On 23rd March 2023, LBC News announced that it was Three Years’ since the First Official UK Lockdown happened in 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. I am sure you ALL remember it as well as I do! On Friday 17 March 2020 I had filmed some short pro-videos with a Videographer for my latest venture – a ‘YouTube’ channel @yogaros. After equipment advice, I ordered a tripod, iphone holder, Rode Microphone and pro-studio light.
Fate would mean these items would then be used on the Monday. With No knowledge of and No prior experience of hosting video-conferences or online team meetings, I dived straight into YogaRos Online, and hosted Walthamstow’s Monday Night Yoga on Zoom. For two weeks, keen helpful regulars ‘road-tested’ the new system. Technical glitches occurred: Poor sound, No connectivity, No audio, No video. I formed a WhatsApp group to create support during these initial weeks and due to being swamped with zoom questions. My Purpose as ‘YogaRos’ was to maintain some kind of normality with a deep desire to continue to provide Healthy Movement, Breathing practices and Relaxation to ALL YogaRos community during a National crisis.
Lockdown Days, turned into Weeks, then Months of New living, New Restrictions, New Rules. Daily Government Updates contained the miserable mantra “Hands, Face, Space”. Conversations were Covid-dominated. To me, Two Clear Sides of debate occurred = Those FOR and Those AGAINST Government Policy. Perhaps we all became more informed about epidemiology when talks of a Vaccine emerged. Meanwhile I was facing increasing clients’ despair, some were out of work, one became a delivery driver for Amazon (yet was a professional violinist) Some fell into despairing low states due to isolation or too much -at-home-work-from-home-and-home-schooling kids. Depression and Anxiety became widespread among all age groups and demographics. News became grim and grimmer.
“A study published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that mental health worsened by 8.1% on average in April 2020, the first month of the national lockdown. A University of Glasgow study, published in October 2020, found that there had been an increase in levels of anxiety and suicidal thoughts during the same period.Concerns were also raised about the impact on people aged over 70. A telephone survey, published in the journal Age and Ageing, found this group was particularly vulnerable to social isolation during the lockdown” https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/lockdown-1-0-and-the-pandemic-one-year-on-what-do-we-know-about-the-impacts/
YET in our classes, Positivity and Hope radiated. I remember one session themed around “Yoga for Strength and Determination” and many commented on the effectiveness of this practice. To me, Daily Healthy Movement, Breathing and Mindfulness was making a Real Difference. WE MUST BOOST OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM!! I declared, and this is Science-evidenced regards the positive effects of Exercise & Yoga on mind and body states. After Zoom classes, time for sharing views enabled me to plan with you in mind. I arranged Social Coffee Mornings plus a few Charity Online Events for MIND and Cancer MacMillan. YOU were all SO generous. You supported each other and made an effort to show up consistently and you Still Do! Special events included a ‘Mobilise Your Body Six-Week-Course’ online and a Saturday Shoulder-themed Workshop. Zoom recordings were uploaded to my YouTube Channel (and despite somewhat poor quality many are still freely available).
Here are just a few Lockdown testimonials – your enthusiam really did keep me going:
Rhonda 21/7/20 - “I like the classes you do on Zoom because they are clear and varied. You give good instructions. Your training and experience of Yoga, Pilates and Somatics equip you for a thoughtful body approach, and makes the class feel you are exercising for a purpose.”
Dawn 2/8/20 - “The pilates has been and will continue to be a good source of feeling I'm doing some good for my body and mind. You are always positive and smiling and this does rub off on me. The name mentions that you give to us all really helps make me feel part of a group despite being alone in my lounge with the dog. I sometimes think you are there with me when you point out something I may be doing slightly wrong when I actually AM!! 😆 It's been quite spooky! I know you don’t want any ‘ego boost’ but it has been a mad world out there with quite unbelievable situations arising as a result and your zoom sessions have made such a difference to me.“
Clare 19/11/20 “Dear Ros, We plan to go out for the day on Saturday so it looks like I won’t make yoga. I know you say we yogis have kept you going - well you really have kept us going. I loved the evening session and slept so well last night! I’m sure the op will go well and - what’s a month these days?! I’ll get on that you tube channel and look forward to seeing you on zoom or otherwise soon.”
‘Going with the Flow’ became a reality. YogaRos' class schedule changed frequently to accommodate demand and to meet the needs of one-to-one clients. We all became even keener Walkers. Daily outdoors Exercise enabled us to reconnect to Nature, be mindful and enjoy our Senses to the fullest. People gathered for picnics and fun team sports. In 2021 and After Three National Lockdowns (the third being January to March 2021) lives began to return to a new normal. David Lloyd Chigwell reopened with outdoors yoga, a few weeks under a Marquee, then a return to studios. “By March 2022, most of the coronavirus restrictions in the UK had been lifted, making it a good reference period for looking at new normal behaviours.” Office for National Statistics.
Late Summer 2021, I could resume at the Limes Centre with reduced class numbers; remember those green circles for the 2m Social Distancing Rules. I invested in an online booking system BookWhen and spent the next year marketing to encourage a return to In-Person Group Class. It felt like serious hard work but my motivation was always about Your Health and Wellbeing. Online classes continued but gradually attendance reduced as people began to return to workplace, leisure centres and gyms.
So . . . What of the Post-Covid-Period. In early 2022, like many of you, I myself experienced anxiety feelings. Partly related to The Menopause and to what I consider to be a combination of overwhelming thinking, a mix of past doubts and future worries. I had not really ‘processed’ the lockdowns, I’d been so busy teaching. Many of you also suffered losses and serious ill-health. A few had symptoms of ‘Long-Covid’. Science proves that regular exercise is of prime importance to Living Life to the Full and Yoga & Pilates provides safe effective mindful movement and healing for mind-body and Self. To heal myself, I returned to grounded poses and restorative practices. Yoga’s Breathing techniques helped too - as conscious breathing slows down the release of the stress hormone cortisol and smooth even rhythms calm the nervous system that controls the body's involuntary functions to lower blood pressure. Relaxation in Savasana, promotes healing, as the Rest & Digest state allows you to slow down, send blood flow to internal organs and reduce your heart rate. You can learn how to ‘De-Stress’.
I’m delighted to know that you find that YogaRos classes continue to support your overall wellbeing. It’s fabulous to see you virtually even though some of you have moved out of the area. Your presence at regular weekly Limes Centre Classes enable me to offer Two Yoga & Two Pilates Sessions Per Week. I want to thank all regulars and all new beginners.
My mission in 2023 is to continue to deliver quality effective Yoga, Pilates & Somatic sessions, all Designed with You in Mind, and to support your health via regular free Mini-Practices on my YouTube Channel YogaRos. Subscribe now to receive regular new uploads. Here is a link to a 6min Arm Toning practice to give you an idea of what’s to come - https://youtu.be/_YimQRw3Jaw
3 Delicious Practices to Explore.
There’s no getting away from it. We are STILL in lockdown in the UK. We’ve had months of living differently, staying indoors, social distancing, washing hands, taking Essential Journeys only. Almost a year of this Pandemic - and likely many more months of accepting the changes to both work and home life. This Winter Season has felt a little challenging at times. The dark shorter days contribute to a sense of hibernation - but we may now also look forwards to Spring with a lighter heart.
The impact of coronavirus, has for some, been devastating. For others, it’s been less negative because you’ve had time to reflect and re-evaluate your lifestyle; you may have found more meaningful connections to your spouse, children and/or best friends or even rekindled relationships and formed some new ones. You are even practising MORE OFTEN through my Zoom Daily Classes! The internet has provided opportunities to reach out and not be governed by geographical borders. I've enjoyed sharing with international yoga professionals and teachers in Facebook Groups, Forums and online trainings.
So while I write, my intention is not to ignore the suffering (because Life itself is a series of ups and downs) but simply to remind you of the benefits of attending to your own INTERNAL landscape while appreciating the external circumstances within which you find yourself. Every BODY IS different and You Are Unique. Your present situation AND your past merge together as you meet yourSELF on the mat.
So how do you find equanimity in your day to day life? Can YOU change or improve your Mood and Mindset? There’s no need to create an Inner fake news narrative or escape to a fantasy world. Yoga is about The Route to The Self and for that journey to take place, Practice is KEY.
Begin here and now with Presence and Mindfulness. Cultivate Self-Awareness.
1. BODY SCAN. Standing Sitting or Lying down. Connect to your body. What do you notice? Feel and sense yourself here. Take a few moments to arrive. Scan from your feet up. Any parts feeling tense? Any discomfort? Breathe in and out with focus and feel your legs, knees, hips, pelvis. How does it feel to sit ; stand ; or lay down today. And your back - What do you observe in your back today and are you able to sense your natural spinal curves. How are your shoulderblades? Are you aware of movement in your torso as you breathe? The Imbalances and Misalignments that occur in most of us are more noticeable when you pay attention to your body. Improving your ability to feel, sense and relate to your breath cycles from the inside-out is the benefit of the body scan. As you settle your body, your breathing begins to find an even rhythm, your mind becomes even too. Allow 10 to 15minutes here.
2. BREATH AND MOTION IN MOVING MARJARIASANA = CAT-COW POSE
Classically in AllFours (but can be enjoyed in a seated position) rest weight evenly through well-aligned arms with elbow-pits facing in toward each other, lightly engage your centre and stack knees below hips. Be Aware of Stability and Steadiness in your Neutral Spine. As you begin to Breathe IN, send energy forwards from the heart-centre allowing your tailbone to tilt upwards towards the sky and feel your belly expand towards the earth. (Cow Tilt) and with a soft gaze to nosetip perhaps involve also the extension of your neck, opening your throat area. PAUSE, then feel the Breathe OUT guide you to Round inwards to the Navel Centre, scooping your abdominals, tucking tailbone, as chin nods to chest and you feel the flexing of your Upper Back and Elongation in your Lumbar. (Cat Tilt). EXPLORE whether or not your Pelvis or Head is leading the undulations. Begin to imagine and sense a seamless energy flowing through you and a wavelike motion throughout. Let the repeated breath-body-flow help you find freedom in your spine, shoulders and hips and observe a shift in energy from sluggish to spacious in a matter of minutes. REST in Child’s pose. Or Sit in stillness to acknowledge the effects.
3. WALKING MEDITATION (per Jon Kabat-Zinn's guidance) “Sometimes its virtually impossible to stay seated and mindful with levels of agitation or pain or anger but you can walk with it and in Walking Meditation you attend to the walking itself.”
Centre yourself in this present moment and appreciate your surroundings. In a Walking Meditation, you are not really walking to get any place or Do A Chore – Inviter YOU to BE fully engaged With This very Step or This Single Breath Cycle or This feeling of whole body movement.How are you walking today? Can you walk alongside your mood? How do your Feet Meet the Earth? You can focus on your footfall as a whole, or isolated parts of the motion such as lifting and placing of the feet. Are you feeling graceful? Dignified? Is your body tense and how about your shoulders and arms? Do you tend to walk very Fast? What happens if you slow down a little? Maybe Amble or Stroll? Try not to be concerned with the time, rather than with the connection of yourself to your walking. This could even be a 10minute mindfulness walk around your garden. Remember to keep good posture while encouraging an awareness of walking with breathing and please Do NOT look down at your feet –eyes gaze softly to the horizon - enjoy the view!
With the reality of this global pandemic invading almost every part of our lives daily and with so many of us remaining indoors, we have had to cast aside our normal routines and find different ways of living. And even though lockdown begins to ease we may experience some underlying worries, concerns and fears. We still don’t really know how long this will go on and we wake up every day to the unknown.
During this time of uncertainty it’s so important to continue to find time for healthy enjoyable movement as you take proper care of your own health and well-being. I am delighted that so many of you are connecting to me and the online community and Making Your HOME your Personal Practice Place.
Yoga especially gives us powerful tools for managing everyday anxieties, a time to truly connect to Body, Mind, Mood and Emotions. If you are a little more anxious than usual you are not alone. A lack of control over your environment is unsettling and confusing. But you can control how you engage with this temporary new reality.
You can dwell on ifs, should and maybes and get into a real head-spin with the news . . .
OR choose Positive Personal Practice.
With regular home practice you CAN shift from uneasy to stable and from high stress to rest and digest states. In fact this is the perfect time to develop a long-term Home Practice.
Please find your Free Guided Audio Breath Practice here and settle down to your mat for the de-stressing effects of yoga conscious belly breathing.
Because you too, can find COMFORT, CONNECTION AND COMMUNITY ALL IN YOUR OWN HOME
During this Extraordinary time I wanted to update you on the current ways that I can Help you FeelGood and support your Wellbeing while at HOME during Covid19. I want to keep you Focused, Fit and Motivated.
On my almost 15y teaching journey I have been so blessed to share movement knowledge with such truly wonderful people and You are a Very Important Member of this Community. I know your body. I know what you have learned & you have inspired ME. I know your current situation and those Big Life Moments. Despite being stuck indoors, it's my desire to continue to Nurture your Practice and Care About YOU and your WELLBEING. By embracing all that Yoga offers, you can learn to regulate the emotional waves and there are glimpses of mindful calm quietude among the uncertainty. The Pilates Method has such effective muscle toning exercises & Somatic Movement teaches you how to pause, slowdown, deeply listen inwards and Let Go.
SO please download the Free ZOOM APP and please join me Mondays to Thursdays with Daily LIVE sessions of up to 45mins in duration. I miss you IN Person, but in the absence of that I am so delighted to be able to connect with you in the virtual world of online teaching.
The Nation has received an almighty Shock to Its System. Despite us having prior knowledge of CoronaVirus from China, perhaps we all did not quite imagine how it would FEEL to live day to day with such drastic changes to our lifestyles... many are self-isolating, others in confinement. Some of you are Home Schooling your children. Pubs Restaurants and Bars Closed. Leisure Centres too. We may have deep concerns over the Economic Impacts which we fear will be wide and far-reaching.
For these reasons, STRESS LEVELS MAY BE ON THE RISE. So please Give Yourself some quality TIME for Kindness, Self-Care and Compassion. In just 15minutes Feel A deep sense of Relief. Either enjoy my PDF here for Constructive Rest Pose and/or download my FREE GUIDED YOGA NIDRA AUDIO.
My work as YogaRos was affected as far back as Friday 14th March when the Lloyd Park Nursery Centre in Walthamstow informed me of the closure of Evening Sessions due to the Virus. Weekly Monday Evenings Yoga (running for 10years+) would be cancelled for an indefinite period. With speedy Videography Advice & SetUp from Ray at SimplyCreate and urgent equipment delivery, I was able to LIVE Stream my first ONLINE TEST Class to the Gorgeous E17ers. By Wednesday 16th March the Limes Centre closed and then David Lloyd Chigwell. I was officially Out of Work...
Today, Tuesday 31st March and after Internet Issues, Technical Hitches plus a necessary Move into my Living Room, YOGAROS ONLINE LIVE CLASSES are up and running with reliable connectivity. Feedback has been truly heartwarming and inspirational (see some commments below). Your Support (and patience) has been Outstanding.
So, come and join my remarkable community of likeminded individuals, keeping fit and well, during the Covid19 outbreak. BOOK YOUR ONLINE CLASS HERE
So doing online classes has been really fantastic. I've found it very tough recently and your class yesterday about 'determination' was very helpful. Today I have a renewed sense of purpose and am trying to remain optimistic. Catherine
I’m actually extremely grateful to you for doing these daily Pilates Classes . I’ve been promising myself for years to do classes more regularly than once a week so you have answered my prayers. Izzy.
Just to say thanks for the class last night, I really enjoyed it - It’s so good to do the yoga but also to stay in touch with you and feel some connection and positivity in these terrible times! Gemma
Do you have a shifty shoulder?
A horrible hip?
A niggling knee issue?
Is your Back Bothering you Again?
...and are your joints jerky and juddery?
Feel like you're living in a Tight Body Bundle that is in deep need of Unravelling?
Or are you Soaking up Stress with Aching Anxiety levels.
Then I can help YOU learn how to feel better in body-mind-breath.
Through a moment of mindful sitting at the close of a recent yoga class, breathing with focused awareness on inner quietude, I had a fresh realisation.
It was this – I realised that I have been "Living in the Here and Now" for a very long time.
As a teen, with summer holidays approaching, after my 'O'Levels, my Dad was offered a job in Scotland, and so at 16yrs, our move from Kent, required me to become a student at the Aberdeen College of Commerce.
I had no choice, but to get on with my new environment, meet new friends and immerse myself in studying until I found a social life!
So, I guess you already know that I care about YOU - your health - your wellbeing - your development on the mat and the stories behind your practice.
This is, for me, the heartfelt aspect of my teaching.
It's an honour for me, to know WHY you keep returning to my classes.
To know WHAT really benefits you personally.
To CONNECT my deep passion and love for yoga, pilates and movement, to yourSelf through sharing as much knowledge and experience I have to date, and continuing to do so.
It's why my logo has a tiny little green heart inside the 'Ros' to represent my love of this profession, my emotional heart-centre and the importance of Anahata, the energetic heart chakra.
Listen to your Body.
You will hear that in class, over and over said by me, and all of your tutors.
But how can we listen to our bodies, if we are finding it hard to listen to our inner voice, our gut instinct, our pain signals and even our friends and families?
Sometimes I truly regret What I've said, How I've said it, and even When I've said it.
This is often a post-class mindset. 'Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda' SO, the reason behind writing this blog is I have Time to THINK before I SPEAK.
I know I'm opinionated.
Passionate about things I really love (health innovations, pain research, current affairs) yet equally fired up about any number of 'Dislikes', I really do wear my heart on my sleeve.