Love And Compassion: Yoga Beyond COVID-19

Tina Turner’s We Don’t Need Another Hero was written in 1985 – almost four decades ago – and it could very well be the most appropriate song for our post-pandemic yoga playlists. In it, she sang, “Love and compassion, their day is coming.” As more COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and we relax from the constriction of living in forms of survival mode for more than a year, let’s ask ourselves how our yoga practice can help us celebrate love and compassion today?

It’s been a long season of life during a global pandemic, and it feels like the tides are starting to turn. Things are opening up and there is a new rush of energy ready to be released. It’s like we’ve been in a really long reclined hero/fixed firm pose and are now letting the synovial fluid rush back through our knees and flush our joints clean. We’re optimistic and it’s exciting to dwell in this space, but those sensations can also feel really big in contrast to where we’ve been for the past year. So we breathe.

As fulfilling as it is to see each other’s unmasked smiles, we also have a choice of to what extent we want to exercise our newfound freedom. When we’re in class, we actively exercise compassion for our bodies when we decide how deeply we want to go into a pose or whether we want to take the flow. Similarly, as more opportunities arise in our newly opened world, we have to mindfully respond to the options we’re being presented with. From “vax-cations” to more relaxed dining experiences at our favorite local restaurants, practicing yoga provides us an invaluable sense of grounding and centering. We know what feels right and we will act with integrity and honesty as we venture out in the world and reconnect with others.

Yoga is all about unity. It also acknowledges the periods of rest that we need to recover from more vigorous activity. There is no question that COVID-19 and 2020 brought us a lot of stress collectively and also individually. We had to put up unnatural-feeling boundaries and learned how to not get too close to others. However, through those challenging conditions, yoga was there for us. We practiced virtually through live streams and masked in class with socially distanced mats. We came together – as safely as possible – to grieve and heal and feel better. As much as we were traumatized by the “new normal,” we adjusted because we are resilient. Our yoga community continued to support us and show us how to adapt even when we individually may have questioned where this journey and these circumstances were going to take us.

As we venture out now, we take with us a newfound respect for rest and renewal. Self-care became necessary in ways that it always was but was never fully appreciated until the pandemic. Now, as survivors of a global health crisis and yogis, we are uniquely equipped with the tools of love and compassion to be beacons of light and healing for ourselves, our families, and our community. Our doors are open, the fresh air is flowing in, and we are so grateful for this breath we collectively take in. Join us as we pause and exhale the biggest sigh of relief in gratitude for the freedom and new energy we feel today.