When it comes to Yoga, everyone has their own prefered style and place to practise. Whether you’d rather just have a bit of a stretch in a Yin class, or you dedicate an hour each day for a heated Flow, or you simply prefer to focus on the more internal practice of meditation or Restorative Yoga, right now we all share the same setback in getting to class: social-distancing.
Lockdown. It’s what we’ve been fearing for some time now, and yet it seems to have hit us out of the blue. The government’s calls for social distancing have required all gyms, fitness centres and Yoga studios to shut down, leaving even the most committed of Yogis without a place to practise. It’s certainly frustrating being told you can no longer participate in doing something that you love, or having to self-isolate because you or members of your family are showing symptoms of Covid-19. The sad reality is that this virus spreads aggressively from person-to-person and right now any contact with another human can put you at risk, regardless of your state of health or how strong your immune system is.
At One for All we strongly believe that to get through these dark times – and no one knows quite how long it will go on for just yet – it is even more important to look after your wellbeing and to stay strong both physically and mentally. A daily Yoga workout is truly in a league of its own when it comes to strength and balance exercises. It’s also really important to use movement and activity as a way of breaking up your routine. When you throw meditation, Yin, and Restorative into the mix, your sleep will improve and you will feel much calmer as you become accustomed to activating the parasympathetic part of your nervous system, getting out of fight-or-flight mode. Since the aim is to minimise stress, it might be worth trying one of these more passive classes out even if it’s never really been your thing, especially if the lockdown is making you feel agitated, anxious or annoyed.
It’s worth remembering, especially at times like this, that Yoga is not going to fix all of your problems! But it’s a great way to get a sense of grounding, peacefulness, and focus at a time when you’re stuck indoors and everything feels out of control. So we’ve come up with a schedule that we hope delivers the basics to get you through this period of isolation. We have a 30 min non-guided meditation each morning at 6am to get you started for the day, seven Flow classes throughout the week, two Yins, one Restorative, a weekly Nidra and a guided evening meditation once a week for those of you who don’t do mornings. If you don’t have a Yoga mat at home, feel free to practise on a towel or a blanket when you’re close to the ground and you can stand straight on the floor or carpet when it comes to the more dynamic standing practices and vinyasas. If you’re feeling the pinch during this period of uncertainty, we have a new Online Membership option of just £10/week Unlimited classes so drop us an email if you’d like to sign up.
It’s important to practise self-care when you’re social-distancing – and in these circumstances doing whatever you can to keep a sense of normality can be regarded as self-care! Take the time to look after yourself and set some good habits for when life returns to normal. If you do get unwell or are unable to do more physical Yoga for any other reason, you may want to just focus on establishing a regular meditation practice. If or when you’re up to it you can begin to incorporate some Yin and Restorative Yoga into your week to just get enough basic physical activity that will help to release pain and improve movement in inflamed or tired muscles, joints and tissues. This can essentially aid the recovery process by increasing blood flow into a fatigued and stressed body and a little movement will also aid in detoxification.
Practising a Flow class each day will be a strategic addition to the short walk or outdoor exercise that is currently permitted in these challenging times. Each class will include breathing, stretching and postures that articulate the spine and create space in the body – giving you the skills to improve breath control and develop mental focus. If you are able to focus on the instructions being given and rely less on looking at the screen to see what the teacher is doing you will find it much easier to experience the practice through your body and your attention will be much sharper. Some of the simplest looking postures are actually the most difficult to perform correctly so listening to the instructions being given and feeling how that translates into your body can give your practice a real boost, enabling you to gradually progress to more challenging postures.