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The Virus

Okay. So. Corona virus. I taught what will likely be my last in person classes for a few weeks Friday and then, this morning. At the start of both, I asked everyone how they were feeling about what’s been happening over the last week-ish. On both days the responses were differing levels of anxiety, concern and worry. On Friday I got every body up, put on a Bruno Mars song and made them dance out the anxiety out. Yes, it was Uptown Funk.

This morning, after students talked for about ten minutes, I had them side-lie on Yoga Tune Up® Coregeous balls and literally breath it out. Different room, different needs. As they were breathing, I started talking about spirals (the theme of my classes this week was spinal rotation). Pointing out all the spirals, helixes and whorls in and on our bodies. But more importantly, I reminded them that the MIND can spiral. The mind creates narratives, it comes to conclusions without all the data we need to make informed decisions, it creates scenarios that are not based in fact, it activates our imaginations and does so many other things when we are in stressful or unsure situations. This is all wrong thinking. I don’t mean that in a Judgey McJudgerson kind of a way, I mean it from the perspective of both Yogic and Buddhist philosophies. We are not our minds, nor are we our thoughts. We do not have to follow the path the panicked and fearful mind wants to lead us down. We have a choice.

Please know, I am not minimizing the seriousness of COVID-19. Aside from the health implications, I believe the economic impacts are going to be catastrophic. Yes, social distancing, that is common sense. Better personal hygiene, yes (shouldn't we have been doing that all along?). Panicked grocery hoarding? No. That is irrational. Irrational thinking leads to irrational behavior. And THAT is bad for everyone.

So please, if you are reading this, take a deep breath. I mean literally take a deep breath. Take a few actually. Give yourself the gift of your parasympathetic nervous system. Calm and sooth yourself, you will feel better. Then you can calm and sooth others(kind of like the airplane mask). When your mind starts to race with all the threats of this pandemic, acknowledge the thought and then walk it out the back door of your mind.

Take care of your little patches of grass. Take care of your families, check in on your elderly neighbors, shop for people who are self-quarantined, be kind, be considerate, be empathetic, be sensitive to those who are frightened, listen to people. If we stay calm and rational, we’ll all get through this just fine. Give the following prayer meditation a try, you’ll feel better and you are spreading the love.

Metta (Loving KIndess) Meditation

Hands in prayer at sternum, repeat each section three times:

May I be happy.

May I be healthy.

May I be safe.

May I be at ease.

Think of someone who you only see peripherally. Like the checkout person at the grocery store:

May you be happy.

May you be healthy.

May you be safe.

May you be at ease.

Think of someone you have strong feelings about—in any way:

May you be happy.

May you be healthy.

May you be safe.

May you be at ease.

Think of all sentient beings:

May they be happy.

May they be healthy.

May they be safe.

May they be at ease.

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