Now that the spring semester is over, I’ve found myself with more unoccupied time than I know what to do with.
Like many others, I’m unable to go to work. Both of the studios I teach yoga and group fitness classes at are closed, and condensed versions of their schedules have moved to Facebook Live and Zoom.
As a proclaimed introvert, I didn’t think I would miss interacting with others as much as I do. I missed teaching, so I set up virtual movement sessions six days a week with a couple of friends. Sometimes my internet connection lags and they get stuck in poses for too long, the camera angles aren’t the best, and I can’t tell if the music sounds good or I need to offer adjustments, but we make it work.
Despite the fact that many of us are stuck at home, the human body was made to move. A lot of us have stopped regular movement like walking to the bus stop or climbing the stairs. We’ve lost access to our gyms and fitness classes. We may lack the motivation to get out of bed, let alone exercise. The important thing is not to be too hard on ourselves and to meet our bodies where our minds are.
Perhaps you feel cooped up. When the weather is nice, it’s the perfect time to walk around your neighbourhood — practicing responsible social distancing of course. Maybe go for a jog or bike ride. Take an unfamiliar route. Explore a bit.
Maybe you have the energy to try and get into a new fitness routine or to keep up existing ones. This is a good time for that. There are many options. YouTube has free workout and yoga routines. You could also support your local yoga studio (since small businesses are really suffering right now) and purchase access to their online content and live online classes with teachers in real-time. The benefit of live classes is that they provide someone to watch your form and offer corrections or modifications to prevent injury.
If you are used to going to the gym and don’t have the proper equipment at home, you can use household supplies to get by. Weights used for pilates and yoga fitness can be replaced with soup cans or full water bottles. Maybe you’re taking the Chris Hemsworth route and using a full laundry basket or jugs of detergent.
Whatever you decide, have fun. If you’re new to movement, building a regular practice will take time and dedication. Be gentle with yourself. The first time is always the biggest challenge. It will get easier. You will get stronger.
If all of this sounds like too much, that’s okay too. Maybe you don’t do any of it. Instead, you take extra trips to the fridge even though you could have carried everything in one go. Use stairs instead of elevators if you can. Sit up straight, tilt your head side to side, and look from one shoulder to the other. Reach your arms up. Swing them in circles, first one way, then the other. Remember to breathe.
This pandemic won’t last forever. Movement will help us when we need to release pent up stress about the uncertainty we are collectively facing. Find what works best for you.