By Laura Gallegos, Managing Editor
Can yoga relieve stress due to Covid? If so, how?
Yes, yoga can relieve stress due to many reasons, including stress caused by Covid. One of the reasons that yoga is so powerful at mitigating stress is that it assists to bring the mind and body into a state of equilibrium and union with mindfulness being a cornerstone. This is accomplished through many techniques beyond the asana practice or yoga poses. Yoga is more of a lifestyle than a thing you go do a couple of times a week on a mat. Yogic tradition incorporates compassion and self-study. It provides guidance for our interactions with others and ourselves. A well-versed yoga facilitator, in my opinion, brings yoga philosophy to the mat as they guide a yoga asana (poses) class; this assists participants to begin to create mindset shifts, which we can all agree are vital to maintaining peace in our day-to-day life.
Has there been an increase in people participating in yoga since covid?
Yes, I’ve spoken about this with other yoga facilitators, and we noticed an increase in people participating in yoga in the El Paso area, several months after we were on lockdown. Many of us went to digital platforms so that we could continue to support our community, while staying within the regulations of lockdown. And I would say that over the last several months the energy shifted, and people’s hearts were desiring to have yoga classes in-person again. It’s not surprising, humans are hardwired for connection.
Tell us about mood modification and how yoga plays a role.
One of my favorite topics! Yogic tradition has a strong focus on breathing. And yes, there is a proper way to breath! And here is why… humans have an autonomic nervous system. It takes care of all the things you don’t have to think about (heartbeat, liver function, kidney function, etc.) There is, however, one aspect of that nervous system that you can consciously take charge of at will… and that is your respiratory system. For this reason, you can use different breathing techniques to directly modulate your nervous system. In other words, how you breath sends certain messages to your brain which in turn will give out instructions to your body about what hormones and chemicals to release. That’s powerful! So, when you are feeling stressed (even if it’s because you’re running late for a meeting) you can engage a type of breath that will cause your brain to direct your body to send out relaxation hormones! It means that when you are running low on energy or depressed, you can use a breathing technique that will cause your breath to direct your body to create endorphins (feel good hormones).
Where do you offer classes and where?
At this time, I am offering classes at Memorial Park Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. You can find the information for each class in the events section of the Everbalancing page on FB. I also work privately with individuals or groups. So, if you want yoga for your workplace or with your family, we can line that up!
What kind of yoga is it?
Ah THE question! Lol. I feel comfortable facilitating a traditional hatha yoga, as well as yin, restorative, and power styles; and every one of my classes has a very strong focus on breath. However, we also do a lot of things you do not find in most yoga classes, such as toning or screaming, where we use our voice as we do the practice. I’ve never known any other yoga facilitator to cue a scream! And the question is probably, “why?” Because I love to assist people to figure-out the boxes in which they are living and are not aware of and I am passionate about normalizing all human emotions! For example, most people have a difficult time screaming because their subconscious believes “only crazy people scream” or “you don’t do that in public,” but every time someone has been able to find their scream and let it out on the mat they are so surprised at how good it felt and how good they feel afterwards.