In a time of uncertainty, it’s important to find an exercise routine that keeps you grounded.
IN OUR CURRENT PANDEMIC state, everyone who can work from home, and even many who can’t, are staying home to help “flatten the curve.” In some locations, many are on lockdown and ordered to work from home.
With this complete upheaval of our daily lives, there’s a sense of debilitating uncertainty and anxiety about our future. It feels like we’ve been attacked, and there are dire physical and mental consequences. This stress alone can be paralyzing.
In a time of uncertainty, it’s important to find a routine that keeps you grounded. One way is to develop and maintain a home yoga practice.
Try these strategies to keep up with your yoga practice while working from home:
Make It a Habit
Behavioral scientists have some tips based on research to develop healthy habits like starting an at-home yoga practice. Practice the same time every day and stack your new yoga habit with another, like brushing your teeth. So that every day, right after you brush your teeth, for example, you practice yoga.
BJ Fogg, a behavior scientist at Stanford University and author of the new book “Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything,” says setting your bar low is key. Have your mat, props and designated yoga space set up and start with just one pose or flow like cat-cow or down dog.
Fogg says that it’s important to hack your brain by calling up a positive emotion, by celebrating yourself for completing a new habit. One strategy is to listen to your favorite music while you practice. Another is to reward yourself by sipping on your favorite coffee blend after you complete your yoga session. Or simply bring your palms to touch at the end of every yoga practice and say “namaste,” or “thank you,” as a gesture of gratitude.
Maintenance Over Advancement
(COURTESY OF JAKE PANASEVICH)
While making progress in your yoga practice is fun and important, it shouldn’t be your only goal. When you’re at home, focus on establishing a full-spectrum practice so you maintain your flexibility and strength. A good, balanced sequence would include:
- Down dog.
- Side angle.
- Forward fold.
- Supine twist
- Seated forward-fold.
- Savasana, or final resting meditation.
Start with these foundation poses while you work from home. This will ensure that your hips, hamstrings, quads, back and shoulders are open and pain free. They are the keystone poses to build on and prerequisites for all other more advanced poses you may want to attempt.
Even with all the advancements in technology, I don’t believe anything is as effective as having a quality yoga teacher instruct you in person. That being said, online classes offer more opportunities to learn and practice from home than ever before. And most people would rather be taught, than left to their own devices feeling overwhelmed about what to do.
If that’s the case, consider investing in an online course. The convenience of having a virtual class available to you at any point during your day at home is crucial. Yoga International offers numerous classes online from a wide variety of teachers who specialize in different types of yoga. They are relatively affordable, and as far as online classes go, the instructors are the highest quality I’ve seen.
Ask Your Favorite Teacher for Help
Over the past three years, I’ve been asked more frequently to teach students over FaceTime or to create personalized videos for their specific needs and goals. I love working in this capacity with my students. Most teachers would be honored and thrilled to evolve their yoga teaching business in a way that leverages their time, while optimizing convenience and lasting impact.
Pick a particular teacher that you connect with, reach out to them and request to either start a live, weekly class or to make you an at-home personalized yoga video that you can practice daily. You could start with a video and see how it goes.
Then, if you’re working from home long term, you might consider a regularly scheduled, live private session. I believe that this will be the direction yoga goes in the foreseeable future and how teachers and students will interact as we grow with technology.
Stay in Community
My greatest concern about moving towards a more isolated living and working environment is its effect on our mental health. Loneliness and lack of human interaction are real problems, and our addiction to technology often disconnects us more than it brings us together.
If you’re working from home, invite those you love to join you in your yoga practice. If you’re working from home, invite your friends or family to join your virtual yoga class. Discuss options with your yoga friends or partner, find a convenient time to practice and make an effort to be together. Even if it’s over a live chat like FaceTime or Facebook Live.
If you can’t sync up schedules, consider using the same online yoga class and discuss it with one another afterwards. Not only is it a great way to stay accountable and motivated, but it’s good for us to stay socially engaged.
Yoga is meant to be done in community and within the context of a meaningful conversation. It’s a path of getting to know yourself more completely and bettering yourself in the process. Your journey is sweeter when you’re in good company. Make the most out of your work from home schedule by sticking with your practice while sharing it with others.