Written by Holly Richardson
Holly has been a part of black swan yoga’s community + family. She’s recently graduated from Black Swan Yoga’s 200HR Yoga Teacher Training Program and is apart of our Super Swan staff. Take a peak below as Holly leads a conversation on reconnection and a reminder to reset and be in the present.
I keep coming back to the word reset. We’re all experiencing a universal loss, universal grief, universal lack of human physical connection. Yet we’re all experiencing drastically different feelings, effects, and outcomes from this global pandemic. We’re all processing each unique situation differently.
How can we help ourselves during this time? How can we take a step back and not rely on anyone, on anything except the one “thing” we can’t get away from?
Our inner self. Our body. Our mind.
In previous modern society, we could so easily escape from reality. Work, play, workout, eat, socialize, sleep, scroll on phones, watch TV, sleep and repeat. We’ve become so accustomed to being busy and overstimulated that we can’t even think straight and we’ve gotten farther and farther away from ourselves. We don’t even know who we are anymore. We’re almost scared to learn about ourselves. That’s not fully our fault, it’s just become a part of modern day society.
While this pandemic is a tragedy in many ways, I’d like to ask how can we turn the conversation to be beneficial to us in this present moment?
How can we focus on what we CAN control? How can we reset ourselves, our lives, our goals? How can we LET GO of what isn’t serving us?
We have this strange and unique opportunity to tune into ourselves and be still.
-We have silence. We have time. We have space.
-We can reset.
-We can go back to our roots.
-We have ourselves.
If we’re doing all the fitness challenges, or simply unmotivated, overindulging in sweets, or overcommitting to 20 zoom calls per week, why do we feel this pressure? If we’re judging ourselves, can we ask ourselves, why?
What is important to us as individuals? Can we use this time to turn inward?
It’s okay to have days where it’s hard to get out of bed and It’s okay to adapt to new routines. It’s also okay to have good days during this time.
Instead of focusing on the unknown, how can we focus on what we can control and find happiness through it?
We have ourselves. We have nature.
Here’s a little peek into my own recent life with lessons that I hope you can apply to yours.
A couple months before covid-19 developed, I dealt with some dark personal experiences. I won’t go into detail, but it felt like my entire world was suddenly flipped upside down. This happened 2 weeks into Yoga Teacher Training with Black Swan. I was forced to deal with my personal heartbreak while learning about self-study and union (the definition of yoga), while being in a room with a beautiful group of humans and now my dear friends, for 8 weekends in a row. I couldn’t hide my feelings or travel and escape because I was committed to YTT. It felt impossible to not ball my eyes out during savasana and our 30+ minute metta-meditations in a quiet studio. (Despite, almost never crying in general, let alone in public.)
Generally I’m smiling from ear to ear, but during this difficult time, I knew I had to be real and raw, diving deep into my soul, turning inward to regain a sense of what’s important to me in life.
What are my goals? What do I want in life? Who am I?
My energy was depleted. I could barely get out of bed some days. I found myself walking 4 miles a day, not even remembering later on what I had done that day.
But yoga kept me sane. Yoga brought me back to myself. I was resetting. I was cleansing. I was accepting life changes and moving forward. I removed material goods, didn’t spend money or allow myself to find “quick fixes”. I was learning to accept my new reality, learning about me. Learning how I’ve put other people first, therefore partly resulting in the loss of myself.
I turned inward.
I went back to my roots. In teacher training, learning about the root chakra, muladhara, the grounding red energy in the base of the spine that helps our bodies stay balanced, was very timely. While I’m generally a very grounded person, at the time, I felt completely unstable. I knew I needed to get my root chakra balanced in order to feel like myself again. I needed to ground myself.
I turned to nature.
I knew I could rely on hiking and walking and running on all the beautiful trails in Austin. It was free and it allowed me to tune into my thoughts and feel all the emotions with no one judging me. I didn’t block out the feelings. I journaled multiple times per day and started writing some dark poetry, I didn’t even know I had inside of me. But it was therapeutic. I knew I was lucky to have an overwhelming support system of friends and family and my YTT family surrounding me.
Each day was a new challenge. Each day had a new surprise. I started to adapt and expect the unexpected. I couldn’t take any day for granted.
We only have ourselves. We only have now.
Fast forward to covid-19, work trips being cancelled, the pandemic getting increasingly worse…of course fear arose, but I didn’t want to let it control me. I felt more mentally prepared and confident after the previous months of curveballs that had been thrown at me.
I’m doing what I did during YTT, but now with more time by myself. I’m (virtually) meeting with therapist once a week and doing a lot of self-study ,Svadhyaya, one of my favorite niyamas, teaching us that the yoga practice is far beyond what’s on the mat, and helps us remove our ego, inching us closer to the end goal of ‘yoking’ or uniting with our true inner self. I’m removing former stories I told myself that don’t serve me and removing expectations and labels from myself and from others.
I’m finding joy in the little things in life like morning walks with beautiful blooming flowers and monarch butterflies and nourishing my body with new healthy recipes. I even found myself wandering around my yard picking dandelions today.
I’m tuning into my body both when it craves more rest and when it craves movement. I’m doing lots of at-home yoga, feeling grounded by the strong virtual community of yogi friends surrounding me and inspiring me to be a better version of myself. I’m letting go.
I hope that as more people face these difficult challenges, they’re more open to turning inward, so we can collectively grow together to make the world a better place.
I feel so grateful to be surrounded by driven, loving individuals and will continue to help bring more authenticity to this precious universe. Even though we can’t be in person together, I’m confident our virtual connection will drive us out of this situation even stronger.
I’d encourage you to reflect on how you can reset yourself.
What brings you light during times of darkness?
What can you control and how can you allow that to drive more happiness in your life?