for but, we are here to tell you that your vote matters and is a part of your practice.
The philosophy of yoga, dating back thousands and thousands of years, teaches us to live grounded in the values of truthfulness, compassion, non-violence and cleanliness. As practitioners of yoga, we have a duty to enter the voting booth or return our ballot by mail and vote our interpretations of these values. You cannot separate the practice from politics.
Spiritual activists throughout history have demonstrated this, such as Gandhi. Gandhi took a stand against the British Empire and stood for justice, equality and human rights. With marches, non-violent protests and political action, he enacted the philosophy of yoga that guided his life and changed not only his country but the world. Why would you be called to do anything less with your life and your practice?
Take care of yourself this election season. Then vote. And no matter the outcome, no matter the “side” you stand on, when this season passes let us make a commitment to take care of each other. By putting practice into action, we will each take our stand and when the ballots are counted and the pieces fall where they may, we will make a collective promise to remain standing, together.
With our words, thoughts and actions we will unite. This, of course, is the heart of yoga, a word, philosophy and practice meaning “union.” No matter our differences, we are one, and we will come together as one.
Below are some recommended practices to support you during this election season: