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A Yoga Teacher’s Response to Trump Getting Elected

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Wow – clearly we didn’t see that one coming!
I, just as much of the world, believed it wasn’t possible that America would vote Donald Trump into the White House.
And when I woke up last week to that reality, my mind started going crazy!
I was actually shaking as I started to look at Facebook and other social media outlets to see what others had to say. Most of it was shock.
Then I asked my husband the question, how are we going to parent this?
When I say ‘parent,’ I mean what are the messages I want my children to hear?
And you know what, I actually ended up talking to myself at the same time.
I told them that we would have a safe place at home to vent our emotions, that we would respect the process and the position of power, that we would let our actions speak louder than words, and that actually, this could be an exciting time of grassroots efforts and involvement to make sure that the issues we care about don’t get swept under the rug.
This talk seemed to calm my head down. Now I had a plan that I could work towards. No matter what, it is important that we come together as a community and a country.
In an interview before the election, Piers Morgan asked the Dalai Lama what Americans should do if Trump was elected President of the United States.
The Dalai Lama responded:

“America is the leading nation of a free world and the American diplomacy is deeply rooted. But, when something little happens, Westerners sometimes lose their enthusiasm and optimism and when something big happens they get too much excited. This, I think is not good. This is life, there are the good things and the bad things. Our minds should maintain better calmness.”
When I’m feeling unsettled, I go to my yoga mat. And once again, the answer came from my place of refuge.
In the past when I feel vulnerable and full of fear, my go-to poses are usually child’s pose, and deep forward folds. Poses that allow me a safe place to confront fear and uncertainty – a place to feel grounded.
As I delved deeper into my breath and body, I allowed myself to trust the process and let my body tell me what it needed.
I found myself in heart opener after heart opener!
As I moved through letting go of the fear, sometimes screaming or letting tears roll down my face, I realized that it felt like I was offering myself up to the greater good of humanity, or the universe, or whatever it was I was opening up to.
I honestly had to physically open my heart.
As my body was able to release the tightness and let go of the fear around my heart, I felt my mind open and my fear – my uncertainty of the future – was eased.
I could feel myself start to breathe. With breath came the understanding that I am okay, and that WE will be okay.
As the week has progressed, and reading article after article about what COULD happen, my biggest fear has been (and always will be!) the unknown and the loss of control. I think this is true for most of us.
Once again, the humbling answer is that we can only control ourselves.

How we choose to confront and subdue the fear is a choice.

This is a choice that we need to make consciously and deliberately in the coming weeks, months and years.
I believe that we must start showing our kids, our community members, and our country that we will not bow behind fear, hate and disrespect.
Is it not the greater challenge – and also the greater act of intelligence, power, and awareness – to maintain this deeper level of calmness that the Dalai Lama spoke of? Is it not our obligation as parents, individuals, and yogis to enact that which we practice and preach in yoga?
If we can choose to lift each other up, instead of pull each other down, we will survive as a strong, united country.
This begins by looking deep within our own hearts. Even if the hearts are shaking and scared, we MUST find a way to open them!
As yogi’s I propose a practice of heart openers with heart healing meditations so that we can move into the future with open hearts, open bodies and open minds.
The world needs us!!!

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Tiffany Leeson teaches alignment-based Hatha and Therapeutic Yoga in Steamboat Springs, CO. She has been practicing for 15+ years and earned her 500RYT certification from Sun and Moon Yoga in Virginia. Yoga came into her life after numerous surgeries, an autoimmune disease and many emotional traumas. Tiffany seeks to share the way yoga has helped her heal and restore body, mind, and spirit with others.

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