How Yoga is helping me get through the pandemic
With continuing restrictions due to COVID-19 we all have different ways of attempting to cope. University of the West of Scotland MBA graduate Priscila Gutierrez shares how Yoga is helping her deal with daily pressures.
In times such as these, life has forced us to be present, and this is one of the reasons why it has been so hard to deal with life lately. When I find myself complaining about the circumstances, or struggling with the situation, I realize it is because I still want things to work as they used to, or because my mind is preconditioned to expect particular results. Though there is no question that Covid-19 has placed everyone in this world in a vulnerable and unpleasant situation, it is during these hard times that we might find the opportunity to change and be the change.
As a yoga practitioner I have witnessed how difficult it is to remain in the present moment, but it is not impossible. The practice of yoga delivers the ability to remain attentive, and experience the joy of being in the now. B.K.S. Iyengar, a well-recognized yoga teacher, put it in these words: “Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present.”
When I first started doing yoga, I engaged in the practice because of the feeling of happiness and satisfaction that I experienced at the end of the class. With time, I’ve come to realize that feeling was nothing but the sensation of having been present throughout the session. The practice demands you to focus your attention, and as a consequence sets you free. If you have ever done yoga before, you might have experienced a similar sensation.
Though the pandemic is a terrible reality, it is a circumstance that pushes everyone to release the past, remain present and forget about expectations. Everything is so uncertain at this point that it is demanded that we focus on the present moment and live in the now. We were so used to always being in a rush, that was our life. For me, yoga has awakened my awareness, allowing me to acknowledge how I feel in the present moment so that I can offer the best version of myself to those around me.
Yoga practice is more than a physical practice. When we immerse ourselves in the yoga journey we experience a spiritual understanding of our daily life. Yoga seeks to calm the fluctuations in consciousness, and through the body, the mind and the soul develop a better connection to our feelings and bring ourselves back to the present moment. It allows us to acknowledge the tools, the strength and the flexibility that our whole being is equipped with. It is not us who need to adapt to the practice, we discover that the practice is the one that adjusts to our needs.
The situation we find ourselves in these days demands that we remain strong and flexible in order to face the unexpected and be ready for change. In yoga we do not just train the body to develop these qualities, but the mind as well. We discover the union between our body, mind and soul, our capacity to adapt and let go, our self-understanding and compassion. For those who haven’t practiced yoga, all I want to say is: never limit yourself because you think you are not flexible or strong enough to experience anything. Any skill can be developed with practice, attention and perseverance. The greatest flexibility is one’s willingness, and real strength is being brave enough to face the present…
I strongly encourage you to practice yoga in any way you want, any style, any form. No matter the circumstances, awareness, compassion and a deeper understanding of the self are the best tools to remain steady, strong and enthusiastic. The present moment requires our strength and flexibility, and practicing yoga will help you to find the strength and flexibility within you.