It’s no secret our lives have been turned upside-down during the novel COVID-19 pandemic. Schools have shut down, the streets of NYC have become akin to a ghost town, gyms and yoga studios have all closed until further notice.
My life before the pandemic looked a lot different. I would wake up, walk up to my office and start seeing my wellness clients all day long. Then, I would either commute to my home studio about an hour away in my home town to practice circus arts and yoga, or drive to my local gym and practice there. Not anymore.. just this week, I returned to my little hometown for the first time in months to say hello to my family for my birthday in a true social distancing style setting, sitting 10 feet away from each other, wearing masks, outside. It was a quite dystopian birthday to say the least.
I have since devoted time to creating a sacred space for yoga and meditation in my house, but I kept feeling like it wasn’t the same. My motivation was slowly dying. I couldn’t be next to my friends in class, and I didn’t have all of the supplies that I had access to at the gym. It seemed like life was just throwing everything at me, all at once. I lost my main job, I lost the ability to see friends and family, and I lost my well-loved routines that kept me sane. If you’re sitting here struggling, I feel you.
Life is so full of things to be sad about. But good things, I promise you, can be found. I’m not going to use the “well other people have it so much worse!” analogy, because your feelings about this are valid. Yes, heartbreak is happening, but it does not mean you can’t mourn the loss that has happened right here. All we can do is be grateful for the things we have right now.
In yoga philosophy, we have a school of yoga called “Bhakti”. This can be loosely defined as finding purpose and intention behind what you are doing. The Bhagavad Gita is a text all yogis have probably heard of, but if you’re interested in what Bhakti really means I recommend reading it. For me, Bhakti is the process of doing something not because I am currently motivated to do it, but because I am honoring my future self, and offering my own peace to others in the future. For you, it could be honoring a god, or diety, or family. It is a very personalized concept, but the point is to get out of yourself. If you are interested in the Gita, and finding what Bhakti means for you, I love this translation and you can get it here on Amazon for about $8.
Instead of dreading your morning yoga practice, think of it as celebrating your healthy body. With each breath you take in your pranayama or meditation, think of sending your breath of life to those who need it more than ever right now. With each healthy food you eat, think of it as nourishing your immune system.
It can be so easy to let our self-care go when our routines are put through a whirlwind. It is hard to practice Bhakti if your mind isn’t stable enough to go outside of yourself for a bit.
If you ate the chocolate cake for dinner.. 3 days in a row.. don’t stress. It’s all good, just celebrate what you CAN do and what you DO have. The best possible way to do that is to connect with your body as it is right now, and accept it. The good and the “bad”. How are things right now- are all of your worries truly manifesting in front of you in the present? Probably not. One of the most effective ways to re-train our bodies to be in the moment is practicing meditation. If you have a hard time meditating on your own, perhaps try a guided meditation. I love this free meditation course from the team at the Yoga & Ayurveda Center. This is not a sponsored link, just a personal favorite.
I wish you eudaimonious blessings, stay safe out there!
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