Gail during her now daily morning lockdown routineGail Lewis

I’ve been doing yoga for over 50 days in a row: it has become my routine every morning before I head downstairs to eat and *shuddering* socialise with my family. This is something that pre-lockdown me would never have expected (bar the last part).

I have been actively avoiding yoga for about 10 years, citing a variety of excuses such as injuries, not having suitable sports clothes (weak excuse, I know), and embarrassment. Let’s not lie here - one of the main reasons was that I wasn’t buying the ‘yoga changed my life’ bullshit. The pretentious, seemingly perfect lives of all who began yoga was just not my vibe.

Where did my relationship with yoga begin, I hear you ask. Cast your mind back to primary school, a time when pet woodlice were a thing and you were blissfully unaware of the tragedies the world would encounter in 2020.

My school began to run yoga sessions during some PE classes. I distinctly remember us all cackling as we tried to distract each other from doing tree poses - yoga was a success, it was a HIT with us kids.

'It brings me back down to earth, allows me to focus on my body, my breath, my thoughts, in a safe space.'Gail Lewis

Our happiness was swiftly cut short by one of the girls’ parents complaining that yoga was ‘oppressing her religion as a Catholic’, leading to its cancellation. Some time between that and 50 days ago positive connotations of yoga turned to negative ones.

Let’s cut back to the present day. Why yoga? I’d like to think that for me it was a perfect storm (not to be dramatic or anything): a culmination of failing to get on board with the app Headspace and start meditating/mindfulness (I often forgot how to breathe – yes, that’s a thing, apparently STRESS causes it), and of feeling weak. Mind you, I wasn’t feeling weak or unfit enough to start something more strenuous like running. (Excuse me while I ignore the various running challenges I’ve been tagged in on insta.)

Maybe my answer is more complex than it needs to be - to put it simply: yoga looked doable, strength-building, and seemed to come with an aspect of meditation or working on ‘inner peace’ (Oogway hi).

The idea of taking part in yoga in a live class (pre-social distancing era) honestly scares the shit out of me, which is why I turned to more bedroom-friendly alternatives. Imagine sitting in a yoga class with ten other people, attempting to do some back-bending poses, letting out various grunts, noises, smells (oop). Thank u, next.

'I realise that I dismissed yoga much too early on.'Gail Lewis

I’ve experimented with a few different YouTube yoga channels, apps, and live zoom classes. Yoga With Adriene (YouTube) reigns supreme in the realm of lockdown yoga. Not only is she just a living goddess, she doesn’t make me feel like trash for not being able to hold a pose or not being flexible enough. Plus, she has a dog named Benji in her videos - the real star of the show.

Adriene offers a multitude of sessions: yoga targeting specific areas of the body, yoga for right before bed, yoga for when you’re on your period, yoga for when you need a life detox.. the list goes on.

I genuinely believe that there’s something for everyone in yoga...

I began with some of her beginner-targeted sessions and am now doing one of her 30 day yoga challenges. There’s something so warming about a Texan gal telling me I’m allowed to have a shit day, and that I should kiss my knee and give it some love because we all need a bit of love (yes, she’s a bit of a weirdo too sometimes, really resonates with me). There’s a great mix of loving, breathing-focused sessions and more flow/strengthening days within her 30 day challenges.

Yoga has honestly surprised me with the improvements I’ve seen in my body and mind (ugh, cringey stuff, I know) over the past few weeks. Yes, I have learned to breathe and don’t forget to do so as often as before. But also, my core strength, flexibility, balance, and - in particular - posture have improved noticeably! Who would have guessed?

By incorporating a yoga session into my morning routine, I start the day at a more peaceful and calm headspace; this is something I’ve come to appreciate perhaps more than I would have in another time due to the stressful days we’re currently going through.

Having my alone time without disturbance in the mornings also gives me a sense of independence. As great as living with family can be, personal space and individual time can be difficult to achieve in comparison to uni life.

'Yoga looked doable, strength-building, and seemed to come with an aspect of meditation.'Gail Lewis

But let’s keep this a bit more real. It wasn’t and isn’t easy getting up every day and doing some yoga. It’s completely okay to despise it at some points, or to look at the duration of the session and think “how on earth am I going to do 20 minutes of this shit?”.

Motivation is something that can be even scarcer than usual in lockdown - the tough days can be even tougher, concentration can be a far-off dream, and irritation levels can easily peak in such an anxiety- and stress-ridden time.


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However, I’ve found that on those days doing yoga is perhaps more important to me than ever. It brings me back down to earth, allows me to focus on my body, my breath, my thoughts, in a safe space.

Maybe a more useful tip for getting through the days or incorporating something like yoga into your routine is recording yourself doing it. Sounds daunting, I know. You don’t need to show anyone or post it anywhere (although that is how I’m holding myself accountable). Often I’ll finish a session and look back at the footage, noting how my form is, or chuckling at the sped up actions.

'I’ve been doing yoga for over 50 days in a row: it has become my routine every morning.'Gail Lewis

In conclusion, I realise that I dismissed yoga much too early on. Yes, it can be highly pretentious (apologies if that’s how I’ve come across here, I promise you I’m not), but it can also be something that you can tailor to your own needs.

Vinyasa and power yoga is more about strength and fitness, Yin yoga is the one you want for ya inner peace, Restorative yoga does what it says on the tin.. the list goes on. I genuinely believe that there’s something for everyone in yoga, especially in the wellbeing area in these unprecedented times.

Or maybe I have just become the very yoga snob I despise - flexing my yoga sessions on all who come across my insta stories.

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