Meditation and the Coronavirus

Battling feelings of cabin fever, stress, and fear? Two DC-area yoga instructors have a few ideas that could help.

1. Breathe
“Breath is a powerful tool that can help you feel stable when everything around you feels shaky,” says Alix Montes, co-creator of DC’s Vibras + Vinyasa. “If you start to get fidgety or anxious, close your eyes and take a few deep inhales and exhales. Breathe into the count of 4, 3, 2, 1; hold it at the top for the same four-count, and then release it to the same count. You’ll notice an immediate change in how you feel.”

2. Try a visual meditation
“Meditate on feeling safe: I am safe,” says Terrey Lebowitz, a Falls Church-based yoga instructor. “Meditate on places and people who help you feel safe. Meditation is about clearing your thoughts and objectively letting them arise and then letting them go. So imagine you’re doing that at the beach or at a mountain top or wherever you love to be surrounded by people you love. The key is to feel safe.”

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3. Express gratitude
“In times like this, a grounding practice is to recognize all that you have to be grateful for,” Montes says. “For no reason this morning, as I was setting up my space, I started reciting the things I’m grateful for. I have a full-time job that allows me to work remotely and collect income. I have my own living space that is suited for my needs, etc.”

4. Establish a mantra. Repeat it every day.
“My favorite mantra is: I am light. I am love,” Lebowitz says.

5. Embrace natural light
“If you have windows or can find a space with windows, embrace the natural light,” Montes says. “It makes a difference if you can’t find ways to go outside for a walk or find a private space outside.”

6. Move
“This doesn’t need to be anything intense,” Montes says. “A few simple yoga poses like mountain pose to a forward fold can calm you down and get your blood moving at the same time. Go for a walk. If you’re nervous, take a walk up and down the steps.”

7. Be kind to yourself and others
“One thing is for certain: Kindness matters more than ever,” Lebowitz says. “People show their most vulnerable sides in a crisis. So knowing that may help people extend extra kindness to strangers, friends, and neighbors.”