Retreat to Spirit: Navigating Through a Pandemic
Throughout this pandemic, it seems as though we are taking two steps forward and four steps back! With the new variant Omicron looming, there may be genuine concerns and fear about it. How are you dealing with the upheaval and your emotions - are you experiencing anxiety, fear, or loneliness?
What we know for certain is that it is okay to feel these emotions - these times are not “normal,” and so we should allow ourselves to lean into these feelings fully and completely, with love and compassion. Are you being gentle and compassionate with yourself as a form of self-care? Have you been compassionate, loving, and understanding towards others? Often, when we are so concerned with what others are doing or not doing, we create in ourselves an environment of worry, sadness, fear, and judgment.
As yoga teachers and wellness practitioners, we strive to promote balance and homeostasis so that our nervous systems and spirits can be at ease. The only way this can be done is to focus on our self-care first and then work on community care. This pandemic shines a light on the selfishness of others - these times are not just about us but must start with us and our contemplative practices. So, how are YOU practicing self-care and community care?
In the Yoga Sutras, there are the eight limbs. The first is yamas, or five restraints, created to decrease suffering. The first of these is Ahimsa or non-violence. This can show up in social justice work, civil rights, or how we treat animals. Masking and vaccines are also forms of Ahimsa. “This is the path through this pandemic getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and sharing vaccines globally. This is Ahimsa - Love in action.” Jivana Heyman, founder of Accessible Yoga.
Using collective care as a mechanism to deal with the pandemic - to go through instead of attempting to go around - is the only way to the other side of it. The pandemic has reminded us to check up on our neighbors, be more considerate of others, and live life with more compassion.
A Few Tips to Help You:
• Resist the urge to binge on the news media. “If it bleeds, it leads” has been the mantra of MSM for years now, and it has only become worse. By reading your news, restrict your “need to know” or FOMO (fear of missing out).
• Boost your immunity. Herbs like elderberry, ginger, and sea moss have immune-promoting properties to help you get through the winter and the pandemic. Also, decrease your worry by releasing judgment of others and focusing on being your best self!
• Practice compassion and care for others. While we can practice concern and care for others, be mindful of leaning into judgment - discernment is acceptable and expected as it relates to safety and responsibility - but notice if fear shows up: compassion cannot hold the same space.
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Who are we?
We are two African American women with a deep passion for assisting in the paradigm shift that is taking place on our beloved mother earth. Spiritual evolution is rapidly awakening humankind, and the necessary tools, education, and compassionate spaces for growth are not always accessible or offered. As internationally recognized leaders in the field of service and yoga with over 30 years of combined experience, we invite you to explore contemplative practices with us to enhance your livelihood to include more joy, peace, and happiness.
Pamela Stokes Eggleston Amina Naru