Yoga tips for coronavirus quarantine

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Maggie Galloway, Editor

With a worldwide pandemic going on, everybody’s finding ways to comfortably adapt to the situation. Although it will never be comfortable, people tend to feel better about their daily routines when there is a schedule involved. Since many states have declared a stay-at-home order, people can only find themselves in their houses or on a daily adventure outside. One way to beat the cabin fever is by trying yoga.

Yoga is the practice of connecting one’s mind, body, and soul through multiple variations of poses and breathing. Most people are turned away from yoga with the thought in mind that they need to be flexible to do these poses, but anybody can practice yoga.

“I personally believe the benefit of practicing yoga is the breath,” said Taylor Wooley, a yoga instructor at High Altitude Fitness in Incline Village. “The breath comes first and foremost. By definition, yoga literally means, ‘union, connection, and to yoke.’ If you can breathe, and if you have a body, you can do yoga.”

Not only does practicing yoga help keep the physical body in check, but it also helps with mental wellness. “Yoga is the factor to my everyday sanity, especially in times like this,” said Wooley. “Daily asana practice and meditation have helped me stay present during the worry of this pandemic.”

Staying focused and staying in a meditative state while practicing yoga is difficult to master. Keeping an intention in mind helps the yogi stay in the present moment on their yoga mat.

“The intentions I keep foremost in my mind, is gratitude,” said Wooley. “I have gratitude for all the people out there working to keep us safe as we do our part to stay home and for all the things, feelings, and people in my life.

“Another intention I keep in mind is staying present. Oftentimes, when we step onto the mat and our brain is busy, and our breath is erratic. Setting an intention to remind myself to stay present is key. Also, meeting myself halfway and understanding it’s okay when my mind is busy. I don’t judge myself, I smile, sit with my feelings, my busy mind, and remind myself that this feeling and this business is why I decide to step on my mat.”

Diving into this spiritual and physically demanding journey by oneself can be a little intimidating. Luckily, teachers such as Wooly and Grace Aber from Mountain Lotus yoga have both decided to start teaching from home.

“I started to do some online soundboard mediations in my back yard,” said Aber. “I try to spread some calm and relaxing energy on social media. I always look for ways to give back to my community every day.”

Though these yogis are used to teaching on the daily, teaching online is a whole different experience.

“Honestly, the weirdest part is the beginning when all I’m doing is talking to an empty room,” said Wooley. “Then I realize my students, my friends, strangers, are tuning in, to take time out of their day to check in with themselves.”

For regular practitioners, it might be a little weird to start practicing in their living room. Yogis are used to the heat, the smell of essential oils, and the flowing music the instructor uses to set a mood.

“Being able to set the vibe comes with who you are,” Wooley said. “I believe you can create a sacred space anywhere and anytime for your practice. Whether it be a room full of 40 people, or me talking to my laptop. Teaching yoga is my true passion, I know I am sharing what I love, what I have found has helped me, and I choose to create a loving space for people to feel safe and 100 percent themselves.”

Doing yoga at home

Light a candle, find an empty space, and lay down your mat, towel, or even just the floor. One way to get into a good headspace is by breathing in a good intention through the nose and releasing a heavy breath through the mouth, releasing negative thoughts. For example, inhaling love and exhaling hate.

Once you’ve finally found yourself settled, try these deep relaxing poses from Aber and Wooley themselves:

 

Child’s pose Let your big toes touch, knees spread wide while you let the chest fall in between your legs. Arms extend long while resting the forehead on the mat. Take this time to take a few deep breaths and set your intention for your practice, forgetting about what happens before and after this moment.

 

Cat. Start in a tabletop position, shoulders over hands and hips over knees. Taking a deep exhale, let your back round towards the ceiling and bring your chin towards your chest to complete cat pose.
Cow. Inhale and let your belly sink towards the floor as you lift your sitting bones and head towards the ceiling. Move between these two poses, synching breath with the movements

 

Forward fold butterfly. Take a seat, let the soles of your feet touch. Take a deep inhale reaching arms up to the sky, and exhale folding over your feet.

 

Downward facing dog. Start in a tabletop position. Let your toes press into the mat as you raise your hips up to the sky, leaving your chest parallel to your thighs. Pressing your hands into the ground, create a straight line from your wrists, to your lower back.

 

Sleeping pigeon. Take the three-legged dog and let your right knee float to your right hand and place your right foot as close to your left hand as you can. Let your chest fall over your front leg, resting your forehead or forearms on the mat. Repeat on the other side.

 

Shoulder stand. Prep for this pose by having your back flat on the ground, legs together, facing the sky. When you’re ready, let your back roll up one vertebra at a time. Let your elbows and triceps press into the ground as your hands take place on your waist to help support the pose.

 

Legs up the wall. This pose is as easy as it sounds, and it’s one of the most relaxing. Place your sitting bones against the wall as you lay flat on your back and extend your legs up the wall. Let the blood from your legs flow down as you take some deep breaths.

 

Lying down twists. Lie flat on your back as you lift your right leg up to the sky then place it over your left leg, creating a spinal twist. Let your head face towards the right to get an extra stretch. Repeat on the other side.

 

Supported backbend with a pillow. Sit with your legs extended, grab a pillow, and place it where your sit bones meet the mat. Let yourself lie down over it, giving your back a little extra bend. Let your heart chakra open as you breathe in fresh air.

 

Savasana. Savasana is the final resting pose. Lie flat on your back, let your toes point out and have your palms facing towards the sky. Take this time to find a deep mediation and maintain steady breath.