Wellness in a Pandemic: Maintaining a Yoga Practice at Home
The coronavirus has put a hold on many aspects of normal life, and people around the world are adopting yoga as a new tool for processing the stress and uncertainty of today’s world. Though many gyms and businesses have been forced to close or drastically reduce their programs, yogis continue to practice using digital tools that connect them with teachers and other practitioners. Yoga may look a little bit different today—with more mats spread on living room and bedroom floors than at gyms—but it remains an integral part of the wellness journey for people affected by the pandemic. If you’re considering starting a yoga practice to help you maintain your balance and energy during these tough times, you’re not alone. Between readily available resources online and experienced yoga teachers adapting their classes to virtual formats, there are plenty of ways to expand your knowledge of yoga and reap its rewards while staying safe.
Why is yoga important during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Though we live in unprecedented times, people continue to turn to yoga for the same reasons they always have. For centuries, people have used yoga techniques to improve their overall wellness, strengthen their bodies, and balance their minds. Today, many people face all-time-high stress levels due to changes in their work, loss of income, risk of illness, and social isolation. The circumstances look different today than they did hundreds of years or even a handful of months before, but yoga’s appeal remains the same.
Aside from yoga’s known health and fitness benefits, which include improving flexibility, core strength, stamina, and balance, it has also been shown to have therapeutic effects related to mental and emotional health. Research suggests that regular yoga practice can alleviate anxiety and help lessen the effects of depression. Yoga has also been shown to significantly decrease the detrimental symptoms experienced by women with long-term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Can I do yoga at home?
Though the pandemic has put a damper on the communal aspects of yoga for the time being, many yogis have learned new ways of practicing to adjust for the loss of in-person sessions and classes. A little bit of intentionality goes a long way, and making sure to set aside time for practice can make a world of difference if you’re dealing with high levels of stress or anxiety. Perhaps the easiest way to continue your yoga routine during isolation is to connect with a virtual teacher offering classes over social media or sites like YouTube.Here are a few of Bennd’s favorite teachers to help you practice yoga from home during the pandemic.
A master of intuitive movement and holistic wellness, Sophie Jaffe’s practice style focuses on developing a bond with your body. In her engaging live streaming yoga classes, Sophie provides real-time technique feedback and guidance to maximize the results of each session and teach your body to move intuitively. She’s also an expert in nutritional wellness, and many of her classes include guidance on how to listen to your body, understand what it wants, and eat according to that intuition. Her yoga playlists also make a welcome addition to any practice session.
With over ten years of experience teaching yoga and three more teaching meditation techniques, Miki Ash offers online yoga classes focusing on functional movement and improving everyday wellness. Her 60-minute classes are conducted live—not pre-recorded—so that you get a fresh experience every time along with real-time instruction and guidance from Miki. Visit Mikiash.com and download her iOS wellness app, The How, which features a library of 30-minute yoga classes as well as a collection of exercises, guided meditations, and tutorials. These days, The How has been essential for staying positive and shedding stress, and it’s an easy way to nurture your practice, fitness, and overall health from home.
Between Paige's online classes and in-person sessions hosted at outdoor spaces near her home in San Diego, business owner Paige Moe is helping make sure yoga remains available as a tool for reducing stress and improving wellness. Her programs encompass the full range of practitioner experience and ability, with options for classes in beginner yoga, Vinyasa flow (focused on breathing and movement—have your strap and blocks handy if possible), and Sculpt (a high-intensity yoga practice that combines interval and weight training with traditional yoga techniques.
For yoga enthusiasts missing their studio sessions in Los Angeles, look no further—Sian Gordon Fujikawa, founder of California’s Love Yoga, teaches with an authentic, thoughtful style that helps identify areas for improvement and elevate your entire yoga practice. Sian hosts Love Flow yoga classes at Ocean View Park in Los Angeles (socially distanced, of course) on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you’re looking for a weekly online yoga class you can join from home, Sian also offers Zoom sessions on Sunday mornings. Check her Instagram or her studio’s website for information on livestreamed classes and park sessions in the Venice area.
Though we’re all still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, that doesn’t mean we have to put our wellness on hold. These teachers and other tools for online yoga can help you maintain your practice while social distancing is necessary, while also relieving some of the stress that comes with living in today’s world.