Dear Friends and Family,
March 2020 Full Moon Over Central Park – Melissa Elstein
I am sending out positivity and healthy vibes to all of you and our global community at this extremely stressful time – we thought climate change and the United States presidential election were stressful enough, and now we are in the midst of a global Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn. Wow, the start of this important new decade has been one for the history books. This daunting situation demonstrates, that despite growing political movements towards identity politics and separatism, and discriminatory rhetoric from world “leaders”, we truly are all connected – physically, economically, and energetically. We have one home planet, and as we humans have evolved on it, our interconnectedness continues to become more obvious. We are all global citizens in this situation together. It is challenging for all of us to not go into constant fear and anxiety mode, especially with the 24/7 news cycle and social media. But these are the times to put into real-life practice the tools we learn in yoga, qigong, meditation, and dance – focus, mindfulness, flexibility, flow, letting go, centering, calm, and steadiness. Yes, negative emotions will understandably surface (and often), and that’s ok. At those times especially, let’s send healing energies and loving thoughts to ourselves and one another, just as we do during the Metta Mantra Loving-Kindness Meditations at the end of yoga and meditation classes. We can both stay informed and take proper precautions (see helpful links below), and continue our spiritual practices to support ourselves and one another.
In terms of my in-person group classes, I have been informed that classes at Dorot for Seniors and the Children’s Dance Program at Steps on Broadway have been cancelled until further notice, including this Thursday’s Chair Yoga/Qigong class at Dorot. Hopefully, at some point soon in the near future that class will be rescheduled.
In the meanwhile, if you are interested trying a telephone class before my Dorot University of Walls telephone series starts in April, or my Queens Library April 8th group phone call, please email me. This can be arranged as a group conference call, a private telephone session, Facetime, or Zoom. I have years of experience teaching seated qigong and Chair Yoga over the phone, combined with meditation and visualizations, and I find this medium works very well – especially if you already have experience with those modalities.
While the virus situation continues to evolve, here are some helpful suggestions from UWS Yoga & Wellness (http://www.uwsyoga.com) – one of the lovely yoga studios where I teach. These suggestions are helpful for all exercise environments:
“The best thing for all of us is to stay calm and clear-headed, wash our hands often and thoroughly, not touch our eyes/noses/mouths (it’s a great time to stop a nail-biting habit), and stay home if we feel sick. The Center for Infectious Diseases has a very helpful page for preventing illness that you can also print out: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html
When you are at the studio, we ask that you:
* Wash your hands on arrival. Use the paper towel to open up the bathroom door, then throw it out in the garbage.
* If you refill your water bottle, please make sure not to touch the spigot with your water bottle. We are cleaning the spigots regularly, but please be extra careful.
* Should you find yourself suddenly blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, please do so into a tissue or into your elbow (but then, wash your clothing that day!). If into a tissue, please wash your hands immediately. If this is a cold coming on, considering going home.
* Please use a tissue or paper towel any time your face is in contact with a bolster or blanket, or bring a clean towel from home to use at the studio.
* Do not touch your nose or mouth – the virus is lung-specific. This is why people are using masks.
* Students have asked us to request that everyone be extra careful about not walking on each other’s mats or belongings. Creatively walk around each other’s stuff, please!
* Keep your immune system strong by taking care of your body with yoga and meditation, walking outdoors, getting enough sleep, and eating healthy, unprocessed food (and, sorry, minimizing sugar and alcohol, which can deplete the immune system).
* For the outside world, consider using surgical gloves for contacting surfaces. Avoid opening and closing doors with your hands — try using knuckles instead. Elbows are great for elevator buttons. Be creative with greeting others — no shaking hands! Try …. ankle bumps, bowing, or even the Spock salute. : )
MOST IMPORTANTLY, wash your hands. A lot. Sing Happy birthday twice (or repeat lots of healthy affirmations) while you’re washing every nook and cranny of your hands, up to your wrists. Use something clean to dry them.
Here’s a helpful video about the coronavirus and how it works: https://www.technologynetworks.com/neuroscience/videos/what-actually-happens-if-you-get-coronavirus-331164
This article explains why soap is better than hand sanitizer: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/deadly-viruses-are-no-match-for-plain-old-soap-heres-the-science-behind-it-2020-03-08
But, sometimes hand sanitizer is helpful when you can’t get to a sink! Since hand sanitizer is sold out in most places, have some fun making your own! It needs to be at least 60% alcohol to be effective. https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Gel-Alcohol-Hand-Sanitizer
This simple experiment with bread and various states of dirty hands will certainly inspire your kids to wash their hands! https://www.sciencealert.com/this-simple-experiment-with-bread-is-a-genius-way-to-get-kids-to-wash-their-hands
Disposable rubber gloves are definitely better for the environment if you need to touch a lot of public property and want a fresh pair each day: https://www.amazon.com/Compostable-Food-Prep-Gloves-Eco-Friendly/dp/B07P7N17XQ
Here are some important online resources from New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s newsletter as we all navigate through this very new situation:
Visit http:// nyc.gov/health/coronavirus on a daily basis for the most up-to-date and complete information regarding the new coronavirus/COVID-19. Additional resources:
- NYC Department of Education Coronavirus – https://www.schools.nyc.gov/school-life/health-and-wellness/coronavirus-update
- CDC Coronavirus Disease – What You Should Know & Situation Updates –https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Here is an informative map of NYC coronavirus cases:
With blessings to all for safety, health and well-being!