We could all use a bit of calm right now, what with businesses and schools having to shut down, key workers under pressure, working from home and all the lockdown restrictions to get to grips with.
But there aren’t many things guaranteed to dial down stress levels quite like a yoga session.
Whether you’re an absolute beginner or someone who goes regularly to classes, there’s never been a better time to find your inner warrior and hold that pose.
Louise Fitzsimmons from White Wolf Yoga in the city centre says yoga is the perfect lockdown activity for all ages and abilities.
“The government’s latest restrictions do say you can get out for some exercise every day, but we’re all going to be stuck in the house a lot more than usual which can cause issues with stress,” she says. “Yoga is a very calming thing to do so it’s ideal for the circumstances we’re in now, especially because it’s something you can do anywhere, and you don’t need any specialist equipment or any experience.”
To try and help everyone get through the next few weeks, Louise has a series of videos on her YouTube channel which are suitable for all levels.
“We have a yoga for beginners series, which starts with class one which is all about the absolute basics, an introduction to some of the foundation poses of yoga, where you begin and how your body should be positioned. Class two is about flow, so about breathing and the movement between postures, then class three is warrior poses so they’re all about strengthening the body, and class four is about balance.
“There are six classes in the series specifically for beginners, and people can choose to do as many as they feel comfortable with.
“We know lots of people are missing their regular classes so we’ve got videos for more experienced levels, and also a series which focuses on different scenarios that yoga might help with such as relaxation for bedtime, detoxifying yoga, yoga for runners, as well as a morning class.
“I’ve also just done a yoga for immunity video that I’ll be adding at the weekend, which I thought would be particularly useful at the moment, and I’ve had requests for a family yoga one that people can do with their children.”
“The first thing to do is get yourself a quiet space, enough to be able to stretch out without feeling cramped, and turn your phone off because you don’t want any distractions stopping you getting yourself in the right frame of mind.
“If you’ve got a yoga mat then that’s brilliant, but don’t worry if you haven’t because you can always improvise with what you already have in the house. A towel or beach towel, or a blanket or throw, would all work, although it’s good to have something with a bit of a grip – a soft blanket might slip a little.
“Carpet or a runner in the hall would be fine for most of the positions, to give a bit of cushioning under you.”
“People practice yoga for all sorts of reasons but it can really be beneficial for stress and anxiety, mental health and wellbeing, and that’s something that’s being mentioned more and more.
“This is such a challenging situation for everybody so anything which can keep people calm and help them to manage their stress is a good thing.
“With our YouTube videos, people can watch whenever it suits them – if they’re working from home they can do it to get themselves started in the morning, or to help them wind down at the end of the day.
“If you’re not used to working from home, that can be a difficult adjustment, but yoga can really help you establish a routine, an energising one in the morning can set you up for the day.
“We incorporate meditation and relaxation at the end of most sessions, but we also have a 10-minute video just dedicated to relaxation and lot of people have messaged me to tell me they’re using it before bed to help them switch off and get a good night’s sleep.”
“They vary from 10 minutes for the relaxation one to about 45 minutes – we did some research and found that was the length most people wanted for a full class.
“There’s over 20 different videos on the channel already and I’ll be adding to them regularly. It’s a good opportunity to get yoga out there and I wanted to keep it free so hopefully we can spread a bit of positivity at a time when we really need it most.”
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