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