Read: Elephant’s Mindful Advice on Coronavirus. ~ Waylon
A Mysore-trained ashtangi, I’m no stranger to a strong home ashtanga practice, but over the past several years, I’ve gravitated toward a more gentle vinyasa flow.
So, when I moved to a new city recently, I was stoked to check out some new yoga studios. Then coronavirus hit the United States, and I knew my compromised immune system did not stand a chance in a hotbed of germs amidst the flurry of coronavirus warnings.
My hopes and dreams to build a strong yoga community upon landing fizzled out as the uptick of cases in U.S. rose.
If you’re anything like me, you have begun obsessively checking your phone for updates on the situation. Maybe you’re looking to see if cases have cropped up in your town. Perhaps you have a trip planned to a city that’s in the midst of an outbreak, and you’re debating whether to cancel. It might just be that, like me, you’re feeling heightened concern about how this virulent epidemic will affect you and your loved ones in the coming days.
Although I’m a spiritual awakening coach, and it’s my j-o-b to use the mind-body connection to heal, I admit that I’ve struggled to keep my center as this epidemic spreads within the U.S.
As a 40-year-old gal with an underlying medical condition, I’m casually cautious during a typical flu season to avoid the visibly sick. While I don’t obsess, I take precautions like asking out-of-town guests to get a hotel room when they have a cold and swapping tables at cafes to avoid the ill. In the current coronavirus climate, such precautions feel more vital but have thrown my spiritual center way out of alignment.
My hubby had been dying to take me to a swanky tapas drink spot in town. We sat at the bar to chat with his bartender buddy, and all I could think about was the health of my fellow bar-goers and the cleanliness of the bar itself. Calm, centered, heart-forward me was nowhere to be found. She all but ran out the back door and crawled into bed while anxiety-prone me was out for the night.
Instead, I found myself unusually consumed with obsessive thoughts about the lack of sanitization the bartender used between serving drinks, rubbing his beard, and plating a desert with his bare hands. My internal security alarm was wailing. Unable to shut it down, anxiety got the best of me, and my husband was less than pleased.
When I woke up Sunday morning, I realized the only person who could stop the spread of anxiety and anxiety-based feelings of sickness was me. It was time to employ my arsenal of spiritual warrior tools that I have spent a lifetime cultivating.
Then, I stopped in motion. Most of my coveted realignment activities are community-centric. Community is one of the best ways to ground and reconnect with reality when I feel disconnected from myself.
Taking a few moments to reground to not spin out again, I decided to write a list of all the ways I could maintain my spiritual prowess and keep my center during this (and any) crazy time.
There is no doubt in my mind that you already have some of these practices, but I find that during crises, we often forget some of the most basic spiritual skills we have to remain centered, stay healthy, and keep thriving.
9 tips to maintain your spiritual center during Coronavirus:
We all know how to do it, but make a point to remind yourself to breathe five times a day and check to see if you are breathing. Set a reminder on your phone.
Stop for a few moments and take three deep breaths into your belly. Notice how you feel. Does that change how you can think? How about your awareness of your breath or your body?
Consider adding a silent intention into the practice. On your inhale, breathe in your intention, like “love.” On your exhale, think of something you would like to let go of, like “anxiety,” and breathe that out of your body.
2. Daily meditation
We all try it. Some of us stick to it. Others claim to do it but rarely hit our meditation goal. Where are you on your daily meditation spectrum? I’m somewhere in the middle, dabbling in different types of meditation over the years. At times, my practice has been consistent. Right now, it could use a boost.
All you need to commit to is two minutes of daily meditation. Sitting in silence is not a requirement, by the way. You can walk, listen to a recorded meditation, dance, or find a mantra to repeat. Whatever form suits your soul is the type of meditation practice I recommend you sit with, pun intended. If your meditation of choice is not working, do not feel stuck to it, maybe there’s another format out there more suited to your unique spirit.
3. Home yoga practice
As I pulled back from yoga studios, I realized it was time to reignite my home practice. If you do not have a home practice, there are a plethora of online platforms that offer classes with phenomenal teachers.
You can also cultivate your home practice by piecing together poses from your favorite classes and playing a fun yoga mix from Spotify. Try it one morning and see how you go, you might just amaze yourself!
4. Online support
Support is vital right now. If you are feeling on edge, nervous, alone, isolated, especially if you happen to be self-quarantined or quarantined, support is critical. One of the best ways to find it is through the internet. You may not want to seek out traditional help through a psychiatrist or psychologist. Still, there are phenomenal platforms and healers through sites like WellSet, AwareNow, StrideSelf, and others that can offer alternative healing, spiritual coaching, and therapy.
Also, consider joining online support groups. While Facebook might not be your jam, there are virtual support groups. A little Duck-Duck-Go-ing, and you’ll find what you’re seeking.
5. Gratitude list
You’ve read it a million times, but are you writing in the journal sitting next to your bed? Okay, well, then it’s time to start. Five things you’re grateful for, a.m. and p.m., go!
6. News cleanse
If news about the coronavirus is triggering and causing you too much panic, put it away. Go on a spiritual retreat and cleanse yourself from the news for a week. Ask friends and family to give you significant updates when necessary (they will anyway). Your neurobiological system needs a break.
When is the last time you blasted some throbbing glitch and ambient music when you couldn’t make it to ecstatic dance? Create an ecstatic dance space in your house and get down, even if it’s just you. The embodiment of dance is unlike any other practice; it will bring you into the present moment, out of your head, and into your heart. If you don’t feel incredibly expansive after dancing, write to me, let’s talk!
The sweetness of a walk, hike, run, or bike ride in the wilderness will brighten your day. You can maintain any amount of social distance you require, find balance with nature and yourself, and rejuvenate.
When all else fails, Netflix is dropping dozens of new shows and movies this month, what better excuse to binge on a new show? Maybe skip the post-apocalyptic themes, but I trust you to use your discretion. If TV isn’t your thang, music is always great!
These tips are not only for the current crisis but can be applied during any major struggle when community resources are sparse or inaccessible.
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