Spent too many hours hunched over your computer during Covid-19? Back seizing up from being stuck to your seat without a break? Stressed by children and toys underfoot and your partner’s booming Zoom meetings? Head pounding from worry and interrupted sleep?
First thing to note: You’re not alone. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and resulting global health emergency has had an impact on the mental health of millions of people, elevating levels of anxiety, fear, isolation, uncertainty, and emotional distress.
Secondly: Online restorative yoga might help.
Back in early September, I was struggling with Covid-related emotional fatigue and work-induced body aches when I clicked on the Zoom link. Happily, I haven’t looked back.
It helped enormously that I hooked up with a very skilled teacher whose instructions were both soothing and clear. I’ve also previously done a lot of “live” yoga classes, so I have some sense of what props to put where!
This week we did a lot of backbends using blocks, bolsters, blankets and chairs. My favourite pose was supported shoulder stand (Salamba Sarvangasana in Sanskrit) with my neck and shoulders supported on the ground, hips resting on the seat of the chair and legs in the air.
Many of this week’s poses were aimed at opening the chest and allowing space for the lungs to expand more completely. Last week’s class focused on leg stretches and forward bends like Paschimottanasana, a powerful seated asana, that is said to improve digestion, soothe headaches and anxiety, and reduce fatigue.
A typical restorative yoga sequence involves prop-supported poses that allow you to wind down and rest. It’s about slowing down your nervous system and also holding poses for longer so your muscles and mind have time to relax.
When I did my first restorative Zoom class, I was desperate – and it worked a miracle on my aches and fraught mood. Several weeks on, I feel much more centred and able to bask in how different poses support my wellbeing.
To find a class Google “online restorative yoga” or email Katharina Kaluza email@example.com whose classes have helped many sore and bewildered Sydneysiders find their way.
If you are struggling with your mental health call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat online at www.lifeline.org.au