Do everything gently, softly and slowly. Don’t push yourself or strain. Do what you want from the suggestions, skip anything you don’t want to do.
I don’t need to tell you that our nervous systems are on high alert. I’m sure you feel that. To help soothe ourselves, I developed the Nervous System Dance. Here’s how you do it.
1. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, preferably outdoors or at least where you can get some fresh air. Start to shake, wiggle, bounce. As you take a deep breath in, draw your shoulders up toward your ears. Let your breath out with an audible sigh (say ahh or ha) and drop your shoulders (the settling breath). Make some noise when you breathe out so your vocal chords vibrate. Do this shaking and breathing for as long as you want. Keep shaking and shrugging shoulders and breathing out loudly. Follow with these yoga poses. But do the Nervous System Dance as often as you like—and teach it to your people.
2. Shang Hai Shuffle: Stop doing this if you get dizzy. Swing your arms up and down, front to back. Start low and move arms higher and higher until straight overhead if comfortable. Breathe in when arms go up and breath out when arms go down. Do 10-20 in the low position, 10-20 in the highest position 10-20 to make your way back down to low position. Or if counting isn’t your thing do for 1-3 minutes.
3. Flowing forward bends. On the exhalation slide your palms down the fronts of your legs to your feet or low shins and then up the back of your legs as you inhale. Press your hands as firmly as comfortable. Do several repetitions and then stay in the forward bend. Let your head drop and your neck, throat, mouth and tongue relax. Hold for 7 or more breaths if possible. Come up slowly. This helps the lymph fluid move which supports your immune system.
4. Standing side bends: Hands clasped over head or hands on the side of your pelvis. Tilt your torso to one side making a C shape. Take 5 or more deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
5. Grounding: Feet about 2 feet apart shift weight to one side keeping knees unlocked. Take a deep breath in let it out. Shift to the other side for a deep breath. Repeat 5 or more time each side. You can add neck rolls. When weight goes left let head drop toward left shoulder. As you transition to right side roll head forward and bring toward right shoulder.
6. Seated or standing twist—place both hands on the right side of your pelvis and rotate your torso and head to the right. Hold for 7 or more breaths. Repeat on the other side.
7. Tap on your sternum (upper chest area) to stimulate your thymus gland for immune support. Do this for a minute several times a day.
8. Wide leg forward bend. Stand with your feet about 4 feet apart. Interlace your fingers behind your back (or use a strap or belt) and straighten your arms. Fold forward, lifting your arms up away from your back gently if possible. Don’t force. Keep the weight evenly distributed in your feet, with knees unlocked. Breathe deeply, relaxing your neck muscles and letting your head hang like a weight at the end of your spine. Hold for 10 or more breaths. You can drop your arms toward the ground at any time. Come up slowly.
9. Do jet lag lay on the floor with your lower legs on the couch or chair. Have a pillow if you want. Or do some other resting pose and put on some soothing music to distract yourself from the inner turmoil. Consciously breath. The ujayii + 1 breath is very focusing. Inhale count, exhale 1 count longer. The next breath in increases by 1 count with the out breath always a count longer than the in. Continue to a comfortable full breath, don’t strain. Stay for at least 5 minutes. Longer if you like.
Do the Nervous System Dance, flowing forward bends and #7 several times a day.