3 realizations a 15-year-old yoga teacher made during hotel quarantine

Two years ago, at thirteen, I received my yoga teaching certification. I’m fifteen. I had been teaching in the community and practicing yoga for several years. I was born in Fairfax, Virginia. A few years ago, my family moved to Beijing. This year, I was on own my attending school in New Hampshire, thousands of miles from my family. 

Experience during Covid-19 and Quarantine:

For weeks, I had eagerly looked forward to spring break, which meant I could reunite with my family. However, near the end of February, as the virus outbreak worsened, my family decided that I should stay in America.

I persuaded my parents to let me stay at a Yoga Ashram. Eventually, Covid-19 was getting worse in America, and my school was canceled indefinitely. My parents, worried, called frequently. Anxious and overwhelmed, I would even leave the dorm at night, to take their calls or cry alone.

Finally, I flew home. When I arrived, all travelers had to quarantine in hotels for 14 days upon arrival. As a minor below the age of 18, I believed I was an exception to this rule. However, when I cleared customs, they told me that the exceptional cases now only included minors below 14 years-old. Rather than quarantining in my room as planned, I would soon be locked in a hotel room alone.

After a few days, I was becoming increasingly frustrated and lonely. The only human interactions I had were with the employees shouting “mealtime!” then knocking on my door and putting the meal on the chair in front of my door.

During quarantine, yoga helped me stay healthy. I want to share a few realizations I’ve made during quarantine about yoga.

Yoga is an energy and productivity booster.

Before I incorporated yoga into quarantine, I was overwhelmed with boredom and loneliness. I started becoming less and less aware of the time. Often, I would feel like a day passed in a blink of an eye.

After I stepped on my yoga mat and engaged my body, I was more energetic and productive.

With the Covid-19 outbreak, many people are staying at home. When you are stuck at home for a long time, your body might be telling you it is tired, and it doesn’t want to move. If you listen and don’t move, you will grow more tired, as I did. Instead, engage it. It might be hard to get your body to start practicing yoga but persist. After the practice, your energy level will rise.

Moreover, when we are working from a distance, it is hard to be productive. When I tried to work during quarantine, I would often get distracted. My parents are not there to look after me. I am on my own.

Practicing asanas helps make you more productive. When you hold a tiring asana, your body might be telling you to stop, but you should pull through and persist. You overcome yourself by doing that.

Similarly, it might be challenging to stay productive when working from home but tell yourself to do so. And you can.

If you can’t change anything about a situation, just let it be. Mindfulness helps you accept and appreciate life as it is and enjoy the moment.

I was lost and sad during the quarantine. At night, I would wake up contemplating about my purpose in life, feeling lost. The days seemed long and monotonous. Every morning, when I woke up, I was happy that I was one day closer to the end, and I just wanted quarantine to be over.

As time went on, I realized that it is more critical in this time than ever to practice mindfulness, live in the moment, and accept and appreciate.

Yes, I was sad that I’m stuck in this room. Yes, I was sad that wasn’t quarantining with my family but I wasn’t worried I wouldn’t get back. I realized that if I can’t change anything about this, anyway, thinking about it and overwhelming myself with negative emotions is not getting me anywhere.

By doing this, I was wasting my life. I should just let it be, enjoy my time, and live in the moment. Instead, I can look on the positive side.

When I was in school or with my family, I didn’t have time to reflect and enjoy time alone. Now, in quarantine, I was given the perfect opportunity to do so. When you are at home now, accept and appreciate the time you get alone or with your family. Enjoy it, live in the moment, not in your emotions.

Reality is what you choose to see. You are the master of your mind. Yoga helps you control the fluctuations of your mind.

Two years ago, when I was doing my teacher training, the instructor told us that yoga controls the fluctuations of the mind. For the same event, you can choose to focus on the positive or the negative. What your mind decides to focus on is on you. What emotions you create is on you.

Anxiety, loneliness, and other negative emotions are only the reactions and feelings you have towards situations. It is your reaction to reality, not reality. What happens is not as relevant as how you react to it and deal with it.

You are the master of your mind. Practicing yoga and meditation enables us to control the fluctuations of our minds.

For example, when I am stressed, I perform Pranayama exercises; this enables me to be calmer and more peaceful. Similarly, when I meditate, I forget about all the worries I have, and after meditation, my mind is at peace. Apply yoga techniques into our lives, and we will be happier.

Gratitude for Yoga

When I was finally released from the hotel, I rushed and hugged my parents, tears circling in my eyes. I’m so happy to be home and am grateful for the role yoga played in getting me through the journey.

Yoga unites the body, mind, and soul. Yoga is powerful. 

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