The news cycle of the past week in the US has sent many of us on a spiral through heavy emotions: despair, shock, anguish, fear, frustration, exasperation, rage... This can be overwhelming and difficult to manage and process, especially if there's resonance with any personal trauma we may be carrying.
Below are several different practices that can help us release the excess "charge" generated by these intense energetic states, so we can be clear-headed and centered when confronting the many challenges ahead.
Make Some Noise + Find Silence
The throat chakra is our communication center, where we can experience challenges around speaking truth and listening to our inner voice. One way to keep an open and balanced throat chakra is to make noise. Sing, hum, whisper, shout, scream, yawn, laugh, or roar -- whatever feels good. Including lion's pose in your yoga practice energizes and supports this area. Getting energy flowing through the throat makes space for expressing our authentic nature.
Any creative expression connects with the fifth chakra, including writing. Take some time to write out your deepest truths and fleeting thoughts in a letter or a journal. You can decide whether or not to share it with a congressman in an elevator or just keep it to yourself. Just the physical act of writing our thoughts, feelings, and intentions can get a healing process started.
The opposite of noise and expression is also important for balancing the throat chakra -- silence. In order to honor our own inner voice, we have to be able to hear it. Quieting the mind is the first step, and developing a practice of meditation -- sitting, walking, painting -- is a great way to do this. Spending some time each day in solitude and quiet, even just a few minutes, does wonders for our physical, emotional, and mental health.
Control Your Breath
Focused deep breathing with equal inhales and exhales is a fast way to bring the body out of a stress response. I like "Four Part Breath." Sit with feet on the floor, eyes closed. Inhale deeply for four counts, hold the breath in for four counts, exhale for four counts, hold the breath out for four counts. Continue for 1-4 minutes.
Another great stress-reducing breath practice is "Alternate Nostril Breathing," which requires a bit of concentration and coordination. Details and instructions here.
Calm Your Nerves
In this video Energy Medicine practitioner Prune Harris demonstrates a simple posture that brings balance to our nervous system by holding energy meridian points at the base of the skull and the bridge of the nose. This is an easy and very effective exercise you can do at your desk.
Use Nature's Filter
Science is just starting to quantify the numerous health benefits that come from connecting with nature, even in small doses or in urban settings. Go up close to your favorite tree and breathe in its deep, quiet, expansive energy. Exhale and imagine your intense emotions being converted into life-giving oxygen and dispersed. Then give thanks for Earth's most hardworking filters.
In previous blog posts I recommend some additional exercises that can help ground and balance our energy, the antidote to feeling overwhelmed:
+ Try "shaking" as a healing practice to get energy flowing and clear out blocks and congestion
+ When you're feeling filled to the brim with emotion, try "Clear the Clutter"
+ Ask your body what it needs right now to get calm and centered
+ When stuck in feelings of anxiety, try generating the opposite: the energy of gratitude