By Christine Mason, CEI Executive Director
Most days, as I engage in yoga, I automatically feel gratitude for how I have learned to appreciate all my body does to support me, even as I discover a slight pain here, and even as I wish I were just a little more flexible, or that my body was a bit more perfect. I reflect during these times on how I can shift my focus from pain and feeling badly to feeling better. That’s the wonder of a few minutes of deep breathing– the thrill of knowing that I can improve my health and well-being without outside intervention.
How we heal. During my meditation-yoga time today, I began to identify how as we heal ourselves through a regular practice such as yoga or meditation, we might consider application of similar practices to heal our nation. Here are few things for your consideration:
Breathing deeply can bring a sense of calm. What would happen if more people practiced deep breathing? What would happen if the deep breathing were done as a group activity in communities across the nation?
When focusing on breath nd healing, energy can be created to further healing and a sense of optimism for oneself. This carries over to yoga classes; could this carry over to communities?
With breathing and meditation, when my thoughts stray,
When we turn attention to violence, pain, and the busyness of everyday life, it is easier to be caught up in the negativity, to feel dis-ease, and to feel a sense of hopelessness. These all interfere with yoga and meditation; do they interfere with healing communities?
Uplifting or meditative music enhances our yoga and meditation practices; how could they be used more intentionally and frequently to uplift communities as a regular practice?
It is wonderful to practice yoga and meditation by myself. And when I practice with a group, sometimes the results are magnified. Sometimes in a group it is easier to meditate for longer and experience a more intensified meditation. Would a deep breathing practice accompanied by beautiful music, help communities at a deeper level?
Note: CEI applauds President Obama for his Dallas speech seeking healing and unity for our nation. Many steps are needed to bring about the deep healing that is so needed. We need to listen to one another, practice equity and justice, practice forgiving, celebrate diversity, and regulate the sales of assault weapons. My experience from teaching yoga for over 15 years is that adding a conscious, on-going practice including yoga, breathing, and meditation could provide multiple, immediate and long lasting benefits to individuals and communities.