In these our dark days of quarantine, some of us feel inspired to learn. Some feel motivated to get things done we normally wouldn't. some of us are cooking and baking masterful treats! Some cry a few times before getting our feet on the floor in the morning, and then several more times though out the day.Some of us are binge watching, drinking, and eating. Some of us can't bring ourselves to do anything, let alone exercise.
Let me tell you, I get it! This all began as a great positive time to get my life in order and take a break. However, the deeper we go into this thing, the more uncertain and hopeless I begin to feel.
I took my first facetime yoga with my friend and teacher, Lena, at the start of my second week of quarantine and felt thankful for my practice and the time I was gifted to invest in minding my body. I felt refreshed and on track mentally and physically and ready to take full advantage of this break.
It was brilliant and casual and comfortable in my own living room, with my fire heater on (giving me a hot yoga feel) and incense burning. There were no expectations or standards, this was new for us both. At first we felt a little strange. I felt odd Knowing my body and all of it's potential awkward ungracefulness would be flopping around filling her whole screen! However, that feeling passed very quickly as we began a guided yoga flow with verbal assurance, descriptions, and corrections. I honestly feel I learned more in this one on one facetime than I ever have in a group class. I was able to call out to her when I didn't know the proper name of a pose, or stance I was meant to be in. Things I'd never feel comfortable asking in a large group. In classes, I tend to watch what everyone else is doing and imitate, with no regard to whether or not my practice is correct. We were able to freely laugh out loud when something was particularly hard or frustrating for either of us (it is not easy for an instructor to articulate a yoga bind or motion without being able to make physical corrections). Again, something I would never allow myself to do in a full class. I was comfortable with sharing what I couldn't do, and showing off what I could. In a studio class i would typically revert to child's pose and never speak up if I needed help. I would also never feel comfortable pushing my limits with a skill I am learning or a pose I'm experimenting with. All of these typical social blocks I had been allowing to stifle my practice up until this point!
A month went by with no exercise. My fears and anxiety grew rapidly as the circumstances of the pandemic became more alarming, and I lost my grip on the productivity and optimism I had when this all began.
My second at home yoga was almost a full month later in a large Zoom class. I didn't want to attend. It was the only thing I did all day and it started at 5:45 PM. Yet, somehow I could still hardly bring myself to open my laptop and unroll my mat. We began class by saying hello, then muted ourselves for class while Lena instructed, and ended with sound on for a group "namaste".
Let me tell you, if you only do one workout a month for the rest of your quarantine, or even the rest of your life, let it be a yoga class. And do not feel discouraged by not being able to attend a class in person. There was still such a gorgeous sense of community.
Some of the beauties of this group virtual class were personal. I felt I was not being observed or judged by my classmates (being we were each a mere one inch block on a screen and very much focused on our individual practice). With my block on mute, I was able to eliminate my inhibitions that sometimes serve as a barricade in the depth of my practice. Nobody was listening to me grunt, fall, fart, and giggle my way through my poses.
Some of the benefits were social. I met new people after class, something I rarely do in the studio, not because people are unwelcoming, but because we as a people of our time have become so fast paced, and I always feel I am interrupting someone's tight schedule by asking them to pause after class. This is not the world we are currently living in. Not many of us have anywhere to be or any semblance of our previous chaotic schedules.
My point here being, if your mind or body are not at ease or being utilized as usual, you are not alone and you don't need to feel guilty. But you also deserve better from yourself, even in this grief.
Do not be afraid to try something new. This is a wonderful time to experiment with exercise, and hone your skills before returning to a group class environment. Remember, you don't need to be a gym rat or an athlete to be one fit witch! However, unique and individualized exercise is critical.
I hope everyone is staying well, and please reach out to my two favorite Yogis, Lena & Mallory, to inquire about where to begin. Please share your experiences and any fun or different workouts you've been doing to stay occupied and in shape during these very strange times!
Namaste six feet away, my fit witches!