Ground Alex Dawson: Tools to Thrive “I sense a collective shift in our capacity for empathy.” By Alex Dawson As the world grapples with the shift toward social isolation, managing pandemic-related stress, and an uncertain future, we at Wanderlust know that our greatest strengths are the wisdom of our leaders and the power of community. We have reached out to the lighthouses in our teaching community to share some succinct, actionable insights with our community, as well as to call on us to be bold and envision how this shift can create a better world. Because extraordinary times call for extraordinary leadership. COPING IN THE PRESENT All great healing moments begin with a pause and wow, are we in one of them together. I feel the waves of anxiety within myself and our world and I am digging deep into my tools. Here are a few I’d love to share with you. 1. Rumi Love: My dog, Rumi is my #1 healer and coping mechanism. And for anyone who doesn’t have a pet and is able to foster, I highly recommend having a furry friend around to care for and love. 2. Community Love: I feel unbelievable grateful that I can teach these two-way yoga classes on zoom. Staying connected and doing yoga has been a gift and a source of coping as I still feel a sense of community around me. Seeing the sweet faces of my students, some whom I haven’t been able to teach because they moved or my schedule changed is a highlight in my day. Often, students will stay on after the yoga practice and we will share as a virtual community. We bridge the gap and stay connected in this way. 3. Morning Love: Well, I’m single, but what I was gonna say… I really believe that how we start the day matters and can set the tone of our day. Even if we sense an off feeling, here is a tool I do upon awakening. Before my eyes open, I try to smile with my eyes from the interior space of the eyes, while they are actually closed. I turn the creases of the eyes up and then feel an ease pass through my forehead smoothing out any worry that I woke up with. 4. Evening Love: This is the hardest one and so important. I believe that how we end the day also matters. Getting off of technology is my biggest challenge. I feel sucked into a deeper vortex nowadays. So, what I’ll do is set my alarm and once I do that, I don’t get to check any more e-mails or social. Bonus if I take an epsom salt bath and play Yo Yo Ma. ANSWERING THE CALL I sense a collective shift in our capacity for empathy. This is what happens in the trenches of a battlefield and that is where we are right now. All of us together. I sense a deep exhale from many of us who have been running on fumes keeping up with the trappings of success, social media and technology. We need this exhale. Some are digging into creative work while others are getting quiet. Both have value. I hope the seeds I am planting now help me to continue answering my biggest call to my students. That I answer the burning question which is at the forefront of my teaching: ‘How can I help…’ I sense that what is important and impressive is changing. I think this will allow for a new wave of creativity and what is valued collectively in our world. Bearing witness to the real heroes through this crisis is humbling — it feels so beyond the 48 hour news cycle. I believe our collective value system will forever change in all of us who have a pulse and a beating heart. I will personally answer the call and go hug my friends & family! That is what I really can’t wait to do. Love More. Care Less (about the things that are not of real concern). In the meantime, I hope to stay connected and that we stay healthy and support each other as we move through this paradigm shift of our collective consciousness. Alex is an Atlanta native who is now an international yoga teacher based in Los Angeles where she teaches at Wanderlust Hollywood and Equinox. She’s been teaching yoga since 2002 and travels the globe leading her Dream Big Yoga Retreats and teaching at festivals. Her classes often create a retreat/festival-like vibe as she blends vinyasa with sound healing techniques included chanting and playing crystal quartz alchemy bowls. She recently released her EP, ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ of mantra music available on Spotify and iTunes. Off the mat, Alex starred in the New York Times featured web series ‘Namaste, Bitches.’ Connect with Alex on her website and on Instagram.