Everyone of us has been challenged by COVID-19 in different ways. It might be affecting our family life, work, our social life, and often our mental health. After all, it is unnatural for humans to keep a physical distance from each other, especially those close to us. There is a widespread feeling of uncertainty and associated fear of what the future might hold.

More than ever is has become apparent how we need to be able to ‘go with the flow’, as no one can predict how the future will be. Any planning ahead in both our private and work life is not fully possible. This is where Yoga can be of great help.

How Yoga can help both the newcomer and the seasoned practitioner

Lucky are those of us who have already an established Yoga practice. Especially now we are acutely aware of what precious tools this model of living is providing us with, making us able to better cope with the current situation.

Equally, those who are new to Yoga and are looking for an effective modality to help with their life’s challenges right now, will find great solace in this practice.

Physical discipline

There are some basic human needs we need to address to stay alive and function well. We need to feed and hydrate our body, keep it clean, rest it, wrap it up when cold, and equally, we have to ‘exercise’ the body. This is an aspect the asana or posture practice of Yoga covers brilliantly. In an enjoyable, challenging and also satisfying way, asanas detoxify and realign the body, keep it strong and flexible, purify our organs, blood, lymphatic system and nervous system. We all know too well that physical exertion makes us happy and contented. As well as the practice of Yoga asanas, we encourage mental awareness, sensitivity to our own needs and gaining a better understanding of our body. All of which is centering and deeply gratifying.

Many of us working from home will have experienced the negative effects of the lack of movement. To incorporate and schedule a regular Yoga practice into our day is vital, especially now.

Emotional wellbeing

Our emotional equilibrium is directly linked to our physical wellbeing. It is much easier to stay strong and balanced within oneself and equally compassionate and understanding, if we feel comfortable in our body. Even during times when our body presents us with challenges in the form of dis-ease, can we still perform an amended physical practice, supporting our healing. This in return affects our emotional state, and helps to stabilize it. Important too are the practice of Pranayama – breath control – and Meditation. They are essential and very effective in teaching us that true freedom is to be found within, without the need for external stimuli and constant gratification to create a sense of security. We won’t feel shaken so easily by external incidents. Pranayama and Meditation greatly assist in making us more independent from what is happening around us, providing us with emotional stability and strength.

Mental health and clarity

A topic often not talked about and presenting itself as ‘the elephant in the room’ – is our mental health. Undoubtedly a lot of us have been very shaken up by what has taken place in 2020. Uncertainty and existential fear can play havoc with our mind. I am always deeply grateful for our amazing practice when yet again, I receive confirmation from one of our Yoga students, who tells me how much the practice is helping their mental clarity, but more-so their mental stability. Especially those who were more vulnerable before the pandemic hit. They are in great need of support, which regular Yoga practice can safely provide them with. If you have a friend or acquaintance who comes to mind (thinking of the RU OK movement) maybe suggest they try some Yoga. You could bring them along to a class.

We are human beings and our physical state will affect our emotional and mental state and vice versa. Asanas, along with breath work and meditation i.e. states of deep concentration, make a lasting positive impression on our habitual patterns; altogether they help us stay firm and balanced in times of stress and uncertainty. Challenges can be faced with much more ease. With regular practice we not only keep ourselves healthy, but we can also have a timely good influence on others and be their support in difficult times.

And who would not want to feel the blissful joy which can be experienced during and after a Yoga practice, leaving us feeling the most delightful radiance.

OM Shanti,

Angelika

P.s. Come and do some Yoga!