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6 Tried and True Practices for Trying Times

By Sarah Calvert

Wowzers. If ever there was a time to test our abilities to cope with and manage fear and anxiety, this is it. Personally, I’m feeling a lot of blessings and gifts with the recent state of the world and its shift. I have more time to go inwards, to work on creative endeavors, and to see first-hand how many spiritual practices, in particular Kundalini Yoga, can help us through these trying times.

I’ve been focusing mostly on opening up my heart; when my heart chakra feels balanced and healthy, it’s very rare that I get fearful or anxious. For the past few days I’ve been doing the Kriya to Open the Heart Center, and feeling its effects immensely.

Since I’m currently “stuck” in Costa Rica right now (I know...boo hoo. I’m not complaining!) where it is quite warm and humid, I’ve also been tapping into the Sitali Breath which has been helping me regulate not only my body temperature, but my emotions when fear begins to rise. If I start to focus in on the worries and questions like, “When will I be home? Will my retreats run this summer? Can I make enough cash to pay rent because I can’t perform right now? Is Dad staying home in Canada like he should be?” I find myself entering a state of anxiety. As a yogi, I’m aware of this and can (usually) nip it in the bud with pranayama, meditation or yoga. 

When we start going down that dreaded yet familiar road of the “What ifs” in this time of uncertainty, the body sometimes starts worrying along with the mind, and in this state we have increased heart palpitations and feel unease in various parts of the body, particularly the stomach and heart. It’s therefore VITAL that we keep our hearts calm, and our digestion moving and grooving.

That being said, I recommend doing the Meditation for a Calm Heart, which is simple yet profound. I also recommend taking extra care of our digestive systems, as they are our other “brain” and they too are processing what’s going on, and can also go into a state of fear. I’ve been amping up my fermented foods and eating fruit and veggies galore. There’s a tendency to want “soul food” at times of unrest (I almost ducked out to the store to get a bag of chips today, but re-centered and refrained), and it’s tempting to have grilled cheese with fries on the side. However, we must remain mindful about what we are choosing to put into our bodies to stay strong and healthy.

For this reason (and also, it’s deelish), I’ve been having Golden Milk every night before bed, which has a really lovely sedative quality. I’m also doing some Left Nostril Breathing to calm my body and mind down. The left nostril breath is related to the feminine—qualities such as nourishing, nurturing and resting, as opposed the right nostril breath, which is correlated with the more active male aspects.  

Lastly, as per usual, I am chanting up a storm. I have been really liking the Panj Shabd, or Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation, as the “ah” sound connects us with the heart, which is where we all need to be right now. It also affirms life’s cyclic qualities of birth, death and rebirth as we move into this new way of being in the world.

So keep chanting...in the shower, in the kitchen when you’re making those nourishing meals. I encourage you to use this time as a perfect testing ground for all of the yogic techniques you’ve learned or have wanted to learn. Dive in. With a calm heart. With clarity. With compassion. With love. Sat Nam. 

Sarah Calvert is a Kundalini Yoga teacher and musician based in Canada and Central America where she leads Kundalini Yoga retreats, lives in harmony with nature, and teaches and performs at festivals. She’s released several albums including two featuring Kundalini Yoga chants. For more information visit: www.sarahcalvert.ca