How yoga can help us in the aftermath of the 2016 election

Yoga will not change the 2016 election results. But it can help the fight for peace and equality, because it can help you.

Yoga taught me about acceptance. It helped me wrangle myself out of self-hate and overcome an eating disorder. When stressful situations present themselves, yoga taught me to find acceptance. But sometimes, acceptance isn’t the answer.

This is one of those instances.

The reality is, I’m a middle-class white woman. My life won’t likely drastically change from this election. But as a supporter of, well, other humans, I’m afraid for the future of other groups. And meditating and accepting Trump’s reign will not help them.

That being said, I believe that my meditation and yoga practice are more important than ever. And maybe that’s true for you, too.

Here’s why.

We need to be our best selves.

Self-care is a priority. In order to show up for others, we have to show up for ourselves. You cannot give from an empty cup. Give yourself space and time. It might not be yoga for you. It might be lifting weights or running or taking a bath or reading a book. Find what makes you feel whole and prioritize it in your schedule. The world needs you at your best.

It’s time to put our yoga tools to work.

In the studio, we come together as a community to connect. We believe in love. We believe in presence. We believe in acceptance. We believe in peace. We have a spiritual bond that’s truly magical. It’s time to take it outside of the studio. We cannot fight hate with hate. We have to fight hate with love. We have to be more present and involved off the mat to spread the messages we hold close on the mat.

It’s time to dig even deeper.

Yoga is a study of the self. We are challenged to dig deep and face our biggest fears, the darkest parts of our past and work through stuck areas filled with pain. Shit gets real. And it’s time to get even more real. One positive thing to come out of Trump’s campaign was the amount of women who opened up about their assault using the trending hashtag #NotOkay.  A wound was opened and women spoke up. More wounds are going to open up during the next four years. Our yoga practice, or whatever your personal tool is, can help us to deal with the unraveling and come out stronger and more aware of who we are.

We need to manage the stress appropriately.

It saddens me to see all the violence unfold. It’s coming from both sides, and it’s not OK. But I understand how it happens. I’m deeply upset by this election. And if I didn’t have a strong yoga practice, the old, emotionally unstable me could lash out inappropriately. I could totally see that. But that’s not going to solve anything. When we let stress and anxiety take over, we cannot be taken seriously. Yoga and meditation are my preferred tools for managing stress. Through certain yoga postures and meditation practices, I can give myself what I need. Right now that’s to feel grounded and safe. But I suspect that my practice will also include heart openers to feel more compassion, core work to harness my inner power and throat chakra balancing to embrace my voice. Yoga can be a great tool.

As life starts to get back to “normal,” don’t lose sight of your values. Please continue to act, speak out and support organizations that are fighting for what you believe in.

Love trumps hate. But that love needs to exist beyond the studio. Get on your mat. Then get to work.