Yoga in the time of COVID 19

Hearing the news of a virus raging through the country was bad enough. Then, Governor Bel Edwards announced nonessential businesses had to close which ended up shutting down Leela Yoga temporarily! I was in a panic at the thought of no yoga, especially with the stress of being quarantined.

Immediately, it seemed like Leela was providing online classes for members!  Enter Zoom, the new mechanism to bring yoga into your home. Only, I couldn’t work Zoom exactly so I had new technology to learn. Eke! And I still haven’t figured out how to coordinate the playlist with Spotify on my Google Mini. I mourn for the simple days of just showing up at the studio with my mat.

Thanks to Allie’s patience and numerous emails, I’m Zooming with the rest of them and practicing online. See, you can teach an old dog a new trick! 

Onto other housekeeping issues, like where to put my mat and laptop. This was more challenging than I thought. My home has tile floors or carpet/rugs, neither of which is ideal but hey, I’d been a practicing yogi for 10 years, so I had this.

I started out on the living room, laying my Manduka mat over the oriental rug. The pad underneath the rug was thick but I thought it would be better than practicing on the hard-Italian tile floor, right? Besides, the living room offered a great spot to position the laptop. 

Quickly I learned, the rug/pad and mat were not a good combination. Altogether the combination was too soft, and I wobbled on standing poses where balancing is needed. I decided to try my carpeted bedroom floor.

The carpeted floor was not any better than the living room, so I pushed the mat to the side and started practicing on the bare carpet. I didn’t wobble but then my feet would slide in certain poses and not in directions I wanted. 

So, my last option was to practice on the tile floor. At first it seemed a ‘no can do’ and I was pretty sure some limb would get injured in the practice on this hard surface. Suddenly, I remembered the original yoga mat (I bought from who knows where, many years ago) was curled up under my bed. It was a thick foamy mat that no self-respecting yogi would be caught dead using. I quickly found it to be too squishy when practicing yoga in a studio; however, it just might be perfect for my tile floors. Using the mat, I started to experience mat shame, like what serious yogi would use this kind of mat? A moment of panic set in that I wasn’t being a good or true yogi – sigh! 

Then reality dawned and I reminded myself, I am 62 years old and thin. This extra cushion was just what I needed even though I still had to get off the mat for the one leg standing poses.

What I found out, through my home journey of finding a suitable area to practice and with which mat, is that finding the perfect spot was a process, just like life. Step by Step. Practicing at home gave me an added appreciation for Leela Yoga, where I could mindlessly plop down on the cork floor with my trusty Manduka, any prop I needed provided, and lots of room around me. Having my physical environment just right allows me to concentrate on and go deeper into my practice and reap the most out of the practice. 

I look forward to the day the studio can open again! In the meantime, practicing Zoom yoga is the next best thing to being there and I feel so much better at the end of class than I did when it started.

Stay well and Namaste!