Sanjive Vasant has been practising yoga for over 20 years, from traditional Hatha yoga through to Iyengar and Astanga Vinyasa. His meditation and yoga classes are normally based in Teddington, Hampton and Kingston, and are currently continuing online.
The past couple of months have wrought enormous upheaval in our lives, with all of us having to adjust to a new way of living. And while the lockdown restrictions may be easing for some, it will be a long time before life returns to anything like ‘normal’.
Whatever our age and circumstance, it seems to me that we are all in the same boat – experiencing, learning, adjusting, finding what works for us and perhaps more deeply, beginning to think a little more about the nature and purpose of our life and death. We’re reminded of our lack of understanding and fear of death – the only thing that is a guarantee for us all, yet we know and think about it so little.
Listening to media speculation on the virus can be unhelpful, only increasing our anxiety, so if I can suggest anything to help get through this, it would be to develop a sense of accepting the situation we are all in; taking it one day at a time can be a practical way of coping. Here are a few tips you might find helpful, especially if you cannot connect with friends and family online:
We can try to do things that make us feel good or better in ourselves every day. It might be a useful exercise for us to sit down and think about and list what these are or could be for us (perhaps walking/exercising outdoors, if it’s possible).
Listen to soothing and uplifting music (I’m listening to Classic FM as I write), while for inspirational life stories of people from around the world I find the BBC World Service ‘Out-look’ programme excellent. The latter is particularly inspiring, often humbling and very positive – how the human spirit overcomes what appear to be insurmountable difficulties.
We can appreciate the quiet in the air and our external environment, or we can fret and be frustrated bout not being able to do all the things we used to. How we view it, positively or negatively, will probably have a direct influence on our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being and, in turn, our ability to go through this phase as well as possible.
Accepting where we are also means accepting our more negative feelings – it’s OK to feel angry, frustrated, down or depressed. Once we have acknowledged and perhaps analysed them, perhaps we can begin to show a little more kindness and compassion to ourselves, re-direct that energy perhaps into a more practical, positive outlet – physical movement, small acts of accomplishment, sharing our feelings with a friend, reaching out to help others?
Acknowledge our fear. If we have caught the virus, or know someone who has, we can acknowledge our very real sense of fear, pain and suffering, perhaps wondering if we’d be able to emerge through to the other side? This experience may have given us a new perspective on ourselves, the things that really matter to us and on humanity itself.
Finally, of course, there is the daily practice of yoga, some time to breathe and meditate and the time to be alone – perhaps much easier for some of us at the moment.