As another lockdown occurs and restrictions are put in place, you might feel more disconnected, overwhelmed, and uncertain than usual. This isolation meditation is designed to reconnect with yourself and help you visualize a life beyond the one COVID has established for you.
At the start of the year, you probably made a list of goals you wanted to achieve. It's safe to say they probably didn't go exactly as planned. With isolations and lockdowns eliminating many of our external distractions, withdrawing into oneself has become inevitable. With so many of our typical daily lives beyond reach, this year presented a unique opportunity for personal reflection.
At first, spending more time with ourselves may have seemed like a treat; it was a chance to enjoy the calm and the rare opportunity to have fun. Fast forwarding to months after COVID lockdowns are over and turning our gaze inward can start to be a bit exhausting. Among all the restrictions, heavy energy in the air, and fear of what lies ahead, you may find it difficult to stay focused on personal growth. The spirit is likely to have difficulty seeing beyond the confinement.
That said, the great thing about the mind is that it actually can't tell the difference between what is real and what you imagine. Right now, you might be feeling a little disheartened because you are not living the reality that you want to be. But your mind doesn't need to know that. You can always imagine the reality you want to experience and reap the rewards as if it really is your life.
Research shows that just by imagining a reality, the brain produces the same neurological changes that it would if it were a real event. If we take a moment to consider the power in this, it means that we can literally imagine a reality and enjoy all of the benefits as if we already have it. We can live a life that is impossible to live in isolation, or at least feel like we are living it.
Try this meditation to recreate that sense of self that you may have lost:
- Find a comfortable seat or find a place to lie down. Close your eyes or find a point to focus on, such as a candle flame or a flower.
- Take 3 deep breaths, open your mouth to breathe out, and release any unwanted energy that has found its way inside you.
- Keep the breath flowing and start saying the mantra "I want" to yourself as you inhale. Imagine one thing that you want in your life, or that you are without any form of restrictive logic. Heavens limit thought.
- As you breathe out, let go of all those restrictive thoughts of why you can't have what you want here.
- Take another breath and repeat the mantra "I want" followed by another goal, thought or mindset that you want in your life.
- Again, breathe out whatever is preventing you from achieving what you want.
- Keep repeating this process until you build a picture of all the things you want your life to be filled with. It can be small, like “I want to be thankful”, or large, like “I want to start my own business out of my passion”. Either way, imagine you are living a life with it all.
- Take a few deep breaths to bask in this imaginative state of being all you want to be.
- Rub palms together at chest level to create energy at fingertips and place hands over eyes. Stay here for a few breaths and let the energy from the exercise seep into you.
- Slowly start to open your eyes. Take your journal and write your vision on a piece of paper. Come back to this whenever you need to remind yourself of what it is you want in life.
Everyone seems to be a yogi these days, from your BFF to your co-worker to your aunt—heck, even dogs and goats are getting their zen on. But if you have yet to attempt Warrior II or Mountain Pose, taking your first yoga class can be a little intimidating. What if your hands sweat and you fall off the mat ? What if you hate it ? What if you can’t do a solo. damn. pose ?
Okay, rewind a second—there’s a reason so many people have hopped on a mat over the past few years. ' Yoga is a non-judgmental practice, ' says Claire Ewing, certified yoga instructor and studio marketing directeur for CorePower Yoga. It’s is a totally accessible way to unwind and break a sweat, so there’s nothing to worry about before checking out a class.
But to help you feel a little more comfortable before you say your first ' om ' or ' namaste, ' Ewing has some yoga tips to answer all those questions floating around your head.
When in doubt, Ewing says opt for a vinyasa flow chic, ' where you have the opportunity to explore the postures and fundamental principles of yoga. ' These are the genres of classes most of your friends probably do, and it’s a great form of yoga for beginners. But bien sûr, it never hurts to check out a couple different variétés of classes to see what feels best to you.
' Definitely go for something breathable and easy to move in, ' says Ewing. ' You will work up a sweat, so consider wearing something with moisture-wicking abilities. ' Oh and FYI : Yoga is a no-shoes kind of workout, so don’t worry about sporting your best sneakers addict to class.
Like with any workout, it’s totally a personal preference how much you fuel pre-yoga. But Ewing points out that yoga is a pretty soutenu workout, and fueling your body properly will help you get the most out of your practice. Keep it light, though, ' I usually start with a protein shake or bar knowing that the classes can physically take you in dynamic directions, ' says Ewing. ( A. k. a. don’t down that massive avo toast right before chic. ) If you’re just having a small pre-workout snack, you can probably do that about 30 minutes beforehand; but wait a full one to two hours before working out after a meal.
She adds that hydrating beforehand is also key, especially if you ever do attempt a heated flow. ' Drink a full glass of water about two hours before class—that way you have something to sweat out and you will feel better during class. '
' Absolutely ! ' says Ewing. ' A regular yoga practice increases flexibility and strength in your muscles. It has you work your full range of motion in every joint of your body and build strong and long groupes musculaires. ' ( In fact, vinyasa yoga even made this list of the top calorie-burning workouts. )
This depends on the type of yoga chic you take—for example, a slow flow or hatha chic may require you to hold a pose for an extended period of time. But in vinyasa, ' it comes down to the volonté of how the posture was designed, ' says Ewing. ' For example, balancing poses are held longer to benefit concentration and focus, while transition postures build strength while teaching fluidity in movement. '
For the most part, though, poses are held for three to five breaths during the first round to help them sink into your memory. Then they’re held for a solo breath when you repeat the pose, to help amp up the cardio component of yoga.
Don’t stress ! No one expects you to master every pose your first go-round ( or really, ever—it’s a constant learning process ). Your yoga instructor should offer possibilités for pose modifications, especially for the more challenging ones. ' Your breath is key in yoga, if you are losing sight of this, you may want to consider modifying or completely backing off, ' says Ewing. And don’t be afraid to ask your instructor for aide.
Also, try to avoid comparing yourself to the other yogis in the room—all bodies are unique, and have varied strengths and défis. Plus, every time you step on the mat, it’s going to feel a little different, ' for both your body and your mind, ' says Ewing. ' If there is one thing you can take away from the classroom, it is learning how to modify and create a practice that is fit for you. '