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GOOD’s In-House Yoga Teacher Shares How To Stay Zen This Election Day

Take a deep breath, it will all be over soon

Staying calm through mindfulness, meditation, or stress relief tactics intro: Today is the BIG day. The results are not in yet, but one thing is for sure—as a nation, we are experiencing significant stress from the current election. It doesn’t take an American Psychological Association survey to confirm this fact (although that happened). I’m pretty sure we all feel anxious today—to say the least. As a yoga instructor, I try and impart wisdom to my students in the form of quick tips and tricks we can actually use in everyday life. No yoga mat required. Here are a few of my favorites, to get you through today.

Right when you wake up:

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Release your morning tension with 10 deep breaths and a few gentle neck and shoulder rolls. Draw both shoulders up on an inhale and relax them down with a nice long exhale. Ahhhh, there’s nothing like starting the day off feeling centered.

Energize without the caffeine jolt:

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When you get in line at your polling place, you may be in for a wait. Instead of relying on coffee (who needs the extra jitters and a bathroom break, am I right?!), try this simple breath of fire exercise for a natural boost. Using only your nose, inhale and exhale briskly. Imagine you’re panting after a run, but keep your mouth closed. This breath pattern invigorates your body and mind, try it for 30 seconds and build up to a few minutes as you wait.

Make clear and balanced decisions:

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Great, you’ve finally made it to a voting booth! As you contemplate the ballot, rub both hands together briskly and press them together in a prayer pose. Repeat as necessary to balance out both hemispheres of your brain (if you’re in California you’ll need more than a few tries). This will help unite your analytical, emotional/creative, and technical sides, resulting in more thoughtfully considered choices.

Invite total calm as the results roll in:

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If you’re been following these tips all day, you’re practically a yoga ninja master, so here’s a next level breathing exercise for you: The one-minute breath. Using only your nose, breathe in to the count of 10, gently holding your breath for 10 and slowly exhaling for 10 counts. Add a few seconds each time (keeping each segment balanced) and slowly work your way up to 20 seconds for a total of one breath per minute. We’ll be here watching results for a few hours, so you’ve got plenty of time to practice.

No matter what happens, end your day on a relaxed note:

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Election Day is often full of surprises, excitement, and upsets. Rejuvenate your parasympathetic nervous system—aka your “fight or flight” mechanism—with a nice long savasana (corpse pose), lying still on your back for up to 10 minutes. This doesn’t mean pass out on the floor (although you might, and that’s ok).

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