“Tat Tvam Asi”

Practicing Yoga During this time of Anxieties and Uncertainties – what does that look like?

There are many ZOOM & Live-stream and other options now as some yoga and fitness professionals pivoted quickly to remote offerings. Kudos to them, yeay ! and I am happy for those jumping into the new Covid-19 realities to produce and teach in this new paradigm where in-person lessons are replaced.

If you have not found a class that resonates with you just yet, I certainly have recommendations so just ask and I will provide a run down on the offerings that’s out there, and fitting your needs “today” so you don’t waste your precious time. Usually the question is – can you stick with it? I used to take online classes via Yoga Anytime and then, what was difficult was the distractions. You really have to set aside the time and space with a strong commitment to stick with it which zoom appears to be a better platform for.

I’ve been on the sidelines and really miss the community and the vibe BUT I am not ashamed to say that I had to prioritize during a survival mode – and so I may serve with a clear intention – we all need that “purpose”. I am still taking care of “business” maybe not the monetary or career yoga business aspects of business but people-care-business still. I am wrapped up thinking how to best serve family members, the young or at risk due for a surgery or the home-bound vulnerable folks … While I cannot physically run over right at this moment to lend a hand in some of these cases, I will have to keep my worries at bay. Our mind may go places that contemplates all the bad outcomes that may happen when taking a risk such as undergo a surgery at this sensitive time… but it’s our job to rein in those worries from getting out of hand and practice to bring about perspectives in a realistic scope. For that, tools and techniques of yoga, which encompasses beyond the “poses” and the “sequence” is – so very helpful. Then, I am no longer minimizing the seriousness or taking the possibilities of worst case scenarios out of proportions, losing sleep.

Sleep problems? Look into Yoga Nidra and Restorative Yoga … delicious.

While I am not being as participatory as I’d ideally want to put out the energy, this is not a mere epidemic, flu or a passing phase – it’s a pandemic and we all have to take care of some business. Worldwide pandemic – let’s not go into denial but full acceptance. While I feel that I am not as nimble in pivoting and shifting the medium we use to transmit teachings, I can say that I am so super proud of some of these incredibly committed yoga professionals I had the honor to associate with. They are about service – helping those in need with stress management, health maintenance, connections and spiritual growth.

I am keeping up my practice and feel that this experience has given me the opportunity to really grow as a human being as I serve the immediate needs all around me. Sometimes we have to stay on the sidelines not in the main throes of swirls of goings-on; not on the radar to be spotted and stand out but rather, some opt to stay under the radar as we do our work; to be focused; not distracted. Not always escaping to “help” others, going “outside” – Rather for some, this is the time to stay home, work the inside, clean it out, and manage our energies while doing so – this is when what you really need to do is help yourself SO THAT you can really help others more effectively when such times come. And as taught by a famous yogi …

Do No Harm.

For me, it’s that Yoga Therapeutics I practice each and everyday.

Please support your local businesses & YES, YOUR LOCAL YOGA STUDIO! Those are dedicated yoga teachers out there who are on an existential fight to keep the business going during this unprecedented public health crisis. Please support them and the studio which is a sanctuary. Those local small businesses keep our community vibrant and alive ! Support them – they are us; we are them.

Tat Tvam Asi

Focaccia Saturday

Tomorrow – Sunday is traditionally a day of worship … time to reflect and pray in the morning – then exercise and gather … evening wind down.

Sakura blooms delicate blush pink

Crystal translucent drips of April shower

Season of Fleeting Beauty

We are upon a season of fleeting beauty.  Supposedly we live in a the richest, most powerful superpower in the world and yet, we are brought to our heels.  Heard the cost of maybe 1-3 fighter jets used in national security arsenal, we could easily have enough to give all health care workers the protective gears they need and all sufferers ventilators they need … and a well functioning healthcare system.  Priorities, priorities… We have all the sophisticated weapons and highest offensive/defensive capabilities and technology … but … This.  Our “enemy”, just like the hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, the radioactive dusts, and ever mutating virus …is … invisible.  And it’s not each other – it’s not country against another because all countries are inhabited by … brothers and sisters, us humans.  All on the same boat.  So humbled.

Rainy afternoon … a family member is stress baking …

Top Priority – How to boost the immune system?

Above all, managing and minimizing stress and anxieties. Finding that centered calm self in midst of the chaos, the turmoil, the confusion, the worries … the known and what’s worse … the unknown. Do not give into irrational fears and rumors – really study the facts and listen to expert’s recommendations.

For Self:

Find a place of purity – it might be a wind swept hillside, at the base of your favorite tree; maybe it’s a quiet spot in a garden; park or a hiking trail; an ocean side bench or that beach where you walk your dog … it’s where there’s space to breath deeply. I personally head to the forests … to feel fully oxygenated. While a purification ritual ideally takes place in nature – it’s our ultimate go-to. Yet we can’t always get there with work/school/life, so … a well ventilated and clean air yoga studio counts as a place of Self-Purification. Or an alter you set up in the clean and orderly corner of your home. All good.

Eat well balanced nourishing foods with rainbow colors of vegetables and fruits, nuts, healthy* proteins; and whole grains. No sugar; No processed foods if you can help it. (*healthy ? proteins? much to be learned…)

Drink lots of mineral rich water and hot green tea. This, throughout the day before 7pm. Flush out the system as much as possible before bedtime.

Choose some spices and herbs known to promote good digestion and other medicinal properties (more later) in food preparations. Eat fermented foods to maximize the gut flora to maximize the power of digestion and elimination.

Exercise – awaken and perk up ! strengthen the muscles and bones.

Stretch – Feel GOOD:) for better circulation, fascia hydration, flexibility and as a result, more effective exercise. We are not mindlessly bending and stretching our body into yoga poses – each posses specific medicinal benefit and that is realized incrementally and gradually and …over a stretch of time. There is no over-night miracle although we tend to feel lighter and more open after a good practice. Banish stiffness.

Adopt mindfulness practice and/or meditation practice for even 10 minutes a day at the start and end of day. I usually weave it into the yoga practice for the multiplier effect.

Rest deeply “regularly” every night – min. 7 hours every night. Sleep deficit cannot be offset by weekend binge sleeping.

Relax and Smile – release tension, tightness and knots daily

Laugh more – think of what makes you laugh – have sense of humor and loosen enough to find life as parody … and it’s so bad it’s can only be seen as a comedy at times.

Hugs for Oxytocin & prayers for release of Cortisol – YES! It’s human instinct … feel joy !

Think, envision, imagine beautiful thoughts – any beautiful images that makes you happy are all … so GOOD:) Think good thoughts that makes you smile.

Minimize contact with negative energy – that includes negative people who complain a lot or is angry a lot – the so-called “haters” who have no respect for self nor others; avoid them; but what about sad people? Reach out, empathize and find compassion within to share – be kind. Help others when able. What’s positive you put out in the world, like a boomerang, comes back to you. Helping each other elevates us all.

Same as above, but needs, repeating – Avoid negative and toxic people, places and things. (unless you are well trained in neutralizing those negativity – therapists, counselors, religious and social workers – the trained professionals – still watch out for empathy fatigue and vicarious trauma). They suck out your energy and diminishes your aura.

Perfect sanitation and hygiene without being a_ _ l.

Do not touch your face with your hands until after your perfected your hand washing ritual.

What we can each do For Others:

Do not socialize or attend public events if you are not feeling 100% and suspect you might be coming down with “something” such any symptoms of colds such as nasal congestion, sore throats, headaches. Call in sick – use sick days – if possible for work, telecommute, if not, just stay home until you are completely well. Remember, you must be free of fevers for 24 hours before heading back to school/work.

Know that there are boundaries in human-relationships and we need to respect them. For example, you don’t have to shake hands in business settings; you don’t have to rub elbows, so to speak. Read body language and cues to know what’s comfortable and safe. Being sensitive to someone’s personal space and boundaries is key to establishing trust and mutual respect …

Perhaps see an allergist to determine if really a cold or … an allergy. Treat it accordingly. Allergy sufferers need to find relief while not being mistaken as being infected for example in today’s nervous public dealings.

Now, with the current virus scare, with any of the above symptoms, one may even have to choose to “soft” self-quarantine for 2 weeks. Just to make others feel safe, if that’s an option, try to stay home more and avoid unnecessarily coming into contact especially with the more fragile population (the elderly, those going through cancer and other medical treatments, common sense please.)

Please do not cough or sneeze out in open into shared air pocket; use etiquette and do those things if you cannot help it into an elbow; into a handkerchief, tissues or paper towels but not into open air we share. Maybe excuse yourself from that common space temporarily. Alleviate other people’s fears by being considerate. Just be polite.

Wash hands as per CDC guidelines each time you come back from the “outside” or any place that poses a risk of exposure- that could be classrooms, crowded areas such as stores, gatherings with strangers.

***************************

In the end, there’s only so much one can do. It’s not about giving up or giving in – but merely about strengthening your own immune system as much as possible. Yeah, you can wash your hands neurotically practically like Lady Macbeth and spray disinfectant spray all over and wipe with alcohol wipes all you want all surfaces but if you are petrified, terrified, stressed and freaked out over all the news, then … fear will overtake you and … you will compromise your immune system. So it’s one thing to be well informed and well prepared, it’s another to go overboard. SO …

No Hoarding. Just purchase what you need but don’t go over the top with this hyper-stocking of stuff – sure there’s supply chain blah blah and the stock market index yeah yeah and on and on … sure, but it’s a self-fulfilling scarcity because obviously if more people act the same, with so little courtesy, of course, you have just created your own scarcity. Your action based on raw fear contributed to the scarcity. Please be considerate. Beautiful Heart; Abundance; Generosity; Kindness; Gratitude … for the heroes among us (health workers !), more important than ever. Those are the qualities, I think, that’s going to save us; not some extra rolls of toilet paper, hand-wipes and face masks of panicked people.

Reviewing and re-studying my yoga therapy notes on … Yoga for Immune System, taught by Baxter Bell, MD – a great teacher who sees both the Eastern & Western views on healing. Gratitude for great teachers I had the opportunity to learn from. If you happen to be in the East Bay, Berkeley area, see if he’s teaching. Drop-in; if you are lucky, be serenaded ,,, maybe he will play his violin during Savasana.