Yoga Online – The limits to the benefits

As weeks turn into months of life in lockdown, the human species must adapt its behaviour as well as its habitat. As our territory to roam becomes increasingly limited, we become increasingly aware that resistance to confinement is more futile in this particular scenario than any other political oppression. We cannot argue with the virus, we can barely be angry with this microscopic mindless malevolence as it changes our lives, for some, beyond recognition, and for many, for the worse.

What we always have is a choice of perspective. As Maya Angelou wisely whoop assed in hard times: “If you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it, change yourself.” By changing yourself, she meant changing your attitude towards the situation. For some, it is easier than others to choose to surrender to the restraints, let alone be “positive”. The lucky ones can look to the clearing skies, the fresher air, the wildlife burgeoning like it owned the place, and feel peacefully pleased at the pause of our polluting addictions and experience some planetary healing. We may appreciate the rest, the lessening of decision anxiety, less social obligations, the reprieve from petty office politics, the loosening of deadlines and travel times, time in the garden, the kitchen, with the kids. 

Of course, it is not as easy to focus on positivity if your life has been made harder due the Covid-19 changes – less income, more time in an abusive household, no outside, no room to yourself, no head space, space to breathe. Space is a very important resource. The background, the glorious gaps, the lack, the light in the cracks. We all need to swing a cat from time to time. 

But another thing we always have is our inner space. This is an absolutely endless universe within which to delve, discover, and ultimately, surrender into. With practice it can be accessed in even the most difficult and claustrophobic times. Well, now is most certainly a time to start practicing. If you have the space for a star jump then you can practice accessing this space through your yoga asana practice whereby integrating the physical space of your birthright – that which your body fills – with your psyche & consciousness.  Don’t forget, yoga is about the healthful stillness, as well as motion, of our material beings in order to calm the mind, leave it behind and go deeper, higher, and even further into the pureness of YOU. 

In yoga for gut health & healing, we explore the ways our body, mind and spirit can be synced to achieve healthy gut function. Just as importantly, we enhance our ability to feel deeper into the body, and specifically into the gut where the pre-verbal intuition lies. We work out what the body needs without influence from the external world’s distracting suggestions and demands. It is a way in, especially for those who are sensitive in this physiological system. 

Now that I am teaching this yoga remotely, I would like to offer you some suggestions in order to embrace this time of inner exploration to the fullest, and focus upon the positive elements of yoga online, at home.

  • You do not need to travel to class. Although this may not be a negative aspect for some, many people who have gut issues may have trouble with travelling e.g. travel sickness, toilet anxiety, fatigue etc.
  • You can eat at the right time. This is very important to get the most out of gut healing yoga. It is best to wait 2 hours after a full meal before practicing. It is not just the forward folds that can wreak havoc! It is also best to practice with an empty(ish) bowel if possible. Chronic constipation can be relieved with practice, but if you can, try to go to the toilet in the morning/daytime before your practice. Time at home should hopefully help this too.
  • You may be more relaxed. When practicing at home you are not rushing to class, dragging shopping, planning your class around work, or rushing to get the bus afterwards. Yes, there are home distractions, but we’re adapting by focusing on the positives right? If you do have a distracting housemate i.e. a small child, or pouncing puppy, you can use this as part of your practice too – Doga anyone? Also, making yourself calm with your yoga can energetically influence the rest of your household towards a more peaceful vibe. Try it. 
  • You can turn off your video. If you feel self-conscious in class you don not have to be seen. Even the small pictures won’t show that you’re not wearing make up or have scruffy clothes on. No one will even know if you haven’t showered! You can always pop to the loo at anytime too.
  • You can invite your friends! FaceTime chats get a bit samey after a while, especially when we haven’t done much since the last one. Doing something interesting with friends from all over the world is a wonderful way to connect. Yoga is a beautiful and powerful way to share positive energy with loved ones, as well as strangers.

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