“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” -James Baldwin
We are in the midst of a pandemic. Let’s imagine that you sit still to practice mindfulness – the simple art of non-judgmental awareness. You observe your breathing. You notice that your breathing is tight and that your body is tense. You feel anxious.
What do you do next? Do you continue to sit and observe? Do you label your emotions? Do you get up and do something else? What is a wise and compassionate response to an observation of a body and a mind filled with stress?
It can be a skillful choice to call a friend, journal, or go for a walk. We might practice art, spend time in nature or dance. It can also be a wonderful choice to practice yoga. Yoga is an excellent way to calm the nervous system because it links the mind and the body together through the power of breath and movement. When we intentionally slow down our bodies and our breathing, we often slow down and calm our mind.
This story begins with an essential element—the power of observation. But what we do when we notice distress – whether we continue observing, try to ignore it, or take an action to intentionally calm our nervous system – is up to us. Small positive choices can make a big difference over time.
Want to experiment with linking movement and breathing? Notice how slow, intentional movements affect the state of your body and mind.