Yogic Tips for Staying Healthy During Uncertain Times
May 7, 2020
The past few months of 2020 have been a trying time for the entire world. There isn't one person who hasn’t been affected by this global pandemic, whether it's physically, economically, mentally, or emotionally. The most important thing we can do during these stressful times is to take care of ourselves, and whether you are a long-time yogi, or just getting started, there are numerous yogic practices that can help you to navigate through the uncertainty that might feel like it's lingering well past its time.
When we take care of our physical bodies and minds, we create a balanced and healthy immune system. We can face the threat of disease with less fear, and we can move into harmony with our individual situations, no matter what is going on externally.
When we shower ourselves with loving-kindness, when we heal our pain and move into a state of simply being, our vibration affects those around us. We have the ability to lift others up within our community, and through our advancements in technology, we are able to share our light with friends and loved ones around the globe.
So how do we keep our internal light kindled? Here are a few yogic tips to maintain awareness and stay healthy during this time.
Watch your thoughts
If you have a tendency towards negative thoughts, anxiety, and fear, take this opportunity to look inward to see where that’s coming from. Too often we are living in the future and creating scenarios that may or may not even happen. When we dwell on potential negative outcomes, this creates anxiety within us. When we are living in a state of fear (the fight-or-flight response) we are increasing levels of cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones. This can lower our immune systems and damage the homeostasis of our physical bodies. Be sure to pay attention to where your thoughts are focused. Do you have a positive outlook on the future? Are you dreaming big? Are you a creator? Or do you see the world as doom-and-gloom, mulling over what could happen? When you get your thoughts in check, your reality begins to shift.
Be sure to take time daily for your asana yoga practice. When we move the energy within and throughout the body, we create serotonin and dopamine. We move away from the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system and move into rest-and-digest response of the parasympathetic nervous system. You are also working towards maintaining cardio and circulatory health, and a balanced metabolism. As it’s been said about yoga, when we practice asana, we bend so we don’t break. This can be thought of as physically but also emotionally.
A meditation practice can assist you in keeping a balanced emotional state. With regular practice, you begin to view your thoughts and realize they are like clouds. They are separate from you. They come and go. They are intangible. When you begin to experience this, you realize the impermanence of thoughts and emotions. You can start to dream your world into being, not based on a template of the past, but as a creator.
Give yourself space
If you feel as though you are having difficulty coping, take some time to rest, away from your family. Take a pause from social media and the news, where you may be bombarded with negativity and over-stimulation. Be honest with others when you need to take a break. Instead of reacting and becoming triggered when you are stressed, communicate with those around you that you need space. During this time you can practice breathwork, meditate, or read something uplifting. As a culture accustomed to constantly being on-the-go, we tend to feel like we always need to be doing something, but here, focus on just being.
Honor your emotions
During these uncertain times, our emotions might have a tendency of getting out of control. Many of us live distracted lives. We bury ourselves in our work, in our families, and in a never-ending to-do list. We have reached a great pause, a time where we are forced to find stillness. This can be uncomfortable for many of us. Emotions, if left unchecked, can dictate our actions. We may do something hurtful towards a loved one out of anger or frustration. If you feel an emotion like anger welling up, do your best to take a moment to observe it. Don’t try to stuff it back down. Sit with it, realize it can't control you, and remember that it will eventually pass due to its impermanent nature.
What we put into our bodies is just as important as how we speak to ourselves, what we think about, and our physical activity. Remember to eat clean, fresh organic foods straight from the earth, full of prana, or life force energy. Avoid frozen or packaged foods when you can. Pay attention to what foods make you feel vibrant, and what foods make you feel lethargic and heavy. It’s easy to stuff ourselves due to boredom, or as a pacification for these stressful times. This is the most important time to nourish ourselves, to keep the microbiome in our gut balanced, and to support a healthy immune system.
For yoga practitioners, this is no longer a dress-rehearsal. This is the time and the place to put our training into practice. Whatever we have been practicing on our mats, we bring to the world. Gratitude, compassion, kindness, reflection, patience, non-violence. Remember that this too, shall pass.
Be sure to check our Online Program schedule for upcoming courses on diet, yoga, meditation, stress management and positive thinking. You can also purchase recordings of previous courses to view at your leisure.
Mariah Laine Moyle is a shamanic energy medicine practitioner, yoga teacher and writer living in New Providence, Bahamas. Her writing has evolved from Bahamas-specific travel writing, which included publishing the first edition of Moon Bahamas travel guide, to wellness articles and blogs, and a memoir on her healing journey she is currently working on. She is passionate about her path as a healer and is dedicated to bringing these ancient shamanic and yogic teachings to the western world through writing and practitioner work.