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BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Advice for starting a mindfulness practice during a pandemic

Uncategorized May 21, 2020

Are you feeling tired and like “there is no way I should feel this tired” at the same time? Are you having difficulty paying attention on Zoom or getting motivated in the morning? There is a fatigue that comes with living life in 2D. Our brains evolved for human interaction, not for watching screens.

Mindfulness practices may cure COVID-brain, and by yoga I don’t mean twisting like a pretzel, I mean breathing, meditating, and connecting with your body. Even if you don’t see yourself starting a new habit now, think about how you’d like to carry mindfulness forward when life shifts to the new normal.

Here are a few tips to get started even when you can’t leave the house.

Check your thoughts.

Are you your toughest critic? Practicing self-compassion is more important than any pose. One positive about starting your practice during a pandemic is that no one is watching you. There is no comparing your body to others in the class or getting distracted by your movements in the mirror.

Connect with a class or individual session.

If you are spending time online, find a yoga class or video. Yes, it’s a screen but this may be your only option for a while. At least it won’t overstimulate your brain like anything else you’d be watching. Many studios are offering online instruction; read the teacher’s bio or class description and look for words like restorative yoga or flow.

Start with the intention to be kinder to yourself.

Just like crying has no place in baseball, self-harming thoughts have no place in yoga. Choosing mindfulness in a scattered world is a brave journey. Feeling sad or overreacting to the news right now is a normal reaction, it doesn’t mean yoga isn’t working. Imagine your brain’s response without yoga?!

Start a journal.

I didn’t understand the need for a journal at first, how long was this mindfulness thing going to take anyway? Choosing mindfulness in a scattered world is a brave journey and the journals will give you something to look back on and remember this time. If you are the person who would rather forget, writing by hand uses your brain in a different way than a screen; writing is active and keeps you in the moment.

Get a yoga starter kit.

Yoga is not about pain or discomfort. There are props to prop you up like a cushion or bolster, a mat, an extra-long strap, and/or yoga blocks. You can sit comfortably or stretch your legs; the props provide support as your body releases stress and becomes more flexible.

Check with a healthcare provider.

If your anxious or depressed thoughts are interfering with your ability to function, seek an expert opinion on the best treatment options. If at any time you are having thoughts of self-harm, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

Thank you for reading! For more inspiration, download my 10 Best Mindfulness Tips.

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