I have been doing yoga on a regular basis since 1999. Over the years, my practice has waxed and waned with life choices and events. When taking yoga teacher training I was up and on my mat 45 minutes a day, minimum, five to seven days per week. When we moved into a new home two years later with two young children, I was lucky to do a 10 minute meditation or attend one class per week. However, through it all, yoga and meditation have become tools to sustain me through whatever life throws at me and this past year, life was a pitcher for the Yankees!
A pandemic, lockdown, an impeachment, an election, wild fires, hurricanes, social justice movements, a 28 year career stalled, adult children coming home to visit and to live with us again, PPP and PPE. The list goes on and on. To navigate all this, I learned I needed to STOP!
Stop what I was doing, Take a breath, several actually, Observe what was happening in my physical body, in my thoughts, in my emotional body, and then, being fully present, to Proceed from a place of awareness, cultivating a way to make choices that made sense in a world that made none.
Even on days when there was no breaking news and all was right in my personal piece of the world, the low level hum of anxiety about all this was there. The mounting death counts, the necessary restrictions to our daily routines, masks as an essential accessory. My yoga practice allowed me to see it, feel it, and accept it. To connect to a part of me that is stronger than all of it and through teaching and taking classes online, connecting to others struggling in similar ways so I didn’t feel so alone.
So many of my students said they couldn’t have gotten through 2020 without their yoga practice. It connects us to our center, the place that holds the bigger picture, inner strength, resilience, and compassion. It allows the anxiety to arise rather than be stuffed down or ignored, and yoga moves it through the body, clears space in the mind, and opens the heart, so we don’t close off from the world completely. It strengthens our container to manage full, 360 degree living.
2021 promises to be another year of change – a new administration, a new vaccine, and new challenges as we attempt to recover from all that we’ve been through. My plan is to use these beautiful practices of breath and movement, meditation and awareness, the will to act and the wisdom to surrender to sustain me on the journey. And I invite you to join me.