Manage emotion and stress with oil and water (43 minute guided Yoga Nidra meditation)

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meditation to relax

Welcome to day 3 of our guided meditations for optimizing mental and physical health.

I’m Marin McCue, founder of dope(a)me mind-body-life coaching. I teach, inspire and lead by example in how to slow down (to speed up). When we slow down thoughts, movements, brain waves and breath, we get access to re-training self-talk patterns and discover the innate healer within. Optimize your mental and physical health so you can be FIT for your unique contribution in this world!

Today we’re focused on techniques for emotion and stress management.

I like to use Michael Brown’s analogy of Oil and Water in a glass jar to help highlight the steps for managing emotions and stress. The way he articulates it:

“The core emotional experiences of the past that have an impact on our current experience are by their nature uncomfortable. Our automatic impulse is to push them out of our awareness so that we can get on with our life. This is called suppression and is achieved through sedation and control. This is akin to a jar full of water, as your authentic self, the awareness of our authentic true present nature. And the oil in the jar is the uncomfortable emotional, physical and mental experiences. Shaking the jar endlessly in an attempt to change our experience just mixes the water and oil so we can’t see where they separate. All our endless doing and thinking results in a murky mixture. Reactivity is shaking the jar. Response is allowing the jar to come to stillness, so we can slowly scoop out the oil. Put the jar down, watch it, and allow the oil to come to the surface.”

Support for managing emotion & stress (5 minute read / 43 minutes Yoga Nidra practice).

I have created an acronym to support the process of putting the jar down and scooping the oil off your pure authentic nature that is the water. Use the BRITA filter.

B – BREATHE a functional full body breath. Sit with a neutral spine and place your hands on your side ribs. You may prefer to lay in Savasana (or Corpse Pose) to help with calmness, relaxation and rest. Breathe in and assist the expansion of your belly, sides, back, ribs and chest. Your exhale is a full surrender and let go. Breathe like that for at least 30 seconds.

R – RECOGNIZE you have been triggered. Acknowledge you just “flipped your lid”. Soften as you remind yourself that you are a human having a human experience. Triggered by something external or internal, which has touched a wound and perhaps even surfaced a memory from your unintegrated past. Dismiss the “messenger” of the upset and send gratitude for the set-up. Following the re-action of blame or anger (or any other habitual re-action) is equivalent to accusing the mirror for the content of its reflection. Notice your impulsive reaction and settle back to create space for a mindful response.

I – IDENTIFY the emotion and the deeper iceberg of complex raw sensation beneath it. Where are you on the spectrum from Hyperarousal (Extreme Anxiety) to Hypoarousal (Shut down, depression, lethargy)? Where in your body and/or mind do you notice the activation? How would you label what you are feeling? Anxious? Angry? Frustrated? Disgusted? Fearful? Numb? Sad? Go deeper and meet the raw sensation beneath the emotion (i.e. temperature, tingles, weight, shape, familiar, numb, pricky, sharp, etc.).

T – TRACK IT! Be with and feel the sensations unconditionally. Witness the sensations that arise, move, shift, pulse, tingle, grow, transform, etc. Observe without judgement, without agenda, without manipulating it, without trying to fix, heal or understand it. Shifting from projection to integration. Allow these sensations to transform back into their true nature; energy in motion.

“The more somatic detail a person can give, the more presence they can sustain and have”

Prem Robin Campbell

A – ADDRESS IT. This is where it gets more complex. Depending on the situation, there are various avenues for this integrative phase. Upon moving through the previous stages, you have guided your nervous system back to safety, and your higher thinking capacities are back online. This is where we need to step into new habits of self-soothing and engage in conscious communication, rather than cover the emotion back up with our old coping mechanisms.

Here are four examples of how to address it.

1. Perhaps you are acknowledging something in your life that cannot change right now, or ever, and this process is an opportunity to wholeheartedly accept and love who and where you are now, while transforming your perspective from low consciousness to high consciousness with the tool of Heart-Brain Coherence.

Step 1: Focus your awareness on your heart.

Step 2: Feel what is real for you right now.

Step 3: Choose a high quality emotion you want more of.

Step 4: From your heart, feel the high quality emotion with each conscious breath.

2. Perhaps you need to step into a “difficult conversation” with someone. Once triggered you know that you don’t have access to your higher levels of thinking and may need to remove yourself for a few moments to get grounded.

“Instead of reacting to and venting at them, we might say ‘I could use a little time alone right now.’ Gracefully sidestepping our impulse to react takes courage because it requires dismantling our life long habit of knee jerking into drama.”

Michael Brown

Re-engage once you have the brain capacity to hold loving space for the other while sharing openly and honestly what is coming up for you. Engage in high-quality questions in your journal, in your pause before engaging outwardly, and step into conscious communication.

*What do I truly want from this interaction?

*I feel ______, When you _______, Because/I desire _______.

*The story I am making up is _________________.

*How can I show up for you in this? What do you need or desire from me?

3. Perhaps you have experienced a surfacing of an old trauma or emotional pattern from childhood, and can now use this as an opportunity to visualize yourself as 7 years old or younger standing in front of you emoting that charge. See your inner-child expressing fully what you are currently feeling inside, and practice holding loving space for that child as the emotion moves through to completion. Feel the sensations as you observe your inner-child being seen, loved and heard, without trying to fix, distract, or obstruct the process. Flexing the muscles of compassion and wisdom versus blind empathy with old patterns of fear, avoidance, or distraction.

4. Perhaps you are simply lacking nourishment from one or more of your core basic needs.

Check in:

Am I in need of sleep?

Am I dehydrated?

How has my nutrition been in the past 48 hours?

When was the last time I mindfully moved or built up a sweat from persistent physical effort? Who can I connect with for some fun or a 20 second hug?

When was the last time I took a few deep breaths outside in the fresh air?

The more you do this work, the less you will find the need to walk through each step, as the unfolding and reintegrating will happen in a smooth and intuitive way. You may find, over time, that simply pausing to breathe when triggered is all you need to release and re-integrate.

“Consistent application of this technique confirms that the quality of everything we experience in the world is a reflection of our current emotional condition. It proves experientially that realizing peace has nothing to do with the other party. An unbalanced adult is an unattended child, and feeling unconditionally integrates our discomfort.”

Michael Brown

Once you are in a comfortable position for the next 43 minutes, click on the link to my meditation below.

For more resources or support, please reach out to me at, or check out my website and upcoming program offerings at

This work can be much more efficient when done in group and with the support of a facilitator. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

Related posts can be found here.




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