Dear pandemic, I can’t focus during yoga

Dear pandemic, I can’t focus during yoga

My alarm goes off at 6:50AM. I mute a few times before I get out of bed at 7:30AM. I gaze a bit sleepy in front of me. Outside there is noise. Machines are rattling with which construction workers are renovating our rear facade. Unbelievable, I think from my sleepiness, that they chose exactly this period to renovate the facades. Working at home takes on a completely different dimension.

Time for yoga. I walk to the kitchen to get a glass of water. Then I roll out a yoga mat to do some stretching exercises on the another side of our apartment and as far away from the noise as possible. I don’t know if this is really yoga. I do exercises I’ve seen on YouTube. “Yoga for a strong back,” says the title. Just what I need. It gives me a good feeling to start the day like this in peace. Not immediately work, but first some quiet time with my thoughts and feelings. Because yes, it is quite a rare time now with the pandemic going on.

“Breathe deeply. Breathe yourself into the movements.” Is the advice of the yoga instructor in the video. A flexible lady with a body that I’m jealous of. In the video there is a sign on the wall: “This is our happy place.” In the corner is a statue of an extremely relaxed-looking Buddha. This could really help to grow closer to myself.

After three breaths, my mind is wandering off to the Google Hangout appointment which is planned later on. I’m also a bit worried. I’m now a full time freelancer. I quit my job just before this crisis. I was going to travel. I really felt the need to step out of the daily life I’m in. A pause. By bike. Enjoy touring through nature, countries and cultures. Living in a flow of, let’s see what is happening without thinking too much about it. I had booked a flight to Alaska on April 1. Fortunately, I get the money back from the airline company. At least that was what a friendly voice promised when I contacted the customer service. Now that I’m a freelancer I’m concerned about the future, will I continue to have enough work? And what about the economic crisis of the future?

Don’t get carried away in your thoughts, I think as a wise second version of myself. I take a deep breath and push my buttocks up in another exercise. The downward dog. Breathe in 1-2-3-4 and out 1-2-3-4. I step with my feet to my hands and then get up. I raise my arms outstretched next to me and then bump my head against the mirror ball hanging under the living room lamp. It just hangs there, I think very mind-full, today and it was also there yesterday.

I recently wrote about trying to shut myself off from the news as much as possible. I listen to what our prime minister has to say and exceptionally read an article by the The Atlantic and a selection of bloggers. I see this period as a break. A good time to shake off all unnecessary distractions and bad habits. Build a stable rhythm with new habits. And with some ups and downs this works quite well.

On April 1 I would go to Alaska to cycle to Argentina. In mid-March it became clear that this would not be possible at all now. The whole world got into a lockdown. Borders closed. Travelers went back to their home country. I had to adjust myself to that because I was ready to leave. With stuff and a plan. But I was also emotionally prepared to be alone for weeks. In the freezing north. In my mind I already was in some sort of a lockdown, but then in a tent in the vast forests of Alaska. Fortunately, I adjusted easily, it took some getting used to, but I was able to let it go. The journey is not yet coming, now I have more time to prepare it.

The part of financial security was and still is exciting. As of April 1 I had quit my job. Without this stability, the prospect became uncertain. To this day I experience an amount of worry from it. I had a permanent job for a while and I was also a freelancer. Now everything consist of being a freelancer. The longer this crisis will last, the greater the chance that I will have to live on my savings. This requires me to look at work and my daily schedule in a new creative way.

The date of departure has been postponed. Just so that I can adjust to something and take that into account, without constantly having to create a new plan. I would like to leave in January 2021. If it would be possible, it’s less interesting to leave immediately after the summer. If I descend south in the middle of winter, many mountain passes in The Rocky Mountains will be closed. This also counts for not wanting to start cycling in fall. That means that until December this year I will have to find security in work and income. This has been successful so far, but the cultural sector where I work has been hit hardest by the effects of the coronavirus. The future is unstable.

I estimate that we will come out of a lockdown mindset after the summer. This will depend on a possibly second wave of infections from the virus that will be in the fall for the Northern Hemisphere. When the weather gets wetter and colder, people become more vulnerable to the flu. Of course I’m not a scientist so maybe this is not true at all. Anyway, in times of uncertainty it is nice to make a story for the future, to think of something that gives direction.

In recent weeks I have been quite surprised how easily people adapt to the situation. I didn’t expect this lockdown to drive us completely crazy, but until now the situation remains ok. I read an article about a prediction of some kind of mental crisis following this lockdown. We are social animals and keeping that distance would do us no good at all. But in broad sense it seems that, with some minor exceptions, we can easily adjust. That gives me hope.

Accepting this crisis in this way is quite difficult. You can get confused. It’s something that mainly affects us on an emotional level. How can this happen? I can understand that some blame the entire 5G network with a plot by the Chinese government. I also need a story to better understand things. Conspiracy creates feelings of moral and intellectual superiority. A sense of importance. Convincing others who are too blind to understand is an activity that can provide satisfaction. To protect myself from this I like to be selective in all information that comes to me.

Thoughts come and go. I take another deep breath. Have I calmed down during this yoga session? I don’t really know. At least I have been giving myself space to think. I put on my running shoes to go for a run. I’ll try again tomorrow.