It’s safe to say 2020 brought to many, extreme difficulties. As we enter 2021, it can be argued that there has never been more time to focus on one’s self.
It’s safe to say 2020 brought to many, extreme difficulties. Personal and work-related problems, coupled with stay-at-home rules and regulations, meant that our mental and physical health took a knock. Increased awareness about these important issues fostered an amplified support network, where exercise and conversation highlighted the importance of speaking up and staying fit. As we enter 2021, it can be argued that there has never been more time to focus on one’s self.
For me, I had no New Year’s Resolutions, just a few personal goals – one of which was to begin practicing Yoga, to really understand the benefits of a calm mind and balanced body. I strongly desired to enter this year practicing a new hobby, which I know may benefit me in the long term. Learning to control my racing mind in this tumultuous time may sound like a very difficult prospect, however, taking a small section out of my day to focus on myself, has been extremely beneficial.
Due to the increased focus on both mental and physical wellbeing, Yoga has quickly become one of the most followed wellness and health trends. The multiple benefits which are regularly advertised seem to bring positivity, to those who practice regularly. Increased flexibility, enhanced core strength and improved energy levels are all notions which will enable us to live a positive and proactive life. With over 100 different types of yoga to help with a range of issues, including stress, posture, meditation and breathing, there really is something for everyone. Social Media was the best place for me to start; The platform has an abundance of yoga fanatics, who post classes and exercises to encourage all their followers, to follow simple and effective workouts.
I always liked the sound of practicing Yoga, but it has only been this year that I have really found the time to stick to a plan of regular sessions. I have never been an anxious or stressed person; however, I am a natural worrier. During my Final Year, the juggling act that all University students endure, became slightly overwhelming. Completing deadlines, remaining social with friends and also trying to find graduate employment, became a very difficult process. Any student would acknowledge that feeling slight lost when completing University, is perfectly normal. However, when coupled with the fact that I was about to graduate during a global pandemic, face increased levels of unemployment and my graduation ended up being cancelled, I started to worry about my future prospects. To combat these issues, I started to look online for stress-relieving Yoga classes. I quickly found Steffy White on Instagram and was directed to her YouTube channel, where there are a number of free classes available. I loved her infectious energy and positivity, and this really helped in those last few months of University. Steffy’s brand has grown and she now has a beautiful website, where you can choose to purchase a number of “Bundles.” This allows access to multiple classes ranging from reasonably priced plans, hosted a couple of times a week, to more long -term “Bundles,” which involve up to four different practices and multiple classes. This highlights there really is something for everyone and although all classes may take place across an online platform, there really is a sense of community present. This really helps to embody the spirit, which is going to support continued personal improvement, whilst being with like-minded people, who want a space to relax and unwind.
I am very honest when I say that I may not have stuck to my initial goal of 2-3 yoga classes per week. However, I have managed to squeeze in 10 or 20 minute short classes regularly. I think this only reflects the current period, which consistently presents new, daily restrictions, which we have to learn to involve in our now, quite normal, stay-at-home lifestyle. This presents the idea that yoga can easily become part of a lifestyle and not just a fashionable trend, starting in January and ending two weeks into February. Additionally, the brilliant thing about the internet is the access to these classes, are only a few taps away. With the first few months of 2021 only involving trips to the supermarket and to the living room, I found it the perfect chance to pick up this hobby again. I have definitely found myself becoming more optimistic, remaining calmer and trying to worry less about this frantic time. Below are some accounts which I have found specifically useful, and hopefully this can help others understand the brilliant benefits of taking some time… to just BREATH. In my opinion, 2021 has to be better than 2020, but for now, here’s to a calmer and more composed beginning to the new year.