One subject’s dominating the news worldwide. Coronavirus is spreading. A huge spike of cases in Italy and in South Korea has fueled fears of a global pandemic that could wreak havoc on global healthcare systems.
Meanwhile, many are wondering how to stay safe. Can you get coronavirus from packages delivered from China? Can you get the virus by eating Chinese (or Korean, Italian…) food? Should you stock up on almost everything as if civilization were on the verge of collapse?
Well, the answer to all these questions is a resounding no. Still, anxiety and fear are legitimate when a disease with a 3% mortality rate seems to be spreading so fast. First of all, then, let’s cover the basics about Covid-19 – the disease caused by the virus – with this incredibly catchy video by the Vietnamese government. (btw, thanks to John Oliver)
I know that listening to this absolute bop, unfortunately, won’t be enough to relieve stress and anxiety. We’re still dealing with unprecedented uncertainty, anticipation, and fear. But rather than getting in full panic mode, it may be more helpful to try to quieten mental chatter. To that end, try yoga. If nothing else, it offers a fresh perspective on how to deal with something unknown and beyond our control.
Yoga Is Skill in Action
Yoga Journal’s Timothy McCall says that the most important lesson to be drawn from practicing yoga is that we should go on with our lives even in the face of uncertainty. “The reality is that fear puts us in touch with the truth, which is that we can sometimes affect outcomes, but ultimately we don’t have control over what happens to us.” This time, even listening to the experts isn’t resolutive. Stressing over the onslaught of updates on social media won’t do you any good.
One of India’s most revered ancient texts, the Bhagavad Gita, calls us to act from a place of centredness. We’re invited to use our intelligence to find the best course of action without being distracted by our anxiety and fear. Furthermore, it calls us to act even if we can’t have control over the outcomes of our dealings, suggesting to divert our focus from the external world. This is called “karma yoga” or the yoga of action. But how to achieve this calm state of being?
Yoga Nidra for Stress Relief
A form of meditation that is particularly useful to help relieve stress and achieve calm is Yoga Nidra. Studies have shown its effects on PTSD for US veterans. Yoga Nidra also helped women who were victims of rape by decreasing negative thoughts of self-blame and depression.
To start, lie down on your back. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Then, focus on your right foot. Keep your attention there for a while. Relax. Then, turn your attention to your right knee. Slowly move up your body. Observe the sensations you feel and stay still for a while. Finally, turn to your right side and lie down for a few more minutes. Take your own time to slowly open your eyes.
Music for Coronavirus Stress Relief
Music can help you make your yoga practice strikingly effective. So, try yoga and combine soothing music with a great routine. It’ll do wonders to calm your coronavirus anxiety. Here’s a playlist to get started.