yin yoga in the time of covid 

‘You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.’ – Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642)

Galileo, an Italian astronomer and mathematician who also studied medicine, championed his belief that the earth revolved around the sun, the centre of the solar system. An idea that seems so simple to us now. Yet a man so brilliant with such insight was branded a heretic for having this dangerous view and remained under house arrest until his death.

Yin yoga, all yoga in fact, has been an inner refuge to us – a place where we can come to, to rest and move in the perfect sanctuary we call home, our bodies, which are always there for us as long as we are here, alive and well enough. Only what happens when home no longer feels like a refuge when we are truly locked up in our physical homes of safety?

The dilemma we once faced with rushing, commuting, lack of sleep, inordinate stress has now been upended. Those of us who have had no choice but been forced to stay home, unable to travel or be with our friends, families and colleagues have suddenly found it stressful to be home. These perfect homes of ours where we once longed to rest and spend more time have presented a different kind of challenge and one which we have been ill equipped to manage. All, it seems, but those who have survived or navigated a war where being locked down for months or years even was something they learned to live through and to tell a tale. This inner war for us is a very different one, for in previous wars, people came together to support one another and there was camaraderie. This Coronavirus has put paid to that and our neighbours have become suspects. Our families and friends have had to go on waitlists.

What has any of this got to do with yin yoga and mindfulness per se? I can’t answer that because we are each learning, I think, to navigate and no one can provide the answers or solution to our particular dilemmas. But what I can say without hesitation that the coming together online in a supportive framework to learn some of the methods that can help us navigate these rocky and uncertain times has been invaluable to the teachers who have attended. Little did I know this of course when we were hit with the first lockdown and I was faced with cancelling a year’s schedule with a training imminent in a matter of weeks from the first lockdown. I believed that I could show up and transmit the teachings in an intelligible way on screen and that by having students live and visible to me and to one another, and to have them also communicate with one another, could be a new virtual reality that might just help and might just work.  And it has, over and over again this year.

This will be my sixth teacher training online since Covid began. I went from teaching at triyoga in January 2020 with 70 teachers in the room at Camden to teaching people in squares on a screen. Yet this is what students have said they learned and how they in turn, have supported and helped no small numbers in their own circles. It turns out that’s a lot of gratitude out there for the practice of yin yoga.

 

This unique mindfulness practice of alertness of mind, yet relaxation of the body and breath in yin postures brings a unique stable framework to this space we call our home, our inner refuge when we know how to reset our nervous systems, to meet our jagged edges wherever we are and however we find ourselves when we practise yin yoga.

Students have also learned how to articulate and share the methods and practices of yin yoga integrated with mindfulness on screen too. And yes they’ve learned the meridian pathways, deepened their understanding of how the rivers of qi run through connective tissue pathways of fascia, signalling messengers and emotions that are carried through every organ in our body. They’ve learned to honour their bodies feedback signals and carve out a practice that is adaptable and responsive to their individual needs.

Yin yoga is so much more than just stressing the deeper layers of connective tissue in yin postures, it is about embodying who we are and honouring this to help us move more graciously through this new terrain. And just to say, that I too have learned to adapt and see everyone more clearly now too with multiple screens and tech assistants on hand throughout. My brilliant sons and assistants online will be there too. Hope to meet you next January for what I hope will be a life changing experience for you.

Click here for more information about Sarah Lo’s upcoming yin yoga and mindfulness meditation teacher training starting on 30th January 2021. Early bird pricing available before 31st December 2020. 

Sarah Lo is a Senior Yoga Teacher Trainer E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance USA and UK. Sarah has been personally endorsed and certified by Sarah Powers to teach ‘Insight Yoga’ from Insight Yoga Institute, one of just a few teachers in the world to receive this accreditation. She is also a Certified Professional Coach (PCC)  and a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and brings a deep level of skills to her yin teacher trainings from her coaching background. Sarah has studied extensively with Paul Grilley, Donna Farhi and other leading Yoga teachers for over 25 years. 

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