Finding My Focus in the World of Virtual Yoga – The Connecticut College Voice

Posted: October 16, 2020 at 11:57 am

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Photo courtesy of Jozette Moses

It seems that yoga has become a trend in the time of COVID-19. While the low cost and convenience of at-home yoga has certainly contributed to its rise in popularity, perhaps the most important thing that the practice can do for us in this day and age is relieve stress. Its no secret that COVID-19 is as much an infodemic as it is a pandemic, which is why anxiety has become so prevalent in our day-to-day lives. Yoga can help us cope with the concerns, uncertainty, and poor mental health that so many are experiencing as a result of the pandemic.

I am just one of many individuals around the world who began to gravitate towards yoga during quarantine. Practicing first thing in the morning became an essential part of my daily new routine. At first, it was simply a way to move my body before breakfast. But I slowly realized that I was feeling better on the inside, too. The mindfulness which I cultivated helped me cope with the sadness I felt over the abrupt end to my senior year of high school, as well as the uncertainty that I felt about transitioning to college.

When I arrived at Conn, I was thrilled to see virtual yoga class offerings during orientation, and I continue to be impressed with the quantity of these offerings. It shows that the College is committed to helping students maintain their physical and mental health during these challenging times. There are, however, drawbacks to virtual yoga. For me, the added layer of technology, which is prone to malfunction, takes away some degree of the peace that I seek when I practice yoga. Additionally, I find that attempts to maintain some sense of a yoga community online just doesnt beat the feeling of personal connection that I get at an in-person yoga class.

When I logged in to Zoom for a class from the Find Your Focus Yoga Series on a particular cloudy Friday evening, each of these drawbacks was evident to me. I was the only student in the class, and while it was nice to receive individualized feedback on my form, I felt that I had to remain 100 percent plugged in and engaged with the instructor. The practice felt performative, which made it difficult to fully relax and tend to the wellness of my mind and body. In addition, that flawed technology piece was certainly at play as the instructor and I had difficulty communicating during the class. Yoga is meant to be a fluid experience, but the numerous interruptions in internet connection made that flow nearly impossible.

That said, this virtual yoga class was not a total bust. By some stroke of luck, the connection remained stable during the last few minutes, which are always my favorite. It is in these last few minutes that yoga instructors usually share a take-home message, a snippet of wisdom which the students can carry with them long after their physical practice. In this particular class, the instructor touched on the idea of fluidity between poses, remarking that its all about whats inside the sandwich. Yoga is about connection: that of your hands and feet to the ground, your mind, body, and spirit, your being to those around you and your greater purpose in life. The instructor reminded me to be kind to myself, that I dont have to work that hard, and that the more I focus on the external, the more I burn away whats inside.

What you get out of participating in this yoga series will be different for each person. Though I did not enjoy the technology issues and lack of fellow student participation, I can say that the class certainly contributed to the maintenance of my own wellbeing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It allowed me to move my body and leave with some food-for-thought. I remain pleased that Conn makes these small efforts to help students remain physically and mentally healthy during this unprecedented semester. I believe that these opportunities have the potential to positively impact individual students and the campus as a whole.

In closing, I want to share with my fellow yogis my love for Adriene Mishler of Yoga with Adriene. If you are a part of the yoga community, youve probably stumbled across her YouTube channel. Here, you can find a variety of pre-filmed home yoga classes, complete with regular appearances by her dog, Benji. Adreines videos launched me into my personal yoga journey back in March, and I havent looked back. I fell in love with her find what feels good approach through a 30 day yoga challengeof which she has posted manyand continue to practice with her almost daily. If you, too, find yourself discouraged by the lack of community and technological interruptions that are prevalent among virtual yoga classes, I highly recommend Adriene. She manages to do away with the complications while fostering an unbelievably strong yoga community. I always leave her classes with a happy body and a happy mind, which, these days, can be hard to come by, but are nevertheless important.

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Finding My Focus in the World of Virtual Yoga - The Connecticut College Voice

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October 16th, 2020 at 11:57 am

Posted in Yoga