The massacre in Las Vegas is among the deadliest mass shootings in the history of our country. We see and sense tragedy everywhere. Over and over, we find ourselves asking, "How do we begin to absorb such horror—let alone manage it—when we, or those close to us, are directly involved?"
As I walked into my yoga class this morning, I passed a close friend sitting on her mat, rocking back and forth. Kneeling beside her, I saw that she was crying. When I reached out to her, she fell into my arms like a child. I suggested we leave; we went to the car, and she told me her story.
On Sunday, she'd finished a long hike at Bryce Canyon, driven into Las Vegas, and stopped at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino for lunch. She and her friend hung out at the hotel, mingling with the crowds attending the Harvest Country festival. Today, on her way to class, she heard the news about the Las Vegas shootings. They happened only two hours after she left.
In the face of tragedy, we try to speak because so often we rely on words to connect, to reach out, to make sense of the incomprehensible. In our own pain and distress, we use words to try to give meaning to things that feel meaningless.
My friend and I spoke for a long time. She said, "There is no way to process what has happened right now." I told her I would sit with her and listen to anything she wanted to say. I promised I would keep her company, even if she just wanted to sit in silence.
At some point, I noticed she was holding her breath. I reminded her of the first lesson of yoga: Keep breathing.
That moment triggered me to consider the lessons of yoga, and I realized that the practice offers great wisdom and solace to those who would seek it. Here are the yogic principles that I lean on when I feel completely overwhelmed: