Chapter 3 | First Sunday In Lockdown

woman doing yoga pose

This is our first Sunday in ‘lockdown’; this time a week ago, we were still ‘relatively free’. For me, the understanding of what I was allowed and not allowed to do was very helpful – clear boundaries are so important. Another realisation was to be able to put a clear/strict/defined boundary in place; a person or organisation must have a clear understanding, or as many facts as possible available, to make a clear distinction between in this case, safety and danger. There is so much to consider: the ups and the downs and the short and long-term consequences. The reality – nobody really knows.

I am still struggling to impose my own boundaries regarding the use of my phone (I am not a social media user at all), I only communicate via WhatsApp, texts and emails. I wanted to keep my phone switched off until 2pm on Saturday, however I am doing a ‘21 Day Meditation’ through Abundance and I receive my mediation piece and homework through WhatsApp, so I had to switch my phone on. I’m also supporting my very close friend, who is suffering from cancer and we needed to communicate with each other in regard to getting her shopping and delivering it. What do I do then about my phone boundary? Before I knew it other messages popped up, and yes, it was too tempting; I opened many of them and the next thing I knew the morning had slipped away and was 12.30pm already.

I do a weekly yoga session at my home with a wonderful yoga teacher, Bhavin, who is also a friend of mine. We have our regular sessions on a Saturday at 11am. I made a decision at the beginning of the week though that I wouldn’t continue with my sessions online, as we can no longer do them in person. There were two reasons for that, first of all I thought I’d do my yoga by myself and secondly I didn’t want to spend money whilst I am earning very little at the moment. Keeping in mind though that my only way to reach other people is also online, through the latest, newest and most used invention Zoom! Barely anyone (I certainly did not) knew about Zoom, and now the whole world talks about it. Maybe I should try it from the other side. My oldest client yet, at 88 years old, signed up for her first session with us last week! Is that not amazing? Getting back to Bhavin and my sessions – by Wednesday, I decided that I was being stupid and of course I wanted to do my session on Saturday morning as I too have to think out of the box. This lockdown will most probably carry on for 12 weeks and I need to have an open mindset. Also, I always believe in spending money and time on my health and this certainly is the time.

I think I might have also been subconsciously influenced by attending Marco’s online session on Wednesday night. I was really not in the mood for another exercise session that night as I felt tired, however, I had committed. The first 20 minutes were no frills, no whistles, no music, no other people or distractions, it was literally Marco and his instructions. After a while my intention and focus changed and I really just got into it. I loved the fact that someone else took control, told us exactly what to do and prompted us continuously to do a bit more. I felt the change in my body, I could feel my exertion and I started to love it. There is no doubt in my mind that I worked harder with Marco than what I would have done by myself.

Did I have fun? No I did not, however did I enjoy my session? A definite yes, I enjoyed the fact that I could focus on the instruction and the execution, I started to really like the fact that there was no other diversion besides hearing my own breath and Marco’s prompts. It was also wonderful to be able to see SFStudios from the outside and to be able to connect with Marco and the other two people in the class.

Online training is a different form of training; it takes focus and you have to learn to work and train without an ‘atmosphere’ – it’s getting the %$*! done, and it feels good getting it done! This prompted me to continue to teach with vigour. The biggest thing as a teacher I believe (a bit like being able to put a boundary in place) is to not aim to entertain. Understand what your intention with the session is, be as specific as you can be, connect with yourself and the people, remain grounded throughout and truly believe in the power of movement and breath. I honestly believe that this time will help us as people, once again to become more self-reliant, more self-motivated, disciplined and more able to find the entertainment within ourselves.

I went ahead and did Bhavin’s online yoga session yesterday, Saturday, at 11am. I was by myself this time as my friend who usually joins the classes is sadly sick. We got straight into it, no messing about. I worked hard and I had to figure the difficult poses out by myself, by listening and by feeling what was going on inside my body. To feel my weight, resistance, centre-points and counter balance etc. So many times I got to my threshold and then I could hear Bhavin say ‘10 more seconds’…. ‘You are half-way there’… ‘Well done a little bit longer’… and I even got a ‘Perfect Suz!’ – Damn, did that feel good. I was hot, I was sweaty, my diaphragm was alive, I could feel my heart pump. I could think of nothing else, at that moment all I could do was feel. And then a thought came to me – ‘I can’t believe that I wanted to cancel the session today’. Was my session spiritual? No, it was not. Did Bhavin play music? No, he did not. Was there an atmosphere? Yes, when I created my own atmosphere – physical exercise, moving my joints, working my muscles, heart pumping and lungs breathing – atmosphere enough for me, to tell you the truth.

The beautiful thing about my exercise routines – they elevate/lift the atmosphere inside me and inside my home for the rest of the day; everything is a little bit brighter, a little bit calmer, a bit more alive, a bit less important, a bit easier, a bit nicer. I am grateful today, to my parents for introducing exercise at an early stage in my life, I am grateful for growing up in South Africa without a computer or a mobile phone until I was at University.

We played outside. My mum believed that only sick people stay inside the house when the sun shines, needless to say if you were reading a book when the sun was out, you had a big problem (😉) (That version is now slightly moderated………) Thinking about it though, I still find it strange to be reading inside when the sun is shining, especially in England, and watching TV on a sunny day is just completely ‘verboten!’…

I am grateful that I started to run in high school and especially throughout University. We did not have mobile phones or music… you had a nice pair of trainers, if you were lucky and you had your own thoughts. I did not know then, but I was already self-regulating my moods and my stress through running and sport. My mum always sent me out when I was younger by pointing her finger and telling me ‘Suz go for a run, go now!’. I always came back ‘nicer’ after a run. I think those little valuable lessons – to train, work and discipline myself come in handy now. So, if you are only just starting to train, if you are still struggling… just keep on doing it every day and do not expect to necessarily enjoy it – put your focus on your work-out and maybe, one day, you will be surprised. It will become a little bit more familiar and a little bit easier each time. Rely on yourself, delve within, feel your movement, feel your breath. My turn to extend my back now.

Off I go!

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