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Why is yoga the best COVID-19 workout?

by Arundhati Baitmangalkar

With this global pandemic, millions are trapped in their houses while others, who would love to be able to shelter at home, work in essential services and must go out on a regular basis. Everywhere you look, it’s easy to see the terrible impact this virus has had. As I write this, it’s been almost a month since my businesses here in Seattle closed. I wonder every day when we’ll be able to open again. I fear it won’t be anytime soon. 

Suddenly, our world has transformed and so many things have been made available online as industries pivot and adapt. Hats off to all the small businesses that are innovating in order to survive. It’s not easy. My heart goes out to those who cannot make this shift—my dentist, hairstylist, and so many others. 

There has never been a better time to get serious about moving our bodies. I know I don’t have to persuade you that exercising is great for you. (It’s even good for those around you!) But I also know that suddenly having SO many options right at your fingertips can get overwhelming. I’m here to help you navigate the noise, so you don’t lose precious time to fancy marketing promoting empty promises. 

While I have respect for many different workouts (I do a few myself!) if you’re busy juggling homeschooling, work, chores, and 25 other things, I believe that YOGA is the best workout for you. 

First, some questions: 

  • Have you been feeling more anxious lately—about your loved ones’ well-being, your finances, your children’s education, or anything else? 
  • Do you feel low or depressed these days? 
  • Have you been looking for ways to stay healthy? 
  • Do you wish life at home was calmer and you had more “me time”? 
  • Are you struggling with uncertainty around when things will go back to normal? 

If you answered, “yes” to any of the questions above, then you—like me and pretty much the rest of the world—are experiencing elevated levels of stress. This has a profound impact on our physical selves as well as our emotional well-being: The body remembers everything, even at the cellular level. No matter how directly or indirectly you’ve been affected by this pandemic, your entire system is coping with more anxiety and stress. 

Yoga has flourished for thousands of years for good reason but at a time like this, it is even more relevant, not just for you, but also for those who are affected by your mood.

Here are five reasons why yoga should be your first choice COVID-19 workout: 

  1. Yoga Regulates Stress and Lowers Anxiety  
  2. Yoga Improves Mood + Removes Brain Fog = Enhances Clarity 
  3. Yoga Is Fun, Dynamic and Life-Changing 
  4. Yoga Works More Than Just Your Muscles 
  5. Anyone Can Do Yoga—No Equipment Necessary 
  6. Yoga Regulates Stress and Lowers Anxiety  
5 reasons why yoga is the best COVID19 workout.

Yoga Regulates Stress and Lowers Anxiety  

Yoga helps manage and regulate stress and anxiety. It offers instant relief but, more importantly, it helps in long-term stress management as well. With consistent yoga practice (anywhere from 2-4 times per week) you’ll move from fight-or-flight mode to calming your nervous system. Activating your parasympathetic nervous system through yoga helps you relax and feel calmer and more in control. Each pose is incomplete without the breath and, by matching breath and movement, you bring yourself fully into the present moment. As a result, you won’t drift to dwelling on troubles. With consistent practice, staying present becomes your natural, default state. 

Yoga Improves Mood + Removes Brain Fog = Enhances Clarity 

There are many things we can do to improve our moods: putting on music, taking a walk, diffusing essential oils, baking, a video call with a friend etc. I bet you have your own list. But there’s one common factor here—can you spot it? These are all external. In asana practice, you breathe, move, stretch, twist, and release every part of your being, removing energy blockages, and releasing stiffness, mental dullness, and lethargy. If, like me, you watched Netflix late into the night, you’ll likely wake up with some brain fog. Yoga works as an excellent tool to enhance focus and clarity of thought. You’ll walk away from each practice feeling better than before. 

Yoga Is Fun, Dynamic and Life-Changing 

If nothing else convinces you, do yoga because it’s fun. Yes, FUN! We can all use a little more fun in our lives, especially now. If you’re wondering how this can be so, the answer is: Find a good yoga teacher. Someone who energizes you. Someone who sees you (virtually, but in real-time) and who can help you grow and feel successful in your practice. Also, return to the same class week after week, so you feel like part of a virtual community sharing a wellness outlook and the same struggles and opportunities. 

Yoga Works More Than Just Your Muscles  

Yoga is much more than just a workout. Yes, it works your full body: It makes you strong and flexible and helps you age gracefully. But the benefits go far deeper. Yoga detoxes your organs, improves circulation, improves respiration, lowers blood pressure, enhances cardiovascular health, boosts immunity, promotes nerve health, prevents injury, increases focus and balance, regulates emotions, supports longevity…I could go on and on. Basically, it’s about a lot more than just looking cute in your yoga pants! 

Anyone Can Do Yoga—No Equipment Necessary  

When I say literally anyone can do it, I mean it! Whether you’re 75-years-old or a teenager, there is a type of yoga out there for you. It may take a little while to find the right fit, but people of any age, any gender, and any body type can do yoga. It may look a little different from what’s sold on social media as “yoga” but remember there’s a good amount of misrepresentation out there. The upside is that you don’t need anything to get started. A yoga mat would be great, but even if you don’t have one, there are plenty of makeshift props. It’s zero fuss. You just need to show up! 

I hope these reasons are compelling enough to get you to stop hopping from one workout to the next, trying to find the one that does it all. I’d love to hear from you: What’s your favorite workout or favorite yoga style? Why? Stop by Facebook or Instagram for daily doses of inspiration! 

P.S. If you’re ready to start your yoga journey, join me from anywhere in the world for Livestream yoga classes

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