A Year Later-What Have We Learned?

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Like everyone else, I’m reflecting on the last year. No one really knew what was going on, except that things were getting worse. We were officially in a pandemic, who would’ve thought that would happen during our lifetimes. At school, we kept wondering what was going to happen. Parents started keeping their kids home, and we prepared for an extended spring break-take home some extra books and a review packet and we’ll see you in April. Of course that never happened.

Meanwhile, I was 33 weeks pregnant. My doctor appointments started happening weekly, and I asked at each visit, “what are the current rules at the hospital?”. My biggest anxiety outside of staying safe was making sure my husband could be with me when I gave birth.

We hunkered down inside. We built a couple Legos, cleaned rooms in our condo, started cooking more often. Waiting to know when this was going to end. We ordered a carseat, stroller, and other baby essentials earlier than expected, afraid stores were going to close and items were going to be out of stock. I carefully went to the grocery store at 6am with the Seniors and people with autoimmune illnesses to reduce the crowds. I virtually taught about 6 weeks before going on Maternity Leave. Leggings and athleisure became my new wardrobe.

There were no visitors after we came home from the hospital. There were lots of FaceTime calls to introduce our daughter to friends and families. There were lots of walks and park parties getting together with family and friends so we could be with others and be outside. Time went on and we kept waiting for an end.

Here we are a year later, still waiting, but there’s hope in sight. I’ve gotten my first vaccine and some of our friends and family are fully vaccinated or in the process. The weather is getting warmer again, so we can start being outside again. There’s hope that more activities and places will open up soon. I did not plan to spend the last month of my pregnancy nor being with a newborn in quarantine, let alone starting to plan a first birthday party.

But not everything has been negative. What started as a virtual game night for something to do with my husband’s college friends turned in to a weekly Zoom get together. I’ve taken a lot more walks with the dogs or stroller to get outside than I may have if we weren’t otherwise stuck inside. While it would be nice to do classes in person, there is definitely a benefit that I can grab my daughter after a nap, sign on to Zoom, and be right on time. Or put her down for a nap and continue my workout or group conversation. Curbside pickup for groceries and dinner has been super convenient so I don’t have to carry the heavy carseat inside.

While Listening to Gretchen Rubin’s latest podcast episode, she brought up the question, “What valuable lessons have we learned from the pandemic?” This is something I’ve been pondering as well as “What do we want to stay?” We’ve made many lifestyle changes to keep us and others safe the past year, but not all have been negative. What have we learned and what positives should stay as we return to another new normal.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Lessons from Yoga

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In the past year, I’ve become an avid yoga enthusiast.  I only practice 1-2 times per week, but when I get in that zone, it is a true destresser.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to clear my mind, but after class I always feel so much better.  And if my mind begins to wander, I lose my focus and fall out of poses!  I’ve also used the breathing techniques to help me calm down in daily life events.  As I’ve increased my practice, I’ve also realized lessons from yoga that can be applied to daily life and the classroom.  Below outlines lessons we can bring into our daily lives.

  • Yoga is differentiated-everyone has different abilities and is at different stages of their practice and that is okay.  There are different options with the poses that the instructor shares, and you get the choice of how far to go based on your flexibility and level.  There are tools to use, such as a block or strap for additional support so you can try a more advanced option.  Also, you are focused on yourself rather than comparing to others around yourself.  Yes, I do look around, in awe of people who can do crazy balances, and know I am not there yet.  And that is okay.
  • Throughout yoga, you are focused on yourself and your breath.  You use this breath to help you push through poses.  Any other thoughts are pushed to the wayside.  Throughout the class, you take moments to return to your breath to regain focus or slow down after a difficult sequence or pose.  If you struggled, this is a chance to regain neutral ground and keep going.  This is why yoga is seen as a stress relief and confidence booster.
  • At the beginning of each class, an intention is set.  Sometimes the instructor gives you a suggestion, sometimes you create your own.  Usually these are a word or a phrase, the reason you decided to come to class that day.  Imagine if everyone woke up and set an attention to try their best, listen to themselves, appreciate the world, or be awesome everyday!
  • Yoga is about growth.  Each class you can push yourself further or try something new.  Over time, you gain strength and can notice the difference.  Then you can set new goals.  There are poses I am doing now that I didn’t think were possible for my body to do; one day I decided to try and succeeded!  It was such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and helped my confidence grow.  The worst thing that happens, is you fall out of a pose; then you try again.  I watch others who have succeeded and have something to aspire to as I gain more strength.  Also, the instructors are very supportive-they offer feedback throughout class and are willing to help and assist if you want.
  • At the end of class, time is spent to relax and recover; often, everyone breathes together as a community.  In her closing remarks, the instructor says to leave what happened on the mat.  Throughout class she also says to listen to your body-some days you may be capable of doing more than others, but what is important is you came to class and gave effort.  Everyone worked their hardest and deserves the chance to revel and take in that moment.

As I continue my practice and build strength, I hope to also bring these lessons into other moments of my life.