It’s been a challenging time for everyone these last few weeks, with coronavirus part of every conversation and now we are all isolated in our homes it’s become even more scary and real.
My personal challenges started with the charity I work for closing their London office last week, all our events and fundraising plans up in smoke. Then the yoga studio had to close, and I had to quickly learn to teach my classes and workshops online. I am already missing not being able to see my friends and family, not being able to go out sailing (or anywhere else) and the worry that my husband as a front line nurse is already exhausted after days of 12 hours plus days and this is now… we all know more is to come.
For others, the challenge of home-schooling kids, financial concerns as well as extreme health anxiety over this pandemic must seem beyond overwhelming.
I should know better but I have got caught up in the drama: watching the news too much, being on Facebook too much, obsessively shopping (last week) taking my colleagues anxieties on board as we all had to shift to working from home, dealing with friends extreme anxieties. Even working out how to live stream and upload classes has been a bit challenging and a learning curve for me (I have never taught online before and I really miss teaching in person). Cancelling classes and yoga events (like the yoga weekend I have worked so hard towards taking place in early May) has been so sad. I can’t help but be disappointed about cancelling my trip to India to do the Reiki and Sound Healing training, I should have been arriving in Rishikesh today.
I have joined the masses in feeling anxious, unsettled, stressed, frustrated, even angry and I have forgotten to stay present. Catastrophizing does me no good, no one knows the outcomes of this or the future.
This is just a reminder that the structures/controls /routines we place around ourselves are not permanent… nothing is. We are standing on shifting stands, and really the only choice we have is to either ride the waves (using yoga, meditation and other techniques to stay as present as possible) or we allow the shifting sands and the impermanence of everything to affect us so badly we are living in such fear we can't live in the here and the now.
In the last few days, I have realised I have the knowledge and skills to get back to a more even keel I just need to do the work – I need to practice what I preach to others!
Here are my thoughts on what I need right now, maybe you can relate to some of these too.
I need to move every day - yoga, or other exercise
I need to meditate every day – however hard that might be.
Meditation and Yoga are not only great for your mental health but can
boost the immune system (do google that for research papers to back up my words!).
I need to continue to journal every day - letting go of the day and setting my intentions for the following day, and finding something (or many things) to be grateful for every goddamn day
I need to get outside in the garden (or walk from my house) every day
I need to listen to calming music and sing along to my chanting music (which makes me happy!) every day
I need to use my time wisely - I have a whole host of yoga/other books to read, poses to practice, a piano to play and house and garden that has plenty of jobs to keep me busy!
I need to keep connections – arrange to meet friends and family virtually as often as possible
I need to keep in touch with older relatives and be available to help if needed
I need to minimise news and social media and choose what I watch on TV wisely
I need to eat well, sleep well and stay as present as I can, as often as I can.
I need to allow myself to be sad, angry, fearful as well as joyful, fulfilled and calm with no judgement but not allow these emotions to consume my life here and now.... with the understanding that every day will be different
I need to remember why we practice, remember why the mat or meditation cushion is my safe space to laugh, stretch, sweat, cry or scream – whatever I need to do.
I’m so grateful to have the practice and I'm so grateful still be able to teach others through these most challenging times.
I hope you found some of these ideas helpful - these are just my ideas and may not be right for you. We will all need to find our own way through the weeks to come.
Namaste to you all