You will need this one practice in the post-COVID world

What is truly here and now is you. 

You could be:

  • the same you were before all the pandemic began, 
  • a slightly altered version who is processing the changes slowly, 
  • the one who thinks everything will never be the same.

As you stand on the shores of self-quarantine life, and decide if you’d like to begin swimming into the world again, here’s a counsel that will keep you buoyant: self-care. Even now, your best bet against any virus is a strong mind and body. If one lockdown realization was good health, let it continue to be so, reflecting in the choices we make on a daily basis.


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For some it could mean having that Ayurvedic kada, getting enough sleep, spending time with family, or exercise. Whatever resolutions you decide to make, put this one on your list: yoga. Validation for the inclusion of yoga has come in from all quarters - from the Indian health ministry as a precaution against the pandemic to the Harvard Medical School. Of course, we can hear the traditionalists chuckling with a cheeky: ‘We told you so.’ 

Why a tryst with yoga every day is great

Commitment to building immunity: The practice of yoga asanas and breath work will keep adding to your good health. It will help pump in more oxygen and energy into your system, and build up that much required immunity. 

Convenience: There’s a sense of comfort about a yoga session. You could continue doing it online or sign up for a class. No equipment required, just a mat. A few simple stretches and you feel like a million bucks. It doesn’t even ask you to give it long periods of time. You’ve got 10 minutes today, instead of your regular 25? You can still do a routine and feel relaxed.  

Respect for the mind-body complex: You now know well that fear and anxiety will have an adverse effect on our physical health. These emotions will heighten as you venture forth in a COVID-19 filled world. The sequences of asanas, breathwork and meditation build reservoirs for your mind and body. They make you calmer, more focussed and happier. 
All of this makes for better mental health too. 

3 pranayamas you will love

Choose a guided meditation from this playlist and you’re set for the day!

Beyond the mat

A little reminder of yoga’s core philosophy is also very comforting and pertinent.  

Just self, no other: Yoga is the union of the mind, breath and body. By very definition, the practice implies a very personal and intimate time with yourself. Not a time of competition over asanas, how long one can hold a pose, or even body measurements after sessions.

Contemplation: Svadhyaya, an important aspect of yoga, refers to self-study and observation. Of course, with our packed schedules, do we have any time for all this? Yet, yoga, with its natural flow, encourages pranayamas and meditation which will give you that much required pause through the day. Life will get back to being hectic again. You might find yourself being pulled in different directions, just don’t get too deep into that vortex. Keep pulling yourself out with the quiet of yoga practice. 

Cleanliness: Traditional yoga practice recommends shaucha - personal cleanliness and hygiene. This philosophy is practiced in many ways, yet the most fundamental is physical cleanliness. Traditional yoga practitioners recommend clean, loose clothing and washing of the hands and feet before and after practice. We all appreciate the 20-second COVID-19-induced hand washing practice, don’t we?  

Contentment: A useful reminder: developing a habit of being happy (santosha). Days could be high and low, yet happiness remains a constant and in our hands.

Community: We’ve missed them, and yet managed to rally around them. Our tribes - friends, family, folks who’ve loved and nurtured us. During this lockdown, how many of us have reached out to people we’ve not been in touch with? It felt good! Just a quick ‘are you doing well?’ is enough to make someone’s day.

Not to mention the fun we’ve learnt to invent at home with family. From imitating famous hook steps while dancing to popular Bollywood numbers to creating Whatsapp games; from learning how to dine alfresco in your balconies to creating picnic spots around the home - we’ve discovered a new sense of family time and camaraderie. Keep your sangha (community) close even after the lockdown lifts. And may your tribe continue to grow in love and care.  

Conscious-habits: The lockdown has brought forth insecurities and complexes in some of us. We can’t help wishing things were easier: 

Why didn’t we hire a full-time helper before all this began?’

Wish I had my neighbor’s appliances too!’ 

Why is my office giving me a pay cut when my friends are not getting any?

In one sense, we’re all in the same boat but perhaps on different levels. The view will not be the same. 

Perhaps these differences could either increase with time or become easier. Some of these guidelines (yamas) of yoga would hold us in good stead. Non-stealing even through our words and thoughts (asteya), not coveting more than is our lot (aparigraha) and remembering to practice non-violence even through our words (ahimsa) are worthy habits to pursue. 

You could have seen many posts urging people to think about how they want to emerge on the other side of this pandemic period. Become the person you want to, some say. Whichever route to emergence you choose, may it be a path of more self-love, compassion and confidence. May it be a true union with your self, all the way. 

As you venture forth in the world and take your spotlight in the sun again, remember to breathe properly. You could amp your power with a special breathing technique, the Sudarshan Kriya. Learn this at an online Art of Living Meditation and Breath workshop.  

Written by Resha Patel 

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