Let’s get the obvious out in the open and out of the way: COVID-19 has caused a massive disruption to our daily lives, with an avalanche of changes that have often struck us rapidly and abruptly. We’ve all had to make large-scale adjustments, which have come with their own wide range of experiences and emotions.
The sudden need to navigate this “new normal” – which doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon – has compromised the mental health of many people. To grapple with the “new normal” and deal with the considerable challenges brought about by the pandemic, we need to exercise a considerable degree of flexibility.
Coping flexibility, defined as the intelligent use of coping strategies to meet specific situational demands, is proposed as an adaptive quality during this period of upheaval. If you’ve ever given any thought to developing your psychological resilience, there is no better (or more necessary) time to put the pedal to the metal.
Some people find themselves in “survival mode”, gathering information and resources necessary to function at school, work, as a person, and in their relationships with other people. Others may be attempting to settle into their new routines. For some, this means trying to combat social isolation. For many, it means learning how to live (or re-live) with friends, family members, partners, or roommates, which is not always easy.
To me, sometimes it feels like it takes twice as much time, effort, and energy to do even the simplest tasks, which can be quite draining. If anything, I’ve really had to re-learn how to be compassionate and patient with myself lately.
Some people have successfully navigated their way through the adjustment process and are finding comfort in this new norm. Others are still struggling with the fatigue, frustration, sadness, anger, grief, and anxiety of this forced adjustment.
In all of this, here are a few important things to remember…
Adjustment is a process that looks differently to different people. It isn’t linear or well-defined. Patience and flexibility are really important. Setting a routine can be supremely helpful. In addition to doing your work, make sure to schedule time for your physical and emotional health, fun, creativity, and stress-relief.
Speaking of which, I’m excited to introduce you to my new assortment of…
** Yin Yoga to Boost and Manage Your Mood **
With the rollercoaster ride that this last year has been, lots of things have been going on in the world and individually, which means that a lot is going on in the inside as well.
Every organ corresponds to the energy of a certain emotion, and every disease stems from an imbalance in an organ or its meridians (energy channels). This is a fundamental idea in Chinese Medicine. Many times a physical disorder linked to a certain organ actually stems from an imbalance in the emotion associated with that organ. The reverse is often true as well: an imbalanced organ can heighten the specific emotion experienced by an individual. It can easily become a vicious cycle.
All emotions are inevitable, physiologically normal, and will not necessarily cause disease when they arise in daily life. Chinese medicine only considers emotions as pathological when they are repressed, contained, or expressed intensely, often, without control, or out of context.
Yin yoga is a wonderful practice to release trapped emotions and take the time to really feel into current emotions. Including Yin yoga in your regular yoga practice can have a profound effect on your emotional well-being.
** Fire It Up Flow **
It’s easy to fall into the winter blues when temperatures plummet and it’s dark and dreary outside. You might find that you start feeling lethargic, and it might become harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning.
These are all symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, a seasonal form of depression triggered by the lack of sunshine in the wintertime. The source of the problem comes from a disturbance in your body’s circadian rhythm that changes your body’s levels of serotonin and melatonin.
Yoga practice is a great way to combat SAD by tapping into the mind-body connection. It is an incredible tool to reset the nervous system and help release tension and stress by increasing your serotonin levels. If you have a case of the winter blues, this Fire It Up Flow might be just what the doctor ordered.
Reignite your power with this fiery, all-systems-activated Vinyasa yoga flow. This class gets moving rapidly to clear energy and stoke the internal fire. Expect strong abdominal work, plenty of chair poses, and some swift Vinyasa. It’s a perfect opportunity to fire your winter blues away and kick lethargy in the a$$!
** Yoga For Self Care **
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, it's normal to feel fearful and anxious. With all the social distancing, interruption of plans, emergence of uncertainties, and wave after wave of unfavorable news, it's only human to feel sad, frustrated, lonely and lost.
To maintain your psychological health in the midst of these difficult times, Yoga is, hands down, one of the best self-care tools.
Spending time on your mat can benefit your brain, heart, and bones. Self-care practices can relieve mental stress, melt muscle tension, and help you feel confident that, yes, you can tackle your lengthy to-do list and handle whatever else may come.
Learn how taking care of yourself can create a ripple-effect of positivity in your mind and body. This is a nice and gentle Hatha/restorative yoga class, that gives you the time you need to take good care of yourself.
** Heal Yourself Flow: (COVID Trauma Recovery) **
We are living amid the first global mass trauma event in several decades. It's arguably the first of its kind since World War Two, and almost certainly the first of such severity in your lifetime.
Trauma is a far subtler concept than many of us realize. It isn't just a word for something extremely stressful. It doesn't always come from short, sharp shocks like car accidents, terrorist attacks, or firefights. And, trauma isn't the same thing as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Trauma can be understood as a rupture in "meaning-making," where the way you see yourself, the way you see the world, and the way you see other people, are all shocked and overturned by an event. Stress accumulates and the nervous system is forced on high-alert.
While yoga isn’t the first-line treatment for trauma, it definitely helps people to acquire a better habit of self-regulation and calm. Yoga has been proven time and again to have a positive impact on a variety of psychological and physiological conditions. It cultivates mindfulness through breathing exercises, intentional relaxation, and body movement.
The Heal Yourself Flow is a gentle and comprehensive practice, in which we will utilize Yogic intentional breathing exercises to help gain control of emotional regulation, calm the sympathetic nervous system, trigger other biochemical and physiological relaxation mechanisms in the body, and improve our self-concept and coping skills.
** Meditation For Acceptance **
During the past few months, many of us have experienced an incredible volume of emotions in such a relatively short amount of time. Not unlike the stages of grief, we’ve gone through a process of shock, anger, and depression, along with plenty of uncertainty and anxiety thrown in there for good measure.
But there comes a point in all situations where we have to decide if we’re going to dwell on the past (pre-COVID) or accept the situation that we’re in and move forward. In moments like this – when we have very little control or choice – radical acceptance can be a transformative skill to utilize.
Acceptance allows us to be autonomous, because when we accept that situations are out of our control, we allow ourselves to cope and we free ourselves from the pressures of trying to resolve situations we cannot change. Coming to terms with reality helps us move on from uncontrollable situations and take charge of our future actions. In doing so, our mood regulates, our bodies de-stress, and we feel uplifted.
Acceptance involves letting go of the desire to protest and force change. Meditation can help recognize feelings in the present, learn to appreciate the moment, view experiences more compassionately, and consciously allow things to be as they are.
** Mountain Meditation (For Resilience) **
Resilience can help us get through and overcome hardship. But resilience is not something we’re born with. It’s built over time as the experiences we have interact with our unique, individual genetic makeup. That’s why our individual responses to stress and adversity — like those from the COVID pandemic — can differ tremendously.
Hardships can be terrifying when you’re running away from them, and it can be so easy (almost natural) to feel ungrounded, fearful, or even paralyzed in the face of difficult emotions and life circumstances. But have you ever noticed that, the more you turn and face those fears, the more they lose their power? It’s like going on a camping trip and being terrified of the dark and the noises in the woods. The moment you shine a torch and look again, you realize there’s nothing to be afraid of.
The Mountain Meditation is a mindful visualization that is designed to cultivate stillness and calm, and to connect with our inner strength and stability in the face of internal and external challenges. It encourages us to seek inner stillness and peace in the face of everyday life and its challenges.
When it comes to meditation, mountains have a lot to teach. They have archetypal significance in all cultures: they are sacred places… they embody the contradictions of dread and harmony, harshness and majesty… they are the wombs of visions and revelations, where people have always sought spiritual guidance and renewal.
In this meditation practice, we borrow these wonderful archetypal qualities of mountains and use them to bolster our intentionality and resolve, to hold the moment with an elemental purity and simplicity. The mountain image, held in the mind's eye and in the body, can freshen up our memory of why we are sitting in the first place, and of what it truly means, each time we take our seat, to dwell in the realm of “pure being” and “non-doing.”
Navigating grief is hard, even without a global pandemic, and it’s certainly that much harder with it. Grief is a normal response to loss during or after a disaster or other traumatic event. It can happen in response to loss of life, as well as to drastic changes to daily routines and ways of life that usually bring us comfort and a feeling of stability.
Grieving the loss of a loved one while coping with the fear and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be especially overwhelming. The pandemic is forcing many of us to change the way we go about our daily lives. With those changes, some of us are experiencing a wave of losses: economic, social, physical and emotional. For some, these losses may build up and lead to feelings of grief.
During the pandemic, the family and close friends of a person who died of COVID-19 may experience stigma, such as social avoidance or rejection. Stigma hurts everyone by creating fear or anger towards other people. Some people may avoid contacting you, your family members, and friends when they would normally reach out to you.
Dina will explain the stages of grief and share a nourishing meditation practice to tap into your healing wisdom, find courage in the face of suffering, and uncover inner resources to deal with grief.
Are your nervous about socializing again after the lock-downs have been lifted?
Over the last year and a half, our global community has become increasingly used to being in a state of lock-down. As a result, many people are naturally feeling nervous about socializing again, particularly in big groups or with strangers. For some people, this fear might even manifest as social anxiety.
It has become socially acceptable again to sit in the pub, do a group exercise class, and hug loved ones. But the easing of coronavirus rules isn't exciting for everyone – for those with social anxiety, life after lock-down is a scary prospect.
Social Anxiety Disorder is a fear of social situations, under which one worries about meeting strangers, how to act with groups of friends, and generally feeling self-conscious.
For this reason, Dina has designed a mindfulness and visualization practice to achieve a state of relaxation and to help decrease social anxiety, overcome shyness, and foster a greater sense of self-confidence.
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