Due to COVID-19, many of the things we took for granted on a daily basis, suddenly are out of reach: spending time with friends and family, traveling abroad, dining out, and even going for a walk in nature.
For many, the impact has gone even deeper. No longer being able to work, many businesses and families are going through financial hardship. Along with the confusing and conflicting information available online, this may lead to feelings of anxiety and stress.
In the time of COVID-19, how can yoga help us manage stress, reduce anxiety, and improve our overall well-being?
Movement is Medicine
Besides the physical benefits, regular movement improves your mental health, too. Exercise relieves tension and stress, boosts energy, enhances concentration, and improves your mood by releasing endorphins.
Because of COVID-19, more and more people have started working from home, and while this can offer many benefits - not having to drive to work saves time, money, and helps reduce our environmental impact - it also means we might be moving less. For those living in an area that is currently under lockdown, it might not even be possible to visit a gym or yoga studio.
Fortunately, yoga doesn't require expensive equipment and can be practiced anywhere. It is accessible to everyone, no matter your age, size, fitness, religion, or previous experience. Since there are many different styles of yoga you will definitely find a practice that suits your needs. Just 30 minutes of yoga at home can lead to a happier and healthier body and mind!
Bring Awareness to Your Breath
Under stress, the 'fight or flight' response of the body is activated, leading to a release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Heart rate and blood pressure are increased, digestive processes are slowed down, and often the breath becomes rapid, shallow, or constricted. These processes seem to be beyond our conscious control, but the breath is a powerful mood-changer!
The different breathing techniques taught in yoga can help you utilize your breath to manage stress more efficiently. Simply by "breathing into the belly", you can positively influence your Nervous System: the prolonged exhalation promotes relaxation and calmness, while the prolonged inhalation allows more oxygen to enter the lungs, energizing both the body and the mind.
Practice Meditation to Calm Your Mind
Even though the most popular yoga classes nowadays seem to be focused on cultivating physical strength and stamina, yoga is much more than a workout for the body! The word asana is derived from the Sanskrit root “as” meaning “to sit down”. Originally asanas were sitting postures for meditation. Even though many more postures were added later, still all asanas are supporting and preparing the mind for meditation.
The practice of meditation has many scientifically proven mental health benefits: reduced levels of stress and anxiety, better sleep, improved focus, and a more positive outlook on life!
Join a Supportive Community
As social beings, we have evolved to connect with other humans in order to feel save, supported and loved. During lockdown, opportunities for social interaction have been scarce. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and separation.
Thanks to technology, we are still able to connect with others despite COVID-19 regulations of social distancing and lockdowns. Thus, no matter where you are in the world, yoga offers the potential for connection with other practitioners. Joining an online community centered around health and well-being can be of great support especially during challenging times.
Do you want to take control of your well-being? Whether you are totally new to yoga, looking for experienced teachers to spice up your at-home practice, or curious about the philosophy behind the practice, we have got you covered.
By joining our Online Studio, you gain unlimited access to our daily yoga, meditation & philosophy classes and join a community of likeminded yogis around the world. Attend weekly live Q&A calls with our experienced teachers and connect with other yogis in our exclusive private Facebook group.
Do you feel called to explore the wonders of yoga with us? Sign up for your 7-day free trial, roll out your mat, and start your journey!