The Best Yoga Poses for Every Election Day Emotion

Yoga poses

Article By Jake Panasevich | Featured on US News

Your first order of business on Election Day is to get out and vote. Then, be ready to cry, scream and laugh at the circus that is about to unfold before our eyes. It likely won’t be the first time this campaign season you’ve ridden an emotional roller coaster. The debates alone had me feeling amused, then confused, then so enraged I stormed out of the room and let out an audible groan. So today, I’m hoping to channel my emotions more positively through yoga – and to help you do the same. Here’s how:

Emotion: Anxiety

  • Pose: Rag doll
  • How to do it: Stand at the top of your mat with your feet hips-width apart and facing forward. Fold forward and touch the floor in front of your feet. Bend your knees if necessary and hold your elbows with the opposite hands. Keep your legs active while your whole torso and neck surrender to gravity. Feel free to let your torso sway side to side like an elephant’s trunk. Relax your jaw and take three deep breaths in through your nose and out your mouth.
  • Benefit: Rag doll is a pose that creates a sense of complete surrender. It helps you stop stressing out and stop trying to control what you can’t. So if you find yourself becoming overwhelmed from creating hypothetical conclusions tonight, pause and try this pose. Practice letting go of expectations.

Emotion: Grief

  • Pose: Legs up the wall
  • How to do it: Lie on your back and move your hips about 10 inches away from the wall. Swing your legs straight up the wall. Flex your feet to align your legs and knees. Relax your arms at your side, close your eyes and take five to 10 deep breaths. After your third exhale, relax your feet and allow your whole body to soften down toward the floor. Then, let go of any controlled breathing and just be still. Allow your mind to shut off and receive the benefits of the pose.
  • Benefit: This is a restful, restorative pose that allows you to be still when you feel depleted from sadness. By elevating your legs up the wall, you take the stress off of your overworked lower body and alleviate the aches that come along with it. This posture helps you feel your grief deeply without reacting to it.

Emotion: Relief

  • Pose: Park bench
  • How to do it: Lie on your back with your legs straight out in front of you. Prop yourself up on your forearms so that your elbows are just slightly wider than your shoulders. Keep your legs strong. With an inhale, press down through your forearms to lift and broaden your chest. Tilt your head back so that your neck is a continuum of your spine, and look up. Take five deep breaths in this position and release.
  • Benefit: When you feel like the weight of the world is lifted off your back, you just want to lie back and soak it in. This pose feels like you are doing just that. It provides a sense of stability and, at the same time, a huge sense freedom in your upper back and shoulders, where you tend to slouch. When you hear the results you were hoping for, try this pose and savor it.

Emotion: Acceptance

  • Pose: Lizard lunge
  • How to do it: From lunge, lower your back knee to the floor gently and move your front foot wide enough so that both of your hands are on the inside of your front foot. Angle your front foot to point 15 degrees out, and make sure your front knee points in the same direction as your foot. As much as you can keep that alignment in your front knee, bend your elbows. As your hips open, lower your forearms to the floor and rotate your palms to face up. Anchor the inner edge of your front foot, widen your front knee and tack your front hip back toward the wall behind you.
  • Benefit: Despite the result of the election, life will go on. As challenging as it might be, it’s important to be receptive to whoever wins and his or her supporters. Otherwise, it’s easy to become resentful and depressed. A regular yoga practice can help you be less rigid and hip openers like lizard lunge are especially effective to release tension.

Emotion: Joy

  • Pose: Camel
  • How to do it: Kneel with your feet hips-width apart. Press down through your legs to create a lift all the way up through the sides of your chest. So long as you can keep that healthy lift in your lower back, arch your upper- and mid-back. Reach your hands to your heels, hold them firmly and shift your pelvis forward as a unit. Allow your neck to bend at the same rate as your spine. Hold camel for five deep breaths and root down to lift up as you let go with both hands at the same time.
  • Benefit: At some point during the election, you will hopefully experience happiness, even if it is only because the election is finally over. Camel pose is a great posture to relish that feeling. When you take a strong stance, it creates a mentality of fullness and confidence.

Emotion: Anger

  • Pose: Forearm plank
  • How to do it: From the top of a pushup position, lower both of your forearms to the floor with your elbows underneath your shoulders. Make sure you are long enough in your stance so your feet are vertical and your back is in a plank. Do not let your hips hammock toward the floor. Without moving your forearms or feet, draw them toward one another until you feel your core muscles engage. Relax your jaw, deepen your breath and soften your gaze. Hold this position for as long as you can while maintaining good form.
  • Benefit: When tension escalates this Election Day, invite more heat into your practice. Forearm plank demands that you stay fully present and challenges you to stay poised and use that anger to better yourself.