Yoga is just about touching your toes and chanting, right? Wrong. Yoga is a versatile practice that can really come into its own during these intense times. Many normal parts of everyday life can become enormously more stressful when the conditions change. For example, doing any job comes with it’s stresses, these are amplified when you’re having to work from home or are at risk of losing your job all together, as many people are at the moment. Most of us have never experienced anxiety like this . Luckily, Yoga is well known for being able to help you relax and de-stress. Scientific studies have shown that having a regular yoga practice results in a significant reduction in cortisol production (the stress hormone)(1). Poses help to release the physical manifestations of stress and tension, for example, lots of people get tight hip joints when they are feeling stressed, by releasing these tight muscles the feelings of anxiety can be reduced. Breathing techniques are a key part of yoga, these help to quiet and still the mind by focusing your thoughts and imitating the way your body naturally breathes when you are already relaxed (i.e. deeply). One common yogic pranayama, Square Breathing, is used by members of the SAS to help stay calm during missions - if it can reduce stress on a battlefield I’m guessing pandemic pressure is no match for it!
Poses not only help you relax, they can help you get fit as well. The beauty of having a personal yoga practice is that you can make it you own - some days you may need a relaxing stretch out, while others you want to sweat away your worries. You can use your practice to build strength, stamina and cardiovascular fitness, depending on how you design it. This is even more important during lockdown; gyms are shut, classes are canceled and outdoors exercise can be risky, yoga is a great way to get active while also enjoying the many other physical, mental and spiritual benefits it has to offer. (for more ways to keep active take a look at 5 Ways to Keep Active During Lockdown)
I’ve found that lockdown has caused me to stop using my senses, sometimes I feel like a ghost drifting around the house unable to see, hear, touch or smell anything clearly. I’ve found that this numbing fog can be lifted by doing yoga. My practice helps me to get back in touch with my senses, my surroundings and most importantly my body. By being intune with your body you run less risk of injury while exercising, are more likely to eat healthier and sleep better, and feel more body positive. Yoga can also help you cultivate more awareness and acceptance of your emotions, a hard task when there’s so much going on.
Why not use yoga to fight off stress, build fitness and strength and become more aware of your senses, body and feelings during quarantine?
Yoga can help you make this lockdown experience a positive one - so why not give it a go or deepen your current practice?
I’m available to teach online private classes to help you find a style that suits you and have lots of other ongoing online classes - take a look!
Why not share this blog with others you think would benefit from yoga at the moment? (tag @floga_yoga) Or comment with how you’re finding your practice during lockdown?
Share the love and stay safe!