In this moment of transition, it can feel like I’m floating between two worlds: New York City before COVID19, and New York City after. I am so privileged to have my health, my work, and a home I feel safe in, but I have been struggling to ground myself and stay present. I’ve been thinking a lot about what my mornings used to look like in NYC BC (before Corona). What things can I borrow from my old life to give me some comfort and structure in my new one?
Mornings have always been my time. The day is new, there’s a freshness and a sense of hope I’ve always loved. My morning ritual has always been simple: I make coffee and while it brews, I make my bed. I might do a few restorative poses on my freshly made bed (Yinova practitioner Dr. Kelsey Tangel has a great morning bed yoga (as I fondly call it) flow that you can find here) and then I like to sit down in my kitchen with my freshly made coffee. I do a million other things after that, but those small things bring me so much comfort and help cue up the rest of my day.
I asked the people I spent most of my days with in my old life, the Yinova East Side Team, what routines or rituals they’ve created for themselves. What’s changed? What’s stayed the same? (Spoiler alert, we love coffee in this family!)
Both Daryl Thuroff and Brittany Griffin told me they took this opportunity to slow down. “I’m trying to enjoy the things I craved during ‘normal’ life, but was restricted due to the rush of schedules,” Brittany says. Working and sustaining a new routine can be difficult, especially when experiencing big collective changes.
Daryl’s mornings now include a long 90 minute walk with Jake, her sweet dog, something that used to be missing or truncated in her busy mornings before. “I’ve also been trying to do a simple sun salutation every morning, for 5-6 rounds.”
She explained her sun salutation for me:
Breath in, slight back bend with arms over head.
Exhale and fold.
Inhale, come up to flat back.
Exhale fold back down.
Inhale into chair pose.
Exhale forward fold.
Inhale, all the way up, arms over head then back to Namaste.
She feels that “It keeps the qi, blood, and breath flowing even when my mind is all over the place.”
While movement wasn’t a big part of my morning routine, it is something I use to refocus and re-energize throughout the day. Short midmorning runs, early afternoon walks on conference calls, and breaks for some juicy stretching have been my saving grace during the workweek. Patricia Botet, East Side Clinic Director, adds, “I’ve been taking 5 minute sunshine breaks to sit in the sun and listen to the birds. I don’t ever remember noticing so many colors and different sounds.” Patricia also says walking barefoot on the grass and dirt can help ground her.
Yinova founder, Jill Blakeway, has a similar grounding technique. She visualizes her connection and anchoring to the earth, a guided meditation she has generously led me through a few times. “I imagine I have tree roots that go into the earth. The earth is yin. It is cooling, moistening, and nourishing and I imagine it nurturing my physical body. Then I move my focus to the top of my head and imagine the matrix of dynamic, intelligent energy that surrounds me. This is the Tao in Chinese medicine and it is yang. It’s warming, dynamic, and transformational.”
Jill explains, “In Chinese philosophy, human beings are the connection between heaven and earth. Our physical bodies are yin and are rooted on the earth. The energy that flows through is yang, and comes from the Toa.”
If you’re someone like me, who struggles to find your footing in these fast-changing times, I highly recommend incorporating some simple routines of your own into your day-to-day. These little acts of care and attention towards the self offers such comfort and stability. You don’t need to go revamp your entire skincare regimen to invest and show up for yourself, although if that feeds you—go for it! Just finding small ways you can take the time and care to show up for yourself. And if you’re still feeling unsteady, or like you’re struggling to keep your head above water, just know that you aren’t alone. Our team has all been there & we’re here to support you, your health, and empower you with tools and modalities you can use on your own to heal and ground.