By Sheila Johnson
Feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic? You should know that you’re not alone. Our nervous systems are all in overdrive as an effect of COVID-19. If you’re also living with chronic illness, this constant stress can also make your symptoms worse.
Brain training with Vital-Side is an effective way to calm your nervous system and take back control. But maintaining a yoga practice in lockdown can also provide relief. Need the motivation to start a home practice? These practical tips can help.
Be Mindful of Everyday Stress
Want to hear something shocking? All stress is not necessarily bad! There are times when stress can motivate you to get things done, like when you need to escape a dangerous situation. But the thing is, constant stress can rewire our brains and bodies to stay in this fight or flight process, which can have consequences for your health and worsen chronic conditions.
This is why maintaining a consistent yoga practice can be so important, particularly for people who are affected by chronic health issues. In fact, trauma experts have recommended yoga to those in recovery for years now to help change their response to everyday stress.
If you find yourself too stressed at home to even practice, your home may very well be the problem. You may need to reduce stress by getting rid of clutter, taking time to clean, and letting in a little fresh air. These changes will do wonders for your emotional well-being and give you the boost you need to maintain your yoga practice.
Make a Morning Practice Happen
Okay, so maybe a cluttered home isn’t the problem. Maybe a cluttered schedule is what’s keeping you from stepping on the mat each day. If this is the case, working a short morning practice into your routine could be a solution, especially since your AM routine is essential for setting a positive and productive tone for the rest of your day.
It can help to have your yoga space all set up before you even get into bed. If possible, try to keep your mat rolled out so that all you have to do is get on it and get moving. Don’t have your own mat yet? You can find one that fits your needs and budget online.
For even more motivation, use your smartphone or tablet to follow along to an online video. Yoga with Adriene is one popular yogi to watch, mainly because her classes are simple and accessible, even for those who may be living with chronic pain and other health concerns.
Use Props to Make Poses Accessible
Another benefit to following along with experienced yoga instructors is that they usually offer tips for using props to modify your practice. If you’ve never used props before, you should definitely give it a try! You can usually find budget-friendly props online to support your at-home practice.
You can also use everyday objects around your home in place of more traditional props. For example, if your practice could benefit from a bolster, you can use a rolled-up towel instead. Need a couple of blocks for down dog? Stack two books to support your pose.
If your chronic condition causes additional pain or discomfort, you can use your props to set up for more restorative poses. This more relaxed form of yoga has been shown to help people maintain a healthy weight, practice more mindfulness, and soothe their central nervous system. All of which can be beneficial for managing chronic disease and chronic pain.
Maintaining a regular practice can help you manage your chronic illness and improve your overall health. Consistency is key, so look for ways to motivate yourself to step onto your mat during the pandemic — whether it’s buying a new mat, reworking your morning routine, or incorporating more restorative poses.
Want more resources like this to help you take back control of your life and change your chronic illness story? Then you should check out Vital-Side’s brain training and wellness offerings.