Yoga at Home - COVID-19
Time to roll out your yoga mat on the living room floor
As we actively practice social distancing during these uncertain times, COVID-19 should not deter you from your regular yoga practice. Yes, yoga studios may be closed temporarily, but you can certainly continue doing yoga. In fact, this is probably the best time to be practicing.
Yoga is beneficial for so many things: stronger bodies, greater flexibility and mobility, improved peace of mind. This last benefit may be the most important during this current situation. Stress, depression, worry, and confusion are high. We are all in need of something that can help manage these heightened emotions so we can endure each new day. It is important to remember that yoga is a reliable resource for all of these mental and physical conditions.
1. How is Yoga at home beneficial?
Here are few reasons why it is good to start a yoga practice at home:
1.1 Stay Mentally Clear
So much news has been filtering through our media consumption on a daily basis. Some of it can be informative and guiding, while other news is quite tragic, alarming, and confusing. It takes time to process all of this information so that you can make the best decisions for you and your family to remain safe and healthy. Filtering and processing the news constantly is mentally exhausting. At times, you need to unclog your brain, reset, and refocus.
A home yoga practice takes your mind off of the incoming news. It allows you to turn inward so you can focus on yourself. Practicing yoga gives you the chance to filter OUT information that does not serve you. It gives you some mental clarity so you can make wise choices for you and your family. It will help you organize your thoughts so you can stay focused on a day-to-day basis.
1.2 Stay Fit
Because some yoga has a physical component, this can be a good way to get some exercise since you're unable to visit your local gym or recreation center. Moving through sequenced yoga postures invite strength, flexibility, and greater mobility to your body. Staying indoors may have resulted in stiff muscles, decrease in agility, and even some weight gain. Having a physical practice will help you stretch those tight muscles, lubricate stiff joints, and improve your digestion.
1.3 Stay Calm
In addition to the inundation of news and having a lack of exercise, your nerves may also be on edge. You're possibly isolating alone or in a household full of people. In either case, your emotions can be rattled. Feelings of frustration, aggravation, and hyper vigilance can certainly emerge in times like this. You find that you're more reactive to things and other people when you're normally not.
Adding a yoga practice to your daily routine can keep your nerves at bay. Deep breathing and movement will help to ease and calm your agitated mind and body. You'll be able to shake away sensations in your body that contribute to you feeling on edge.
2. What are the best ways to practice Yoga at home?
The wonderful thing about practicing yoga at home is that you do not need a lot of equipment. All you need is a yoga mat; and even if you don't have one, a space on the floor or carpet can do just fine or you can try Maji Sports Jute Premium Eco-friendly Yoga & Exercise mat, made of Jute Fibers & PER (Polymer Environmental Resin). This mat has anti-microbial properties for extra sweaty practices and is slip-resistant, available in vibrant colors in the best prices online.
If you're new to yoga, now is the time to begin a practice.
2.1 Online Yoga Classes
If you have been streaming movies and television shows using the variety of platforms at your fingertips, add yoga to your online list. There are a great number of yoga studios and independent yoga instructors that are posting yoga classes on the internet. Venture over to Instagram TV, Facebook, and YouTube to find just about anything you want.
Search for "yoga for beginners" to find instructional videos on how to start a yoga practice in your own home. Yoga instructors will guide you through breathing exercises, yoga postures, and meditation to introduce you to this practice.
If you're an experienced yogi, search for specific styles of yoga or classes that carry specific themes and intentions: "yoga for stretching", "yoga for calming the mind", "yoga for relaxation", and many others.
2.2 Personal Yoga Practice for Inner Growth
In addition to the online offerings of yoga, here is a practice you can do on your own at home even if you're new to yoga. It will only take a few minutes to do since you may be limited on time these days. It carries the theme of "Inner Strength" as you endure these trying times. It involves some focus on your breath, some basic yoga postures, and a final meditation. A good time to practice this sequence is in the morning when you first get up. It will set the tone of your day providing a sense of positivity, clarity, and encouragement.
Start by standing with your feet hip distance apart and toes pointing forward. Allow your arms to hand down by your side. This is Mountain Pose. Take a few moments to stand in stillness, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Take slow deep cleansing breaths to center your mind. Notice your feet making contact with the ground. Imagine that you ARE a mountain: rooted, steady, strong, resilient, and powerful. Let this be your intention for your yoga practice: to tap into your inner strength.
Inhale deeply and extend your arms over your head. Feel as if you're reaching for the ceiling. Exhale, slowly fold forward at your hips. Place a bend in your knees and hinge at your hips to touch your toes. Inhale and slide your hands up to your knees or thighs until your torso is long and parallel to the floor. Exhale, bend your knees more, and place your palms on the floor in front of your feet. Walk both feet back until you're in a high push-up position, or Plank Pose. Hold this posture as long as you can; this is a great strength-building posture for your entire body and it also challenges your mind. Press your hands firmly into the ground to create length and strength in your arms and upper body. Be sure to lift your hips to about shoulder level so that you do not collapse into your low back.
Inhale to create more length and energy in your body. As you exhale, draw your navel up toward your spine to engage your core abdominal muscles. This is the center of strength for your bodily system. Allow that sense of strength to travel down your legs and into your feet, too. As a variation, you are welcome to place your knees on the floor in Plank Pose. You will still be able to engage your muscles to sustain this posture.
Downward Facing Dog
When you're ready to move, take another breath in. Place a slight bend in your knees and as you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles, and lift your hips into the air. You will form an inverted V-shape with your body. This is called Downward Facing Dog. Hold this posture for at least five deep breaths. This yoga position activates your entire body: your arms, shoulders, chest, core, legs, and feet. Remind yourself that you are strong. It is good to repeat that in your mind throughout your practice.
Warrior I Pose
Take a full breath in and raise your right leg into the air. Exhale to bring your right foot underneath you and set it down next to your right hand. Swivel your left heel until it touches the floor. Find balance and steadiness in both feet then inhale to raise your upper body. Reach both arms into the air with your torso facing forward. Exhale to settle into the pose. Your front knee will be bent; be sure your toes are pointing directly forward. Your left leg will be straight and long with your foot firmly planted into the ground. This is Warrior 1.
Warrior II Pose
Inhale to reach a bit higher toward the sky. Exhale to open your torso to face the left side of the room. Bring your arms down to parallel with the floor extending out over your legs. Keep your gaze forward. This is Warrior 2. Hold this posture for up to 10 breaths. Experience the dynamic and meaning of this yoga position. Embody the warrior within. Know that you have the ability and fortitude to get through any challenge you face. Feel the strength in your stable feet and legs. Notice the energy moving through your extended arms. Pay attention to each breath.
Back to Plank Pose
To come out of the pose, turn to bring both hands down to the floor next to your right foot. Shift the pressure into your hands as you step your right foot back to meet the other. This is a return to Plank Pose. Hold for 3-5 breaths capturing the essence of your inner strength once again. From here, return to Downward Facing Dog and repeat the sequence on the left leg: Warrior 1 to Warrior 2.
Rest with Savasana
When you are complete with this short yoga sequence, take a few minutes to lie on your back on the floor (or on your bed). Extend your legs out in front of you with your arms resting by your side. Allow your entire body to completely relax. Your breath will soften, too. This is Savasana; it is the final resting position after your yoga practice. Spend as much time as you'd like in this posture. This is a time for reflection and meditation. Recall your personal intention of this practice and to continue embracing the inner strength you have created. This can also be the intention for the rest of your day. Carry it with you.
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