We recently marked the one year mark since the United States, and much of the world, moved into shut down. In March 2020 schools went virtual, many workers moved to working from home, and a lot of changes were made to the way that we live our day to day lives.
Although it is undoubtedly true that living with changes due to Covid-19 has been a struggle for most everyone, it can also be argued that those of us that practice yoga and mindfulness may have benefited from the ability to handle some of the changes with potentially more ease and grace. Judith Hanson Lasater said in an interview with Andrea Ferreti on Andrea’s podcast Yogland (highly recommended) that she believes that people that practice yoga and mindfulness have been (unknowingly) preparing for something like shut down via practices of quiet and stillness. I agree with her completely and feel that my yoga practice as well with my time spent living abroad, where adaptation is a major necessity, aided in my ability to cope with the extreme life changes that took place just over a year ago.
With true transparency I should say that my struggle with Covid has not been as difficult as others due to the facts that I kept my job, was able to do my job remotely until September, have no co-morbidities, and am in a secure financial place with no children at home to manage. Having lived abroad in Asia for a few years, I was used to people wearing masks out of respect for others when sick, so transitioning to wearing masks was not entirely new to me. I do find it difficult and annoying to wear one for hours on end, but I remind myself of the compassion that wearing a mask represents and while wearing it use my yoga experience to focus on breathing through my nose as much as possible.
Whatever your Covid situation, and views on wearing masks, if you have yoga and meditation in your life, I truly believe that those practices and skills likely aided you in your handling of the difficulties of the past year. Not only by means of stress relieving techniques such as pranayama (breath work) or mindfulness practices but also by asana practice which may lead to improved physical health. All of those practices, mental and physical, fold into one big benefit for the immune system. Wearing masks and social distancing is necessary, but to live a healthy lifestyle and improve the immune system as best as possible is another bow in the quiver to fight all illnesses.
Looking back at the past year, in all of its loneliness and disappointments, the ideas of adaptability and strength came to mind as carrying me, personally, through the pandemic. But whether it is recognized or not, I think that the country and world have adapted and come together in strength to do our best in 2020 and the beginning of 2021. We are all in this together.
Of, course, like everyone else I long for “normal” life, but instead of dwelling on what is missed, I think it is a good opportunity to be grateful for the health that we currently have and for the loved ones that are still with us today, while also grieving those that we have lost. These struggles paired together with the abilities of modern technology give us an opportunity to realize and recognize that as a global community we have come together and helped each other though. Take care of yourself and each other.