rethinking our yoga practice during the quarantine.

my ex-fiancé coined this term “quarantine-Asana.”

Ironically, he became my ex right after I took a sabbatical to the Amazon. I was then bound for three more unanticipated weeks in Peru, just as the coronavirus lockdown was beginning. All I could do was think about if I would ever see him again. Now I am back at my parent’s house, 29 years old with no home of my own, no rings, & no job.

Have I hit rock bottom?

Just about. Believe it or not, I’ve been through much worse at the young age of 11- as my 8-year battle against suicide and depression would testify. I experienced my rebirth via Yoga then, and I will rise like a phoenix via Yoga now. Yoga is the ultimate Guru. So, you can see how fitting this title is. Well, it’s about to get even cozier.

The Asana of 2020

We are witnessing an exponential shift in collective consciousness at a rapid rate. It just so happens that life & circumstance put us into Quarantine. The prefix “quara-“comes from Latin origin, meaning forty.  “Co-incidently,” in religious stories such as “The Temptation of Christ,” Jesus was tempted by satan in the Judean desert for forty days and forty nights. The same 40/40 timespan that held for Moses’s commune with God at the top of Mt. Sinai.

In spiritual traditions, monks often take a vow of silence & sabbatical where they isolate themselves to liberate dis-ease in the mind-body-spirit. Similarly, we entered into this position: bound to our dwellings in isolation—all in an attempt to control the virus from spreading.

Asana is the yoga practice of meditative postures.

It translates to “sitting-in,” a particular pose for a specific length of time. The elements of asana are “sthira” and “sukha” or “stability” and “ease.” Many postures are challenging, and hardly what one would feel “steady” or “relaxed” in. Often, they are hard to breathe in, uncomfortable, shaky. These asanas are the catalyst for all the self-limiting thoughts & sensations to pop-up. They often say, “Hello, I am here, and my name is: negativity, doubt, weak, rigid, fearful, ugly, hurt, not enough, alone.” Feels pretty familiar to the COVID-19 pandemic, doesn’t it?

Exploring Quarantine-asana

So here we are now, drawn inward. We are sitting in our homes, our inner dwellings, and taking a seat in our most intimate aspects of self. All to heal from dis-ease in the mind + body. (Hopefully, you’ve thrown out the ice-cream and turned off the mind-numbing, binge-watching Netflix by now, if not that’s ok, here is your permission slip to do just that starting…now.

We begin to wonder if things will ever change.

How much longer we can go on, filling ourselves up with writing on the wall that speaks of worry, doom, and gloom. We become fascinated with kittens, quarantine memes, and bendy ballerinas on the IG feed. Anything to pass this treacherous time that seems like it will never end. We anxiously come to recognize all of our neuroses, cleaning OCD’s and obsessions with flowers and a whole lot of showers (they are the best, aren’t they?).

And if you are fearless, you blast them on the maximum cold! Anything to shock the emotional charge will do. Where is your business going? How is your family doing? What is going to happen to us? Why after five years you can’t nail that handstand? Or, in my case why being “left” by my one true love one day after we exchanged in passionate vows never to leave each other?

It’s not all so bad (especially after reading that last line). You may experience a tremendous surge of relaxation, catching up with yourself and your loved ones, or re-innovating in your personal life. Finally, going on that detox, you’ve always wanted—what perfect timing!

Perhaps you are working from the comfort of your living room? Sitting by a fire with a fresh cup of Matcha and using this time to relax, refresh, and renew? Maybe, you are changing after all.

Perceive & Believe

You see, it’s all about how we perceive things. The way we inner-stand things shapes our beliefs about ourselves and the world. It then forms our actions and, thus, our destiny. Bruce Lipton, the author of The Biology of Belief, said, “We can control our lives by controlling our perceptions.”

Perception is what differentiates between those who thrive from those who merely survive. The same thing goes for our asana practice. For example, when we are fearful of inversions, we don’t want to do them. When we don’t practice them, the less likely will we be able to do them. Instead of activating the confidence genes, we enable the doubt genes.

So, every time we begin lifting our legs from a supported headstand, those “incapable” genes start firing. We are then no longer present to elevate ourselves, and instead, we become terrified of falling; of failing.

If we can decide to see it differently, that is enough.

You can choose to get excited about the process itself, that is enough. Keep the intention of “it will be done,” and that is enough. If we can breathe, that is enough. And to decide to keep returning to the present moment, that is more than enough!

When we keep returning to the space of the Inner witness and accept where we are, we create the space to slowly & gently go a bit further; one breath, step, inch, count at a time. This space of unclutching from what “it” (things, places, people, situations, asanas) needs to look like or feel like and exchange it for an attitude of gratitude of just being here, now, we find something promising happening!

We transcend the karma of struggle & suffering and let go of mistaking the temporary for the eternal and the Eternal for unreal. We tap into a space of utter freedom. 

Take A Seat & Let It Be

Thank God for “Quarantine-asana,” showing us what our practice is all about. It is here to help us move through these challenging times. Whatever position we find ourselves in, each day, we extend a bit further than yesterday—each night surrendering a bit deeper, relaxing a bit more, and trusting ourselves even a bit more.

The journey teaches us the value of remaining present while connecting to the comfortable in the oh so uncomfortable. (It’s right there in the language; that comfortable exists, somewhere, somewhere deep, in the uncomfortable!) It reminds us to let go of all judgment, attachment & expectation.

We find it is the process that is the destination, and every step is a step in the right direction when we choose to see it that way. 

Alas! Now, we can breathe and take refuge in what is.

We create space in our body-mind-spirit to take a moment, center, expand, extend, and relax into our maximum capacity desiring for our fullest expression of self. The keyword here is: relax.

Somehow, we know that it is opening us and ultimately leading us to where we are meant to be- it always comes home to right here, right now. There is no other moment than this present moment. 

In essence

So as the expression goes, “Onward & Upward.” Remembering, this is why we get on our mat every day. We continue to choose faith over fear – in any position we find ourselves in – for the sake of life itself! It is what our yoga practice is all about: to remember it was never about that failed relationship, a bonus check, argument, traumatic event, collapsed handstand, more than it reminds how to love ourselves exactly the way we are.

Oh yeah, and always remembering that slight, inner smile! 

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