I work in a very busy environment, Colorado State University Health Network. Probably hundreds of students with different kinds of health, emotional, and behavioral issues are seeking help on a daily basis.
I learned in my holistic yoga practice and regular meditation how important it is to have few minutes a day to take a break and “let go” of all worries, plans, and tasks to regain the strength and empathy we all need to provide compassionate care.
With the semester moving to its midterm time, and with increased urgency and demand for our services, it was hard seeing my colleagues over last few weeks in states of exhaustion and tiredness, all stressfully awaiting the end of the week. I realized I can use the skills I have and skills I recently learned to help not only myself, but also my colleagues. I offered a lunch hour on one Friday to be a relaxing time for everybody to experience stress release with a pranayama exercise and ear acupuncture. Our (properly called) “Multipurpose Meeting Room” will change for 45 minutes to an oasis of calmness, reception, and relaxation. I sent an email to the staff and anxiously waited for the first week. Will anybody come?
To my surprise, 15 colleagues came, all with anxious expectations and some curiosity of what we would do.
Everybody received 10 thin sterile acupuncture needles in specific calming and detoxifying points in both ears and lied down on yoga mats in savasana. We proceeded with a few cycles of simple 3 part breath pranayama exercise, and I guided them through the imaginary of cleansing breath flowing inside their bodies for few more minutes. After that, just the relaxing music and sounds of regular breathing filled the space and time. The sensation of this unknown quiet, positive and calm energy, and almost synchronized breathing of all the people there made me smile. I have been in this room many times before, discussing the most urgent and life threatening emergencies, but today it was different. We changed the room as we changed the energy. After 30 minutes, I gently brought people back to reality and back to their bodies. I removed all needles and we closed the meeting as we did in our Holistic Yoga Teacher Training practices. Everybody went on with the rest of their day.
I started to receive emails the same afternoon, all thankful and grateful:
“I just can’t believe what 30 minutes in the middle of the day can do!”
“I’ve never felt as calm, as my mind never stopped working before.”
“I felt like I could go on for another week. I felt energized, focused and centered.”
And my favorite: “I wish we could do this every day.”
I proudly thought to myself, we all can do his every day…..maybe not with 10 needles in our ears…..but to find a quiet space, to ground ourselves, and by focusing on breath, we let go of our worries. Our minds will quiet down, recharge, relax and refocus.
I should say our Friday lunch hour meetings did not stop, as the interest and benefits continue to grow.
Thank you, Holistic Yoga, for giving me the courage to step outside of the usual me and to start to share my new skills with others!