During this extraordinary time I will write a post every now and then about how we can keep our heads above water when we’re stuck at home. This is a perfect time to incorporate a lot of yoga practices and wisdom! These first few days of the quarantine are perhaps the most difficult and important as we make sense of the sudden changes and begin to structure our time in new ways.
Life has suddenly taken a turn for the strange. Not only is the constant onslaught of news about this global pandemic disturbing, the changes in our lives in accordance with the restrictions can also be unsettling. Many of us are now housebound with family members or alone and we’re facing unfamiliar CHANGE, which in the most normal of times can cause a rise in stress levels.
When we get stressed our body produces the hormone cortisol, which helps us process stressful situations. But too much cortisol for too long can be very harmful to the body and mind, leading to weakened immunity, weight gain, bad sleep, high blood pressure, low energy, short temper, and negative thoughts.
Our current quarantined situation can be an excellent time to nurture healthy, calming habits, which can transform ourselves and our relationships. These five measures are good things to be aware of and they’re interconnected – observing just one of them may naturally inspire the others:
- Sleep well – it’s remarkable how much better we feel when we go to bed and wake up earlier, this is really at the heart of feeling WELL. Sleep deprivation raises our levels of cortisol while a good night’s sleep brings sustained vibrancy, focus, and stamina.
- Exercise and breath slowly – this is a perfect time to establish a yoga practice at home! This will help keep our bodies strong and relaxed, our minds positive and alert, and our nerves calmed – such an optimal use of our time. Here is a good YouTube Sivananda class: Sivananda Yoga Class Also I will be teaching some live on-line classes as soon as I figure out the technology – stay tuned!
- Eat healthily – what better time than NOW to commit to more nourishing eating choices to give our digestive system a rest and to strengthen our immune system and feel deep-down good. Here is a recipe for a one-pot rice and dal dish called kitchari – it’s quick, easy to make, cleansing, nutritious, delicious, and you can adapt it to many ingredients that you have on hand: Kitchari Recipe
- Practice kindness and selfless service – while we have this concentrated time at home it’s great to look at and maybe transform the way we are with the people around us. Instead of slogging through mundane tasks on our list we can try instead to change our attitude and imagine that every action is for the good of others. When we can avoid letting our ego get involved with expectations of reward for our efforts this can bring an immediate wealth of vitality and happiness for everyone involved.
- Be aware of stressful thoughts – simply being conscious of negative thoughts can be the first step towards changing them for the better. When we want to change bad habits (which negative thoughts really are) we have to replace them with something positive. When you become aware that your mind is busy with criticising, regretting, expecting, resisting, resenting, etc, just let all that be and bring your attention instead to your breath and whatever you can experience through each sense in the moment. This takes quite some discipline and practice but eventually we can become more present, and this joy of just being becomes the default rather than a fleeting rarity.
ENJOY everyone, and feel free to share any of your experiences with me!
With love, Susan
“You practice mindfulness, on the one hand, to be calm and peaceful. On the other hand, as you practice mindfulness and live a life of peace, you inspire hope for a future of peace.” Thich Nhat Hanh