Last month was a particularly challenging week for many Americans, and yoga teachers were no exception. The 2016 Election brought no shortage of anxiety to the electorate and a divided nation remains in the wake of one of the most tumultuous campaign seasons of all time. Now, with the election of the new president-elect, many are feeling fear, anxiety, and anger amidst uncertainty. Racism, misogyny, and nationalism are now officially an electable political platform in a country that has fought ardently against these ideals since its creation, and people are feeling the blow. As a yoga teacher, my job is to encourage people to breathe, feel, and to accept where they are. In a time like this, that request is much easier said than done. And that’s what makes it more important than ever.
If you currently practice yoga, you are likely well aware of its many benefits. If you’ve never done yoga, you’ve likely heard its praises sung in many circles. Yoga is everywhere now, and a part of our mainstream culture. There is a yoga class suited to every niche. As I write this, someone is surely posting a set, convenient number of tips or yoga poses to help deal with the fallout of this election and the fear that accompanies.
If you don’t know what I mean, get yourself to a class, or learn those “5 easy poses that will eliminate stress” and come back to this when you’re ready to delve into the practice of feeling defeated and breathing through it. This pain that is being uncovered in our nation is, itself, the process of enlightenment. The term “woke” is now circulating as a defining word of pride for those who are willing to witness, love, and breathe through unimaginable injustice. These are the 21st century American yogis who have the capacity to change the world, simply by being conscious in it.
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