We’re living in crazy times at the moment, and everything has shifted to a new normal. That new normal is likely to last quite a long time.
Whatever your situation, you’re probably feeling very different to how you did just a couple of months ago. Maybe you’re a parent stuck at home with the kid(s), trying to work and maintain a sense of normality. Maybe you live alone and aren’t able to get out and enjoy your usual social activities. Maybe you’re missing friends and family and freedom. Whatever your experience, we’ve all had a taster of what it feels like to be isolated in the way that for many people is already normal.
The overwhelming feeling I’ve experienced during the lockdown is a sense of disconnection, and not just from other people but from myself. It’s so easy for me in times like this to just want to escape the discomfort or distract myself from it, and that tends to make me feel disconnected.
Before I became a yoga teacher, I had this idea that yoga teachers are always positive, walking on air, always had their shit together. Now I know that’s not true, and we are human just like everyone else. I also thought that when difficult things happened, getting on to the yoga mat and having a tough, sweaty practice would be the best way for me to ‘come back’ to myself. Also not true, as it turns out.
During this time, I’ve craved connection and there are two yoga-y things that I can tell you about that have helped me. The first is loving kindness meditation. It’s always been one of my favourites since I did a mindfulness course back in 2010, and the pandemic has finally given me the time to record one to share with you (that you can find here). It sounds hippy but it’s not – it’s practical, uplifting and really makes me feel connected to the outside world.
The second is yin yoga. I’ve found that my practice has slowed right down during this lockdown. I’ve dabbled in yin for a long time but I’ve found that the stillness of yin helps me to come inside, back to my own body and that means I can start to connect back again. I originally came to yin yoga because I wanted to be more flexible, and it can help with that, but really it’s about what happens when you’re in the posture – the resilience that you can develop, the mental wrangling that goes on, the direction of the breath.
I can’t say that this has been an easy time for me, as it has been for anyone – I’m desperately missing teaching in person, I’m finding parenting a toddler full time is testing my patience, I’m missing hugs, I’m missing friends and family, I’m finding the constant cooking and clearing up relentless, I’m worried about money (but lucky that my partner is still working full time). I’m also horrified to see this all unfolding, the people who are being forgotten and the gross inequality in the way that it’s being reported, treated and in how people are being supported.
I know though that this will eventually be over, and we’ll have learned lots about ourselves. Until then, I’m hanging on and trying to find things that feel right for now, and trying to reconnect. Hope you can too.
PS I’m planning a yin practice for my private yoga group in the next few weeks to share with you, so do get in touch if you’d like to join (free/donation based). If you fancy trying some yin at home before that, I love Norman Blair’s classes on Movement for Modern Life. Enjoy!