How you holdin’ up?
No matter which side you fall on, this past week has been an intense one. Shock, paralysis, nervousness, and fear are just a few of the feelings surfacing in me and in my communities. And amidst the whirlwind of emotion, we’re wanting to do something… but don’t know what or when or how.
>> Thing is, it’s my experience that when I’m jittery, overwhelmed, and unsettled, there’s not a whole lot I can accomplish. Or at least not much I can accomplish well <<
So, instead, I stop.
For a little while.
And turn to yoga or meditation.
But sometimes I’ve even too overwhelmed for that! Sometimes I’m just too restless to sit still or follow any kind of lengthy routine. I’ve had lots of those moments these past few months.
Wanna know what I did instead?
I shook it off.
No joke. People don’t use the term “shake it off” for kicks. Quick explanation: you’ve heard of fight, flight, or freeze, right? Both humans and animals use those responses to save their lives when confronted with life-threatening situations. Here’s the interesting part: when animals in the wild experience trauma, they pass through their freeze state by tremoring (literally shaking), which alleviates post traumatic symptoms and allows them to return to normal mobility and functioning.
Now, this doesn’t only help when your life is literally in danger, but any time you’re overwhelmed with stress and emotion. Shaking helps us immediately release excess tension, and prevents it from being stored in the body (and eventually leading to chronic tension).
Most of my life I’ve spent moving my body in very structured, rigid ways (during years of sports and yoga). This simple practice of shaking helps me get the stress relieving benefits of movement without the pressure of doing anything “right” or “wrong.” And did I mention it only takes 5-10 minutes? You can do it on its own or incorporate it into any other movement practice you enjoy.
Anyway, let’s get to it. You ready?
Read through the five steps below then give it a try.
1. Set up your space (yoga mat, candles, incense, music)
2. Keep your feet planted on the ground and begin to shake (bending at the knees, allowing the shoulders to drop), being mindful that you continue breathing throughout
3. Continue for at least 5 minutes
4. When you choose to stop, transition immediately into a few moments of deep breathing, using the following arm motions: inhale, open the arms out to the side and raise them over your head, exhale, allow the arms to drift down the center of your body… continue for at least five breaths
5. Hold your hands in front of your pelvis, palms facing up, while you allow your breathing to come back to its normal rhythm
Wishing you a very restful sleep… xo