Covid Perspectives: Recovering from Covid with Yoga
In our Covid Perspectives series, people share experiences and thoughts in their own words. These are the opinions of the individuals themselves, not of Covid Aid. By sharing these, we aim to reflect the need for visibility and to raise the voices of the millions around the UK who continue to be severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Emma would like to share her story of recovery from sensory loss due to Covid, in the hope that it might help others. With her permission, we are republishing it here.
My Friendly Companion
Yoga has been a friend to me for over 25 years. As for many people, it calms my mind, eases my body and makes me a better person. A decade ago I trained as a yoga teacher - for my own development but also to pass on some of my learning and love of it to other people. After a few years of teaching classes, I couldn't continue to pursue a career in it (as it was too hard to make a living from) so I made the decision to revert to my own practice and not use it as an income stream. Armed with my knowledge and experience of yoga was of huge benefit when I needed it most - when Covid hit me.
I was left so depleted - mentally and physically – after Covid that I struggled with finding something physical to help build strength back up. I'd lost my way with my yoga practice due to the pandemic ending the regular class I went to. And, like so many people, I was depressed. It's the stuff that's good for us that falls by the wayside when we're depressed.
Fatigued, feeling low, and confused by my sensory loss, I couldn't think clearly or make decisions. My younger sister had discovered yoga online – short, accessible YouTube videos with a woman in Texas. I was sceptical at first but she gently nagged me until I got 'back on my mat'. This is when my history with yoga really helped. I knew it always makes me feel better.
One cold, winter evening, I got myself set up at home, subscribed (for free!) to Yoga with Adriene and gave her a go. It was a joy and continues to be.
A New Friend
Finding her felt like a life-changing and life-affirming experience. Her gentle, funny, positive manner. An absence of showing off and her genuine warmth and gratitude all rubbed off on me and I continue to practise with her most mornings and sometimes in the evening too. There are hundreds of videos to choose from 5-minute meditations, 20-minute uplifting boosts, hour-long restorative or balancing classes - all leave you feeling more positive, stronger and part of something bigger. A worldwide community of positive action. During and post-pandemic that has got to be a good thing.
You can find her classes here: https://yogawithadriene.com/ and https://www.youtube.com/yogawithadriene
Give It A Go
It's easy to be evangelical about yoga which I avoid. If you push something on people they will inevitably back off. But it is certainly a huge addition to my life. And having access to a friendly face on YouTube who can lead you through whatever you need, whatever your energy level on that particular day is invaluable.
I encourage anybody to check her out if yoga has ever crossed your mind, you're a lapsed yogi or you just feel like you need a mental and physical boost. Even just the simple act of breathing deeply for 10 – 15 minutes can be enough to make a difference in how we feel. See if you can find a restorative class near where you live. I benefited from 8 weekly classes with a lovely woman near home which involved us spending 1.5 hours on the ground with blankets and soft props to make us comfortable, gently moving from one pose to another to open up the body and ease the mind. Bliss!
Any gentle exercise can be enormous help after Covid. It helps us feel more "normal" and take control of our own recovery. Go easy and be kind to yourself.
Being able to write about my experiences with Covid Aid is therapeutic and being part of their community has made me feel more positive and supported. I hope sharing my story and recovery tips can help some of you out there going through similar experiences.
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