meditation and yoga

Meditation and Yoga During Uncertain Times

We’re living in uncertain times. Understatement of the century, right?  Well Meditation and Yoga may help!

The coronavirus has quickly and drastically changed the way that we live. Relationships, work, and daily habits have been upended … It’s still not clear how much longer it will last. With these things in mind, it’s no surprise that many people are having difficulty keeping on an even keel. 

While there’s plenty you can’t control, there are things that you can do to create a sense of stability in your daily life — including practices like meditation and yoga.

In this post, we’ll talk about some of the specific challenges the pandemic may have presented to your well-being, and how meditation and yoga could help.
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Meditation and Yoga: The Ultimate Mental Health Toolkit

To address how meditation and yoga can help during these uncertain times, let’s look at some of the biggest challenges people are experiencing right now and how these practices can assist in overcoming each of them. 

Uncertainty About the Future 

Right now, the future seems very hazy. In spite of the fact that the nation was put on lockdown in fairly short order, reopening isn’t going to be quite as fast or to the point.

The virus hasn’t yet peaked, and plans for reopening the economy remain uncertain, both in terms of when it will happen and what it might look like. Stressful? You bet. 

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How Meditation and Yoga Can Help

Uncertainty about the future is definitely anxiety-producing. Luckily, both meditation and yoga are proven to help alleviate anxiety. 

In a study monitoring the effects of meditation on high levels of anxiety, individuals with anxiety disorders were monitored weekly to see the effects of a meditation practice. The results showed “significant reductions in anxiety and depression scores … The number of subjects experiencing panic symptoms was also substantially reduced.” 

Yoga can help, too. In another study, a focus group of women struggling with anxiety and depression took two 90-minute yoga classes per week for 2 months. At the end of the study, it was determined that “significant reduction in perceived levels of anxiety in women who suffer from anxiety disorders. This study suggests that yoga can be considered as a complementary therapy or an alternative method for medical therapy in the treatment of anxiety disorders.”

Missing Personal Connection

No doubt about it, living in lockdown is emotionally challenging. 

For those who live alone, the isolation and lack of physical proximity and contact to family and friends can be excruciating at times. Even for those who are sheltering in place with family or friends, the lack of variety and reduced contact with the greater community is challenging.

How Meditation and Yoga Can Help

Meditation can bring you up close and personal with the most important person in your life: you. Meditation allows you time and space to reflect inward and get attuned to your own personal needs. 

By dimming down the noise around you and getting quiet, you can take the time to reflect on how the pandemic is affecting you. It can help create a sense of serenity within the chaos. No, it won’t change things, but this awareness can help take the edge off of the discomfort. It may also inspire you to take steps to alleviate the pain, such as setting up a FaceTime friend date or joining in on one of the many Zoom events going on. 

Yoga can also prove extremely helpful. Not only is it a known mood-booster, but it could create opportunities for connection. For instance, plenty of studios have shifted to an online mode of teaching, meaning that you can enjoy some virtual contact with favorite teachers and other students.  

stress relief and meditation

Lack of Exercise 

The pandemic has had devastating effects on many a workout routine. Gyms are closed. Workout classes are at a standstill.

It’s more difficult to get out and about now; a lot of parks, trails, and beaches are closed. While it’s still OK to get outside and exercise within reason, fear of catching or passing the virus is keeping more people inside than out. 

How Meditation and Yoga Can Help

Yoga is perhaps the more obvious solution to the problem of lack of exercise. As an at-home workout, yoga is ideal; it doesn’t require much equipment or space. It can also benefit your body, build strength, and help you maintain a steady mind.

Classes are plentiful online — there are a ton of free classes to be found on YouTube, and plenty of studios are offering live classes online. 

Meditation can work in tandem with yoga. Did you know that yoga originated as a mode of preparing the body for meditation? By moving the body, many find it easier to get into a deeper meditative space faster.

Even if yoga isn’t your thing, meditation could still help alleviate the “I miss my regular workout” woes. By being present with yourself in meditation, even if to face the frustration of not being able to go to the gym, you may find that you’re better able to find a state of calm and greater ability to weather the storm. 

Job Changes 

Many jobs have changed drastically in the past month or so. Some jobs have disappeared entirely for the time being. Others shifted to a work at home model without much notice. For those who work in “essential” services, the added potential of contamination is making work a lot more stressful. 

How Meditation and Yoga Can Help

A lot of the current job changes can’t be helped. At the moment, the future may be unknown. Meditation can be a powerful tool in helping you cope. For one, as discussed earlier, meditation can help alleviate anxiety.

For another, meditation can help you better attain a state of acceptance. By being in the moment and sitting with the discomfort you’re feeling, you’re giving yourself a safe space to feel the uncomfortable stuff. Believe it or not, this can help you move out of discomfort and into a place of gratitude.  

Yoga can have some pretty astounding results too. According to one scholarly article reviewing a number of studies, it was determined that “Yogic practices inhibit the areas responsible for fear, aggressiveness and rage, and stimulate the rewarding pleasure centers in the median forebrain and other areas leading to a state of bliss and pleasure.” Who couldn’t use a little bit of that in these times of uncertainty? 

Meditation and Yoga During the Pandemic 

The coronavirus has forced a lot of change on us in a very short period of time. It’s understandable that you might be feeling unsettled during these strange times! 

Meditation and yoga are two simple practices that you can put into place now that could help alleviate stress, help forge a greater sense of connection, and reduce anxiety.

They’re both free, easy to start, and don’t require special equipment. If you need help getting started, consider downloading my free e-book, “Meditation for Beginners: A Comprehensive Guide.”
Have you maintained a meditation or yoga practice during the pandemic?

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