In these extraordinary times it is so important to refresh our awareness that we must take exquisite care of ourselves and others. Many people are afraid and anxious, sick and lonely. We are focusing on Being Well and making choices that are in our best interest for living healthily and happily. This kind of consciousness serves as a guidepost for our lives, and allows us to be available to others who may not be as fortunate as us.
How Can We Navigate Current Circumstances
Everyday the best of people comes shining through, and we can easily see it now during this global pandemic. No matter where you look, great acts of generosity of heart are occurring. In my neighborhood, someone ordered 10 pounds of flour, because it was all she could get at the time. Now she’s passing the excess on, at cost, to people like a neighbor who is on a baking twist! She makes some of the most delicious looking pastries for Essential Community Workers as gifts every week.
Then there is the suffering we see: the conflict over political viewpoints and fake science that create drama and dissonance in our minds. In these moments our fear and anxiety can creep in and usurp our sense of peace. This duality is really on a continuum that is beyond our mind’s ability to fathom. We must call on our resources, within and without to anchor and uplift us.
Three Supports for Being Well
Create Some Structure - Maintain Steadiness
While sheltering in place, or during any time of uncertainty, having touch points throughout the day, week and month can serve as moors to keep you steady. Often we drop everything or add too much in, so it’s important to take a moment to breathe and recognize that change is happening, then respond in a way that will truly support you.
For example, just like a yoga or fitness routine leads you progressively or with counterposes, be conscious of how you set up your days. Perhaps you will choose to participate in the same online yoga class 3-5 days a week, serving as a great way to be sure you show up for yourself. Then, on the days you’re feeling vulnerable and want to escape you’ll have your routine to carry you, and you might even find that class you wanted to skip was just what you needed. Your present self will be very thankful to your past self that scheduled the classes.
Knowing you have touch points throughout the day is great for helping the mind stay quiet, and to give yourself the message that you are taking care. Having structure on a day when your soul needs soothing is an act of kindness for yourself.
If you miss a day or two. Just pick it up where you left off later in the day, or back at your regular time. No judgment, only love.
Adjust and Readjust aka Do What Makes You Feel Good
If there’s one thing Yoga teaches it’s that nothing is permanent except the Self. So we need to be willing to respond from that deepest sense of Self. Things are changing rapidly. This (r)evolutionary time reminds us of this yogic teaching - we can’t get too used to anything. If you’re feeling scared or anxious, you may need to let go of one of your favorite TV shows if it makes you nervous system get excited. Or, maybe give up mainstream news and take a foray into researching news from positive-minded outlets and choosing them.
The main point is to check in with yourself moment to moment, and to make decisions for yourself based on being the enjoyer of life. Even. In. These. Times. You are not meant to suffer or martyr yourself. Be ok with making changes to accommodate your needs and make sure, whatever you do, that your being responds by feeling peaceful, and consoled. From there, you are able to show up for people who are not as able to maintain their happiness when things are challenging.
Back to Basics
So many of us are still getting our feet on the ground and shifting with the adjustments in our schedules, relationships, and the “new normal”. Are you working from home for the first time? Some of our subscribers have shared that they are furloughed. This is a time to be sure you focus on getting your basic physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs met.
Diet and Exercise
Some of us yogis are reeeeallly into restorative. Others a vigorous yoga workout. Make sure you find a “counterpose” to keep energy moving. So if restorative is your thing, perhaps a brisk walk is in order (Remember your mask if required). For our ashtanga lovers, perhaps some quiet journaling would serve to keep an equilibrium in your world. Whatever it is for you, you’ll discover it enhances your regular practice and life immensely. Your mind and body will be supported so that your overall being is able to shine through.
I once heard that emotions can be described as energy in motion. Think of them as e-motion. We’re human, we’ve got a lot of them. The problems arise when that “e” doesn’t get any motion. Stuck and unexpressed they can be very damaging to us physically and mentally. So, make sure you’ve got your trusted friend, therapist or online group to express yourself freely, be seen and heard. Vigorous exercise and time on the mat are great tools in getting those emotions and their biochemical manifestations in our bodies flowing.
It’s one thing to show up to an online meeting and answer questions to “how are you,” but quite another to truly feel intimate with the person or people you’re speaking with. In yoga we talk a lot about connecting within. Yogic teachings also share that our world is an outer reflection of our inner state. So make sure you are connecting within. Meditation is the best way and is also another tool for moving emotions, especially if you’re familiar with self-inquiry. And, if it’s practical, also take a moment to connect in person with a neighbor or family member. (Maintain all safety measures as instructed.) They are probably needing some connection right about now, too.
There are mountains of research about sleep, and some really great apps to help regulate sleep. Just do it. Let your body and mind quiet into sleep. Head to bed a little earlier, see what time you wake up. They say the best time for yogic practices is 3-4am. With more sleep, you’ll feel more present and alive, accomplish more with less effort and so many other benefits.
Of course, being into yoga, we can’t just stop there. Research and great teachers both know that meditation is more restful than sleep. In meditation the mind goes into the theta state, gently gliding past the other levels of sleep. Here, the rest is said to be 2x the rest experienced from sleep. So, for most people we’re not saying only meditate. But you may want to rethink “cat nap,” because meditation is also a great tool to give the mind and body a compassionate reset.
Return to the Vision, Our New Reality
We are coming together as a yoga community and a world, and as we do, those of us who maintain a loving inner clarity and wisdom will allow the stitches in our international patchwork quilt to strengthen. Alone and together, we will discover what’s next from an inner holistic sense of being well. We’ll navigate our fears and losses together, observing the suffering in a way that transmutes it into an energy of global compassion and love. This vision is also our reality, if we choose to see it, and step into it. It is what is manifesting before us, and we are a part of it.