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Here is a simple technique you can do for yourself whenever you wish to tone down your anxiety. With the current state of the world and its impact on our lives, this may be a useful tool for your toolbox.

My friend and yoga colleague, Terri Shuck, of Let Your Yoga Dance fame introduced it to me. It is called “Havening,” as in creating a safe haven for yourself, and was first described by Dr Ronald Ruden (

Here is an example of an aspect he calls “self-havening,” where you can use the tool to bring calm to yourself in minutes:

  • Notice when you are feeling anxious, tense, or upset and rate the level from 1 to 10 (1 being calmest and 10 being most tense.)

  • Cross your arms and place each hand on your outer shoulders

  • Over and over, slowly stroke down your outer arms from shoulders to elbows with long exhales on the down strokes.

  • With each downstroke repeat to yourself, “I am calm and relaxed.”

  • When you are ready, rate your level again from 1-10.

According to Dr. Ruben, Havening uses soothing touch to activate serotonin (the feel-good chemical) in the body. He says Havening can literally change the landscape of the brain from habits of anxiety to habits of calm.

I have found this tool helpful for myself and a few friends. Perhaps you will find it useful, too.

This week in yoga we will enjoy various approaches for calming the nervous system as we stretch and strengthen the body and bring greater peace to the mind and spirit.

“I am calm. I’m cool. I’m a cucumber.” ― Saffron A. Kent, Medicine Man

“Mindset is everything. Like the eye of a storm -find the sunshine and calm within you, even if there is chaos outside of you.” ― Brittany Burgunder

“If the road ahead is complicated, you will make it even more complicated when you panic! The calmer you are, the simpler the world will be!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

“When you are now and here, calm is everywhere.” ― Abhijit Naskar

“Calm mind begets clear thinking.” ― Bert McCoy

“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.” —Pema Chodron

Hope to see you at Willow Street Yoga from 11am until 12:30pm on this and every Wednesday for our in-person class. You can sign up in advance at or at the door.

<3 Kathy


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