Yoga Postures (for when you don't feel like it)
During this year of the Pandemic, I have never felt such humility and judgement (and much more) all at the same time. Where we had to shift to not going out and being isolated to then feeling the survival of working and paying bills and such. There is nothing that can compare to what 2020 and now 2021 is teaching us on many levels and layers.
My life and spiritual practices have changed drastically. I have had to literally slow down since I cannot do my movement teachings work outside of the home. This lack of movement has shifted my everything from motivation and willingness for movement. (Anxiety and depression is real and if you suffer with these I support you in getting the professional help you need.) My days went from running around the Bay area to now waking up "late" (7am). Asana has become less of a deep focus in my spiritual practice as it once was. Since staying at home I have begun to meditate more, light more candles, do crystal grids and prayers for the world. I have begun to garden more shaping this refugee of nature I occupied.
Zebu cows from my nanny family's farm.
One of the first beach days of 2021.
Some moth species that I almost stepped on, but my friend brought attention to it.
I do not know the name of this flower/grass/plant, but it smells heavenly and is everywhere in my neighborhood.
I won't get much more into trauma response, global or personal, in this blog, but this is apart of the shift. How to live in a place of unseen trauma. Some of us are walking around with historical and generational trauma that the rest of humanity is finally able to witness. My flight, flight, freeze was activated and it has come up looking like overthinking and freezing about what task I should be working on next. We were not all trained for this crisis, yet here we are. Just trying to do our best.
With that said, sometimes it is very helpful to rest and do nothing with the body. It was until it wasn't with me. I started to get more anxiety, breathing problems, headaches, weight gain/fluctuation, difficulty with balance. I and my doctor thought it might be Covid so I have been tested enough times since the beginning of the pandemic to know that I am Covid free. My doctor initially said it might be your anxiety and lack of exercise. Me? How dare you! Hi ego, I see you. It also was true. So I have gone back to the basics of exercise (walking) and yoga asana (have recently included HIIT YouTube workouts, cuz I can only do "working out" for so long. I also Bike ride around my new neighborhood in Florida).
Here is my simple practice I share with you so you might also be able to navigate the ebbs and flows of this current situation (2020 continued).
Mer-person. This in the Yin training was called mermaid, but to make it less gender conforming I changed it to Mer-person. As you lay on your side you can either rest on you hand, forearm, or a prop like I am. You might feel stretching sensations on the side of the body. Maybe near your ribs or in your armpit. AS long as you are not in pain that is on the verge of injury stay here for 2-3mins. Rest on your back, for 1min, to allow the body to integrate.
#4 Variation. I like to do a lot of variations with #4 and this one is a very subtle yet deep stretch for me in my outter hips and middle of my glute. Depending on how tight my body is I might even feel it in the outer thigh. Hold for each side 2-4mins. Rest with legs up the wall or another leg variation that works for your body.
#4. Super chill variation with the supporting leg at the wall. My positioning isn't the best with my foot so low on the wall, but it felt so right in that moment. Again by not having to hold the leg I am allowing the body to be moved by my breath and gravity. With my arms to the sides I am able to soften the tension in my shoulders and breath deep in between my shoulder blades. By using the wall this is a little more restorative and by making poses more restorative we are able to drop into our parasympathetic nervous system.
Balasana= Child's Pose. Some of y'all know me. This is one of my favorite go to's aside from savasana. There is something so nourishing to feel in Child's Pose. Some folks might use the props (as shown here) to support lung and sinus drainage. But with or without props this pose softens tension from the lower back, decompresses the back, and...if you guessed drops us into Parasympathetic NS you are correct!
Depending on your natural level of energy you might need to start with some active-like movements and others might need more restful movements. Try them throughout the day and using different props or locations: in bed, the couch, yoga props, gardening, before/after your walk.
Experiment with these and maybe you have your own you have been working with. Try them out using the wall or standing instead of laying down and vice versa. Essentially find ways to keep moving the body. Use this as a tool to untangle the knots of stress and trauma. We were born moving and we deserve to keep moving especially if it supports our other bodily functions.
What poses have you been working with during this quarantine?
Let me know in the comments below!
I will be teaching Yin yoga asana classes starting April 5th 2021 Mondays and Wednesdays. Sliding scale. Free to those who identify as BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA2S+ in an act of reparations.