Healing with Yoga

Before the cancellations of classes and events, I was able to attend one of the final events at the Multi-Faith Centre. The ‘Healing with Yoga Event’ was a trauma-informed practice, that is specifically catered toward those who have experienced or are currently encountering a stressful or anxiety-induced situation.

The space was really conducive to a peaceful atmosphere. The Meditation Room is a small room with a green wall, filled with plants and the sound of trickling water. Being in the room was a beautiful and relaxing escape from the concrete and pavement of the city. Unless the room is booked, it also exists as a prayer and meditation room. It's a wonderful and private environment to isolate yourself from the world and relax as well. The instructor was a soothing and accommodating presence. She instructed us in a way that made us aware that we ultimately held the power to do whatever was most comfortable with our bodies. Of course, one always has control over what moves to do in a yoga or exercise class. However, it's not an uncommon experience to get instructors who try to push you through hard workout routines, or accidentally guilt you into following a workout move that is uncomfortable for your body. While this can be helpful for those who want motivation during exercise classes, it can cause nervousness among people who don't respond well to harsh instructions. Unfortunately, it can also cause anxiety among trauma survivors who need the freedom to reject certain positions without feeling reprimanded. Luckily, because this yoga class focused on healing and was catered to acknowledging trauma, the instructor put energy into providing people with alternative moves if a specific position was too difficult or too intense. The moves focused on stretching the muscles, on deep breathing exercises, or on training the body's balance. Most of the difficult moves could be readjusted to be made more comfortable, but the session itself was more about relieving the body rather than straining it. The serene sounds of the running water from the living wall added tremendously to the calming feeling of the room, and I left the hour-long session feeling rejuvenated. In the midst of the uncertainty regarding COVID-19, sadly feelings of anxiousness may form while readjusting to social isolation and online courses. Therefore, it's important to exercise and take care of your mind and body, even from within the home. While the Healing with Yoga courses have unfortunately been cancelled for the remainder of the term, it's significant to find alternative methods of mindfulness and exercise. Starting March 18, every other Wednesday at 4pm there will be an online Mindful Meditation session that you can follow along with. I highly encourage checking it out on the Multi-Faith Centre's facebook page or emailing multi.faith@utoronto.ca to register. In addition, YouTube is a great way to find at-home Yoga workout routines, and one will be linked below!  

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