Embracing Yoga Life Under the COVID-19 Lockdown -1

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The global coronavirus pandemic has got most of our lives to a grinding halt. For some it may come across as a good break, for some who are on duty 24/7, this is a nightmare, for some who rely on daily wages, the lockdown seems more life-threatening than the disease, and for most of us who are working from home, the biggest challenge is to handle all the changes and stay ahead of daily stressors. 

Be it work overload, relationship issues, withdrawal symptoms, keeping children occupied and happy, planning finances, cooking and cleaning…the list of stressors is endless for most of us who are now working from home, including fitness and wellness consultants and yoga teachers, as we have to a new work environment, to new technologies and despite social distancing, stay connected with our colleagues, with our customers, students, etc. 

If you have been following our story-of-a-yogi feature, you will agree that choosing the path of yoga in personal and professional life has been one of the most satisfying and life-transformative decisions for most of our featured yogis. Like you, they are locked in, some at home, some away from home, some had to cancel their ongoing classes and close down their studios and some had to cancel their upcoming retreats. 

Amidst all this uncertainty, they have to remain motivated to continue their daily practice and upgrade their skills to make online teaching sessions effective. We are grateful to each one of them for their contribution towards our Embracing Yoga Life Under the COVID-19 Lockdown blog and our on-going Live Interviews with yogis at 6 pm IST daily.  The following are some useful tips and much-needed inspiration for you to either start yoga or make yoga a part of your daily routine. 

Rebecca, Goa, India 

How are you spending your days during this lockdown?

Hi, I am in Goa with my partner, Wilfred and 6-year-old son, Jay. During this lockdown, our day starts with a morning yoga practice. I then start homeschooling with my son for a few hours which we try to make as fun as possible. Then it’s lunchtime and afternoons are spent playing/being creative or baking and we try to get outside each day for a little walk around the empty field next to our house. 

We try to keep a routine, which makes it easier to get through this challenging time. Sometimes we watch a movie in the evening or do some calming yin or restorative yoga. We are also teaching yoga on Zoom to people around the world so this is a really positive way to spend our time. I also personally spend time reading and studying. 

What is your yoga routine like?

My yoga routine starts every morning after a hot drink. I usually do a lovely free embodied flow-practice to music whilst my partner practices Ashtanga and my son plays around with kids yoga. Every day I practice Yoga Nidra for 30 minutes or meditate, which is really helping me to feel more grounded and calm in these days of uncertainty. Some afternoons or evenings I practice either Yin or Restorative Yoga to calm the mind and ease any tension in the body. 

Any other tips or suggestions for others?

I would recommend having some sort of routine, eating light and healthy, moving your body every day doing yoga or something else that feels good and taking time to be with yourself, to sit and look inwardly and get to know yourself at a deeper level.

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Gowri, Bangalore, India

How are you spending your days during this lockdown?

I’m very prone to anxiety so I’ve learned to deal with it by setting structures and routines for myself. I’m an introvert, so being by myself and spending time at home is not much of a challenge for me. But also, work and everything is at a standstill so it’s important for me to keep my routines sorted, which of course includes my yoga practice. 

I practice yoga both in the morning and in the evening. 

Generally, days have been rather fast-paced, so this is a perfect time to slow down and really observe and do all the “lazy” things that we don’t get to do usually. 

Other than yoga, I do a lot of reading, a lot of binging on TV shows, spending time with my dogs…I’m also a musician, I play the drums for a rock band and we’ve been using this time to compose and find other creative ways to keep connected in music. 

What is your yoga routine like?

So, being a yoga practitioner I’m sure all of us have struggled with “self-practice” and “self-discipline”. Especially now, even with online classes available, it’s hard to be disciplined with no one being physically present to watch and guide you. 

When the lockdown had started my practice was all over the place. If my body cooperated my mind wouldn’t and if my mind cooperated my body wouldn’t. I took a step back and then just started tending to what was needed. Some days I would only do pranayama to calm my mind, even if my body was agitated. Some days I would do a strong vinyasa to tend to my body even if my mind was all over the place and surely enough, it worked out very well. 

And slowly as days past by, the practice started getting stronger. Routines helped. 

I do strong vinyasa in the morning 

And a light Hatha and pranayama in the evenings. 

Any other tips or suggestions for others?

This is a difficult time, for people who are doing work from home and for people who do not have the option of work from home. 

It can take a toll because you spend a lot of time with yourself and with your mind. 

The mind can be evil sometimes and it can be a struggle. 

The one tip I have is to treat your day like you would without the lockdown. 

Set routines – a good strong mindful morning routine and a relaxing night routine 

Also, we are all safe at home and not stuck. We are so privileged to be safe and having to do these things even during a pandemic like this.

Gratitude is the best tool. 

Another important thing is to know that we don’t have to be “productive” every minute of every day just because we have all this time. This guilt of not making use of this time has a lot of pressure on everyone. 

Do nothing. It’s completely okay! 

Take a long nap, sit and watch the sky, sit and watch the trees. It’s okay. 

I do it sometimes and it really feels good. 

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Hem Singh Rathore, Hyderabad, India

How are you spending your days during this lockdown?

I am focusing on things that matter to me and somehow I couldn’t find time earlier. My days include practicing more of Hatha Yoga and designing new sequences in power/vinyasa for my clients. I am experimenting these days, from Qi-gong basics to martial arts (Wing Chun) to Yoga to strength training… and it’s quite promising.
I am trying to keep up my practice daily and also getting to know myself more these days.
 

What is your yoga routine like? 

I practice sukshma vyayama and then move into sun salutations, daily. After 1 hour of exploration, I practice vinyasa as it appears to me during my practice. Sometimes it’s about inversions, backbends, forward bends or twists or sometimes just Yin Yoga. 

Any other tips or suggestions for others?

Utilize this time well. Practice more than usual & try to understand what you really want in life. Be an enthusiast, a seeker – try to find solutions. 

Workout & help others with their journeys too. Keep moving…

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Ashok and Sunder, KhushiseYoga, Mumbai, India

How are you spending your days during this lockdown?

This lockdown has given us time to read more yoga scriptures and practice more yoga. We believe we should look for positive things as worrying leads to Chitta vrittis (mental modifications). And following the yoga path is all about working towards cessation of mental modifications. 

Also, we have finally found time for creating yoga videos for our youtube channel (khushiseyoga) which our clients always requested for reference after the corporate sessions. We have reached out to individuals as well as corporates for live yoga and meditation sessions for their employees during these stressful times. 

What is your yoga routine like? 

We start our day at 6 am and practice yoga for an hour, which is followed by a live yoga session. Day time goes in self-study and cooking new dishes since we are foodies too! We have some corporate evening sessions, if not we do our self-practice, followed by dinner and meditation before bedtime. We also use the time to interact and bond with our clients to get their feedback and improvise. 

Any other tips or suggestions for others?

To the yogis, explore different styles of yoga since a lot of yogis across the world are offering yoga sessions and such interactions will help define your idea of Yoga and its practice.

To the general public, find a new hobby (be it yoga, meditation, dance, art or any other skill) and practice and learn with your family. There are many instructors for the specific skills you want to learn who are now taking online classes. Spend quality time with your loved ones and use the time to heal yourselves. Eat healthy, be happy and stay positive.

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Saswati Barman, Assam, India 

How are you spending your days during this lockdown?

Difficult and boring as it may seem, it has become our responsibility to stay in and keep ourselves and others safe in this pandemic that has the entire world in its grip. Initially, it felt like quite a daunting task to be cooped up in this 21 day lockdown period. I usually have a very active work schedule where my days start at 4 am in the morning and end at 10 pm (with a little siesta squeezed in between). 

However, once I accepted the reality of the current situation, it became much easier to plan my day ahead. I am taking this lockdown as an opportunity to get into deeper self-practice, take classes for my regular students via Zoom, read books, cook, clean the house (I am done with my spring cleaning!), catch up with friends and families some of whom I have not been in touch with for quite a long time, watch interesting shows on Netflix, maintain my journal and sleep— a lot! Besides my yoga, I have started power walking every day on my terrace for an hour in the evening.

What is your yoga routine like?

As against my 4 am routine, these days I am getting up at 5.30-6 am. I have been practicing yoga for 1-2 hours daily, which mostly consists of warm-ups, Surya Namaskar, asanas and lots of pranayamas. I try to have different asana schedule every day. So in a way, this lockdown has made it possible to spend more time in self-practice. 

I fell my practice has become deeper and I have become more mindful of every move. I believe a lot in chanting and have been chanting Maha Mrityunjay Mantra regularly. I end my daily practice with pranayamas followed by a long meditation. Meditation has been instrumental in keeping me positive and anxiety-free in these trying times.

Any other tips or suggestions for others?

Practice mindful yoga daily even if it is for 15 minutes, read and maintain a journal, pick up a hobby, be mindful of what you eat, reach out to your family, friends, and colleagues and please don’t hesitate to help those in need.

I think we all should take this lockdown period as an opportunity to look within ourselves, be patient and kind to one another, cultivate the art of forgiveness and become non-judgemental. Life is short and we don’t really know what the future has in store for us, so let us live this life in peace and harmony. Slowing down is also a blessing in disguise. Spread the love!!!


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