Friday, 3 April 2020

Lessons from a Pandemic

Almost a month into COVID-19 escalating in my community, I am thankful to my daily yoga practice and the yogic path for self-transformation.  This path has allowed my mind to be in a mindset to view this virus and its global reach as a time for self-reflection, gratitude and staying focus on lessons this time may hold for me.  I wanted to share the lessons and reminders it has helped me connect with so far.


THE BASIC REMINDERS

Coming back to basics in daily life is essential in managing mood and well being.

Routine. When the external motivators for routine have been taken away, it is up to us to keep our routine going so that we are taking care of ourselves and stay grounded rather than feeling lost in the space of time and uncertainty.
  • At least Monday through Friday, get up the same time you would for work. 
  • Do your morning routine of showering and getting dressed (for me this includes doing my sadhana - spirital practice - every morning). 
  • Eat meals at the same time.
  • If you aren't working right now, find other activities to engage in that don't include plopping down in front of a screen -see the next point. How many times have you wished to have more time for a hobby, with family, reading, etc?  Your wish is ranted, so take advantage of it.  
  • Limit time with screens!! The research is conclusive that excessive screen time causes depression. If you are working, most likely it's online, so think about how much screen time you are getting right now.  Do other activities with family like puzzles, games, art projects, cooking instead of just watching TV.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Get to bed at your regular time.
For me, staying in routine is actually a practice of meditation (keeping the mind focused), being responsible for myself, and self-discipline. The mind loves to make excuses to fall into excess inaction, which can lead to a low mood.


WE ARE SOCIAL CREATURES

As humans, we are social creatures and being able to connect with others is important. With social distancing, we have to get creative in interacting with others.

Online platforms.  We are lucky to live in a time where interacting online is readily available.  Take advantage of the options to interact live and the multitude of free ways available. What's App, Skype and Facetime are just a few. 

Get groups together! I have been doing some mini jam sessions with a few friends on Zoom.  I've heard of people doing dinner parties and game nights with friends online.  Get creative and get connected!

Give! Again, get creative here. I've seen people dropping baked goods off to neighbors and friends. In my area, a woman dressed up as Olaf and walked her neighborhood waving and showing positive signs to neighbors in their homes.  When we give and uplift, it's contagious! Give online through Facebook and Instagram Live posts...share your talents!

Be conscious of the energy you are connect to. This is where we have control. We get to choose if we are connecting with positive people or negative, fearful people.  We also get to choose what message we are sending out to the world!  Remember, what we put out is what we get back.


GO INWARD - The importance of a daily practice

Taking time for yourself, to give back to yourself, to be with yourself, and to cultivate a friendship with yourself is important. When we come back to what is happening right now, in this moment, as well as being okay with whatever emotions and reactions come up, it helps to remain more calm, cultivate more compassion and gratitude, and respond rather than react.  We all need more of this right now and our stay at home orders and social isolation means there's more time to practice.

Here are some resources to start practicing!

Coming into the present, a guided meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdSO-RXEfyM&t=2s.  I start all my sessions and workshops with this meditation and people love it!

Compassion meditation, a guided meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fn89wr_L3g&t=16s. Compassion is a main practice of most religions and spiritual paths. In the modern world, we are more conditioned to the opposite of compassion - separateness, self-doubt, and mindless actions.  Start changing that!

Noticing and being with emotions, guided: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mbis9TReMgI&t=4s.  I have been practicing this with ALL my individual clients the past couple of weeks.  If you can learn to be with what is arising within, what is reacting, you can be empowered to choose to consciously respond to life challenges in a way you feel good about.

Insight Timer, an awesome meditation app that's free. It's the one I use daily. It has tens of thousands of meditations, calming music, chanting and a timer for guided or stillness meditation. (I have no business ties to this app...I just really like it and recommend it).

AND TWO UPCOMING ONLINE WAYS TO LEARN MORE WITH ME!

The Breath Workshop: Join me in learning how to use the most readily available and effective tool for calming the mind...the breath!  April 4th, 9-10am MST, Free.  Sign Up Here!

Learn to Meditate! A 4 week, online course with Twyla Gingrich. Starts April 7th!  Click Here for more information!



I encourage everyone to reflect on with current changes, what is going well?  What are you grateful for right now because of the pandemic?  What are your personal lessons?  Let's learn from this and let this time lift us up!


Namaste, Twyla

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