The arise of the COVID-19 pandemic has issued an enormous wake-up call across the globe.
It is clear that the anxiety, fear and panic that this virus has brought about, along with who it is infecting, does not discriminate.
In a time like this, it is easy for yoga teachers, practitioners and influencers all around the world to argue that what we need now, more than ever, is the practice of yoga. And while yoga can be seen as a refuge for many, yoga is not an escape from the world nor the current climate.
I believe that this universal disruption, as painful as it may be, is an opportunity, unique to each individual. It is educating us on the difference between reacting and responding. It is an opportunity to evaluate the things we have taken for granted for so long, and a chance for us to look beyond ourselves to see what truly matters.
While in a time like this, it is crucial for us to stay home, to care for and protect ourselves, our loved ones and the ones around us, it is just as important for us to be innovative and discover ways to stay connected and continue holding space for each other.
As practitioners and teachers of yoga, we spend our lives cultivating the tools and resources to align our mind, body and spirit in order to raise ourselves to higher levels of consciousness.
All of the teachings and beliefs that have taken root in our being through our yoga practices are already in us, and can help not only us teachers and practitioners, but also the ones around us navigate our fears.
As we hold onto our fears, we create knots in our stomach and aches in our shoulders. Our fears can make us as ill as a virus can. And while human connection is vital, technology is providing us with the opportunity to stay connected during trying times like these.
Technology is what’s keeping us going.
Whether you are a veteran yoga teacher or an aspiring practitioner, I want to offer to you some things that my yoga practice has offered me.
1. Acknowledge how you feel
Allow yourself to experience and feel through all of the emotions that are trying to make a home out of your mind. Then, take a moment to step back and witness your thoughts and feelings first hand, rather than just feeling them. Witness all of them.
Avoid letting fear, stress and anxiety hinder you from achieving clarity of mind and regress all of the work you’ve put into working towards some sort of enlightenment. It’s okay to be stressed, sad and even panicked. However, you have the power to control your thoughts and feelings. Do not let them control you.
2. Acknowledge your resources
Technology is affording so many of us the opportunity to continue learning, working and living while practicing social distancing. While human connection is vital, we can still make and hold space for others during this trying time.
Explore digital tools, from online yoga classes to shared movie-viewing platforms. Take this time to strengthen your practice, join a virtual community, and use what yoga has given you off the mat to help others.
3. Acknowledge your losses
Yoga is a practice rooted in consciousness. So you heard me correctly, acknowledge your losses. All of them. Then, immediately move on. Focus on what is important– what you have.
Evaluate what is truly important to you and your life. Look at what you DO have and not simply what you’ve lost. Look at what you can gain.
4. Acknowledge your opportunities
Understand what sort of self care you need in a time like this. Educate yourself. Keep up with your personal practices. Explore how you can put your years of yoga practice into play to stay connected and support each other.
The stress related to this uncertainty can reck havoc on our health and our life. Put your asanas, your meditation and breath work, your essential oils and other beliefs and practices to work. Take this time to reflect, reset, optimize your immune system and support your community.
All of that being said, unless you are a qualified medial professional, do not give advice beyond the scope of your own knowledge and practice. We all have different areas of emphasis. Yoga is one of mine. And while everyone is different, I am providing you with things that have helped me. Take my words as you may. Continue supporting each other. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
The Sanskrit term anitya, or impermanence seems awfully signifiant in a time like this. Whatever you do, whatever you feel, remember the only constant in our lives is change. This is not permanent.
Be safe, healthy and grounded,