With everything happening around and inside us these days I thought a lot about ways to really support each other. While I did understand fairly quickly that there would surely exist a before and after in all of this and our dreams will likely adapt, I also very much wish to still find some dear activities, shops and persons in that after, whenever it may come.
I am thus starting a small project here, under the title Unlocking the lockdown. This is not yet another how to live the pandemic right type of content 🙂 It is meant to present some interesting and, hopefully, relatable people. Or small businesses. Or small shops.
My hope is not to suffocate your feed, mind and soul with yet another guide or lesson, but to learn together and to invite you to notice the stories that surround us. I know there is so much content online now, Instagram is almost burning with live sessions, but there is still a lot to talk about. This is an opportunity to turn a bit to the outside, virtually, of course, because we are so centered on our own persons right now, understandably.
I strongly feel that in the midst of this undeniable crisis we simply must find some empathy and reach out to each other. Help if we can and when it is possible. Pay it forward. And be inspired. So, for part 1 of this series, I am writing about Paula, her life-changing project of Baila Yoga and her way of navigating the sea of uncertainty.
I met Paula not very long ago, when I started the year with a yoga challenge (which I was sure I would never finish, but this is a story for another time 🙂 ). I can truly say that her classes changed me, not only physically, but, most importantly, mentally. With each tear (on my cheeks, not muscular, those did not help 😀 ) and laugh and pain I let a part of my deep sadness go away. This is not something that comes easy for me, hence it must be that her classes have a touch of magic and generally an awesome vibe.
Paula comes from Argentina (yes, she knows we all love her accent! 🙂 ), and believes that movement is freedom. She is a bundle of both energy and peace, knows a lot about our bodies and our posture and it seems to me that her patience is as close as it comes to infinite – she explained the downward facing dog technical specifications for about a million times, never without a smile on her face.
Considering all that, I was very curious about her routine and thoughts. I was wondering if she could still maintain her inner peace throughout this storm and I asked the questions and got the answers:
What does she miss from her “before” life: Hugs, kisses, human touch, friends, smiles. She also misses her students, the beach and the nature. She misses being free. Although she used to like staying at home, she never thought she would miss the freedom of knowing that she could come and go whenever she wanted to.
She experienced something strange, being now the first time she started missing things that she left back one year ago when she changed countries. She, of course, used to miss her family and her friends but now she truly misses her pencils and watercolors, her sewing machine, her books, her tools for leather design and even cooking utensils.
What changed for and within her now: She, like many of us, sees now what is actually important and is thankful for that. She thinks that she is now exactly where and with whom she has to. She treasures every single day and its small moments: the sunrise, her small garden, her dog and her partner.
She is now becoming more accountable regarding her time and the imaginary “not enough time”.
How can yoga help us now: Exactly how I thought she would answer, she stayed away from theory and told me how it works for her. 🙂 Yoga keeps her present in the moment, releases the tension in her muscles and mind and connects her soul with her body. It sets her free from overthinking and the overflow of emotions and, above all, “forces” her to breathe. And in breathing there is life itself, right?
She listens to music every single day, especially upbeat tones, which can push her to dance a little, jump around and even sing, in the search for a wide smile. She tries to run away from melancholic tracks and the memories, because her own emotional roller coaster is powerful enough already.
How will everything change? Her opinion is that is will be difficult to be close again, to touch each other, to get back to a yoga studio or a gym. But this, like everything, will be temporary, because we humans are social creatures and we need someone to take care of us and guide us (I agree!). Online yoga and sports activities are on a roll now, but she thinks that on the long run this will be complementary to the “live” versions, like before.
On advice she would give herself 1 year ago, it was a tricky question, because exactly one year ago she was leaving Argentina for a new life here in Spain, stepping away from her roots to reinvent herself here. Without thinking too much about it, her first impulse would be to say “Don’t take that plane!”, but that is not her true feeling. She would say: 1. Go and surrender to the change because this is meant to teach you something. 2. Nothing will be like one expects, step away from the idea of controlling everything and flow with the present and 3. It is all fine.
In the end, she would not change anything in this journey, although other ideas like “start that youtube channel” or “take care of your savings” would not have been that bad, truth be told 🙂
What is Baila Yoga for her: something that makes her whole now. She has been practicing yoga for many years and she was always feeling that she could not let go completely in her practice. She was feeling a lot of energy inside, but she was unable to let it all out. By dancing, she found a way to do that. The music helps her connect with her internal rhythm. Surrendering to dancing and then to the calmness of yoga are magical. The smile at the end of each class is unique. (I agree!)
She fights the anxiety by breathing, which is a powerful tool, in her opinion. When she feels invaded by uncomfortable emotions she does not fight them but takes her time and breathes. This helps her to navigate the waves of emotions. Crying also helps. She firmly believes there is nothing wrong with feeling.
She mentioned that all the yoga postures maintained for an adequate period and accompanied by breathing are meant to free us from our control and let your muscle stretch little by little. She says that when our body becomes more flexible it opens the way to a flexible mind. This is part of why yoga became so useful for so many people now.
She suggests postures for opening the chest and the heart, which allow us to feel, identify and let go, for instance Anahatasana:
Her guide word for now is Trust. Trust that everything will be fine.
I think that everything Paula shared is very relatable, especially for those of us away from home-home. Taking her classes on Zoom or Instagram now instantly transports me to those days of really clumsy downward face dog postures and this clears my mind quite a bit.
If you want to be part of this magic, you could attend one of her classes – every Tuesday at 18.30 Spain time on Zoom and many others which she can tell you about if you contact her (So please do): Facebook, Instagram or her website.
Yoga knows no language, so don’t worry about that.
Remember, this is a time to support each other. Yoga teachers might seem always serene, but they still have bills to pay, personal issues and problems and need us as much as we need them. So, taking a class, talking about their work, even an Instagram like helps them tremendously. Please take that step. Let’s make Namaste our goal 🙂
And remember to breathe!
Feaured photo: Canva.
Other photos: Unsplash
P.s. Just to clarify, unlocking the lockdown is not in any way a suggestion for you to not respect the real lockdown. By all means, please do!