This 45-minute de-stressing session is designed to melt away any election-related anxiety.

By Faith Brar
November 05, 2020
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Credit: @phyllicia.bonanno

The impending results of the 2020 Presidential Election have Americans feeling impatient and anxious. If you're searching for ways to relax and tune-out, this 45-minute calming sound bath meditation and grounding yoga flow is all you need.

Featured on Shape's Instagram Live, this class was designed by New York City-based yoga instructor Phyllicia Bonanno and is all about helping you find inner peace. "Combining yoga and sound healing together is the perfect balance of the mind and body," says Bonanno. "It allows you to come into the practice with an open heart and open mind, ready to flow."

The class starts with a 15-minute calming sound bath where Bonanno uses crystal singing bowls, ocean drums, and chimes to create different sound frequencies — all of which help relax your consciousness. These rhythms are also paired with a guided meditation where Bonanno further promotes internal healing. "The goal is to use the sounds to put you into alignment and balance within yourself," she says. (Related: Here's Everything You Need to Know About Sound Healing)

During this portion, Bonanno also encourages you to let go of the things you cannot control. "This is so important because once you relinquish that control, you surrender to all of the things that you are worthy of receiving in life, which is happiness, joy, and connection," she shares. Overall, the sound bath should help calm your mind so that you "come into your practice from a place of reflection versus a place of reaction," explains Bonanno.

From there, the class moves into a 30-minute yoga flow focusing on poses that ground you, but also make you feel strong and balanced at the same time, she says. The session ends with a Shavasana to help your body and mind return to baseline. (Related: Try This 12-Minute Yoga Flow for a Happy, Calm Mind)

A little bit about Bonanno: The yogi and co-founder of Sisters of Yoga first began practicing yoga while in high school. The eldest of seven children, Bonanno was raised by her grandparents as her mother suffered from addiction. "I struggled with the feelings of not feeling loved and wanted," resulting in years of pent-up anger and frustration, she explains. For some time while growing up, Bonanno turned to creativity (i.e. drawing and other forms of art) as an outlet for her emotions. "But by the time I was in high school, I felt like art wasn't cutting it anymore," she shares. "I also needed a physical release, so I tried yoga and it worked for me; it was exactly what I needed." (Related: How Doodling Helped Me Cope with My Mental Illness — and, Ultimately, Start a Business)

It wasn't until recently, however, that Bonanno got into meditation and sound bathing. "You'd think that after doing yoga for such a long time that meditation would come easily to me, but it didn't," she says. "It was very difficult. When you sit there in silence, everything you've suppressed starts coming up to the surface, and I didn't like that feeling."

But after attending her first sound healing class, she realized that meditating didn't have to be so challenging. "The sounds just washed over me and distracted me from my mind chatter," she explains. "I could actually focus on my breath and my meditation. So I started incorporating that into my own practice." (See: Why I Bought My Own Tibetan Singing Bowl for Meditation)

What Bonanno admires most about sound healing is that it's universal. "Anyone can experience it," she says. "You don't have to combine it with something physical like yoga. You can literally just sit there and close your eyes because there's no wrong or right way for you to do it. Sound bathing allows everyone to connect, and I think that's so powerful."

With tensions being high across the country, Bonanno has been using her practice to remind people to spend time taking care of themselves. One such way? Her 45-minute calming class, through which she hopes you can find some inner peace. "Whatever you experience in the practice or during the sound bath, you can always come back to that feeling," she says. "That place of calmness, relaxation, and happiness is within all of us at all times. It's just up to you to recognize that space is within you." (Related: How to Distract Yourself and Stay Calm While Awaiting Election Results, According to Your Sign)

If nothing else, Bonanno encourages you to take a moment and breathe to help tame anxious and overwhelming thoughts. "Even if you take a few minutes out of your day, come to a place where you can just sit for a moment, concentrate on your breathing and be one with yourself," she says. "The breath will pull you through."

Head over to the Shape Instagram page or hit play on the video above to access Bonnano's sound healing and yoga experience. Want to sweat out your election stress instead? Check out this 45-minute HIIT workout that will empower you to conquer whatever comes your way this week.

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