Yoga and meditation are called a practice, not a performance. However, I feel like now - during the Coronavirus Pandemic - is the performance I’ve been practicing for.
Rather than the usual day-to-day work-life balance causing me stress, it’s a pandemic and accepting that sitting on my couch is actually being helpful and not lazy or lame. It’s not knowing if my friends and loved ones are safe. It’s not being able to hug them.
So I sit on my meditation cushion and breathe. I move on my yoga mat to ease tension in my body and mind. I chant mantras to send love and peace out to the world. I go for long runs in the mountains to connect with nature. These actions calm my anxiety and bring ease to my body and mind.
This is why I practice. To have these tools ready and available in a moment’s notice. And, while I don’t really like the notion of it as a performance, if others benefit from me sharing it then, to me, that’s a big win too.
And, because I love to look at the science behind it all, I want to share that too if you’re interested.
The stress, anxiety or fear and the accompanying tightening of stomach and increased heart rate you’re feeling is your nervous system doing what it’s supposed to do; alert you to danger by releasing epinephrine and cortisol into your bloodstream to get your attention and prepare you to fight, flee or freeze. You’re supposed to feel it. Then chose empowering actions in response.
With the Coronavirus, most of us cannot fight it or flee from it, but we can freeze, or stay home. When we’ve accepted the invitation from the body and chosen our response, the body can return to homeostasis. (It’s when we ignore the message or hope it will go away on its own that the stress, anxiety or fear becomes chronic.)
The shift to homeostasis invokes the parasympathetic nervous system or rest and digest. We can do that on the couch. Add a pet or loved-one to the mix and the feel-good hormones serotonin and oxytocin are released.
So sit on your couch, soak up the love. And take breaks from sitting on the couch to move on your yoga mat and get out in nature (at a distance and with responsible trail use).
We’re in this together and we’ll get through this together.
From my couch to yours, namaste.