Covid and Yoga: Lessons from Isolation


lady doing yoga in a mask with covid

Covid & The Frog Project


Here at The Frog Project we yoga from home and so we've done a pretty good job at dodging covid for the last couple of years. And then we move into February 2022 and half the teaching team (and the main Frog Proj HQ) go down with the bug. Of course, many of our students have had covid over the last couple of years, some of them continue coming to classes, others take a couple of couple weeks off, of course everybody is different. But it's been a good challenge for us this month.


We're very thankful that nobody was seriously poorly, and everybody is pretty much back on their feet (and yoga mats) as we speak. The half that stayed well did the MOST AMAZING job at stepping in to help with cover and we didn't have to cancel a single class. As a business owner, there's always been a little concern in the back of my mind of what we'd actually do if covid struck. Well it did, and we survived, and possibly even thrived! Well, certainly learnt a lesson or two.


For everybody that has experienced this strange virus (which by now is a pretty good chunk of us!) I'm sure we all have spent time reflecting and coming out the other end with a lesson or two, resolve to do things slightly differently, or maybe a shift in perspective.


Covid & Yoga


The basics of yoga philosophy teach us that there are 3 types of pain, that pain is inevitable, and that while yoga won't take the pain away, it can help us to manage our experience of the pain.

  1. Physical/mental pain: the suffering we experience because we have a physical body

  2. Social pain: the suffering we experience when our physical body comes into contact with external things (people, bacteria, viruses, animals)

  3. Unexplainable pain: the suffering we experience in relation to natural disasters and geographical changes due to planetary changes

How much suffering we experience is our conscious decision and yoga helps us to train the mind to respond to and manage pain in a different way, ultimately to become free from suffering.


Sounds easy right? Well, really this is the practice of a lifetime, but looking at yoga philosophy from this stand point helps to give a little perspective and foundation when it comes to navigating something like covid (which comes under the second umbrella, social pain).


3 Ways Yoga Can Help Manage Covid


1. Acceptance


It is nothing new to admit that we live in a fast paced world. Always doing, always busy, always here there and everywhere. Physically, or on your computer, or with your kids. Whatever your duties are or whatever hats you wear, we are busy people, with places to be.


Rarely are our days filled with just being idle. Watching the clouds go by, taking leisurely walks just to feel the breeze on our skin. Everything has a point, a purpose. Enter, covid. That puts a dampener on 'doing.'

Yoga teaches us to accept. To let everything be as it is. It helps us take off the 'doer' hat for 5 minutes, and in a way, is very humbling. It shows us that we aren't as important as we think we are. That if we don't complete A, B, C and the rest, the world won't implode.


So whether you're at the start of a yoga class thinking I have a million things to do can I really dedicate the next hour to practice, or at the start of your 5-10 days of feeling pretty crap with covid stressed that you can't do whatever it is you're supposed to be doing, accept. Accept that sometimes (actually almost always) things are out of our control. And once we do accept, it's much easier to let go.


2. Softening


Of course, letting go is much easier said than done. This is where yoga comes in once again. What does it mean to 'soften'? Try this.. take a big breath in, and as your breath out imagine something in your body relaxing. Maybe your shoulders at first. Then on the next exhale, maybe your jaw, your chest, your hands or your fingers, anywhere you are holding tension.


Softening is the opposite to resistance. Resistance is holding on, gripping, afraid to let go (if you're a parent of young kids you may know Kevin the Koala). Softening is not grasping, is light, is gentle, is a sense of curiosity. Close your eyes and take a moment to find these 'places' of tension, of resistance, of holding on. Do they exist in your physical body or do they exist in your mind? When you discover them, meet them with breath. Allow the breath to dissolve or diffuse this tension. Meet resistance with softness.


3. Practice


A lot of our students here at The Frog Project have continued to practice yoga during covid and have especially enjoyed our Nurture classes which are slower and more restorative in nature. For me personally, I felt exhausted and really didn't want to move my body. 10 days no asana. It's unheard of for me, and when I did eventually get back on the mat, it took me a little time to iron out the kinks and creases.


But no 'yoga' or asana doesn't mean you can't 'practice.' Practice doesn't have to be the same everyday and it doesn't have to be a 60 min yoga class. Practice is something you do to help you connect to you. To give your body and mind, and most importantly your nervous system, time to rest, time to heal. So making time in your day to do something for your mind body connection is really helpful in healing. For me, it was yoga nidra. The practice of 'yogic sleep' or essentially lying down in a really comfortable and supportive way listening to a progressive guided relaxation and visualisation. Yoga nidra takes you to that place between being awake and asleep giving your body chance to heal and repair from the inside out.


If you're reading this and wondering whether you'd like to give Yoga nidra a go we have a class this evening (Monday 21 Feb) at 7.30pm. Come along. You won't regret it. If you've discovered this article a little later, we do have monthly nidra sessions, so pop along to our schedule and find the next one.


Yoga & Pain


So, whether you have covid and you're looking for a little relief, or whether you're just interested how yoga can help, these 3 tips can help manage symptoms of any kind of pain we find ourselves in. Simple, yet effective lessons to help us navigate the waters of life. But don't be hard on yourself, this is the practice of a lifetime.


If you have a little energy and need a bit of help unslumping yourself, this short practice is a sure way to spark a little happy energy. But if you are feeling tired, weak, exhausted, no pressure. Lie down. Tune in. Let go.



If you'd like to join a warm and welcoming community for a little yoga practice, we have a 15 day free trial and would love to meet you. Sign up here and book yourself in for your first class today.




 




Carrie Froggett



Carrie is a co-founder of The Frog Project, yoga teacher, teacher trainer, and full time stay at home mum to two smalls. When she's not playing with the kids or practicing yoga, you'll likely find her in the middle of her veg patch, trowel in hand and covered in mud. She loves the outdoors, and would camp every night given the chance. She and her partner in crime, Martin, set up The Frog Project with the aim of bringing classical yoga to all, and deliver live online classes with a group of dedicated teachers, to students of all experiences, ages, shapes, sizes, jobs, lives, you name it, from all around the world. Join them now and get 15 days of free unlimited classes. It's just yoga.


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