Fitness Magazine

Dark Orange Skies, the Pandemic, and My Yoga Practice

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Nina
Dark Orange Skies, the Pandemic, and My Yoga PracticeOn Wednesday, September 9, I woke up later than usual because it was still dark outside when it should have been light. Confused, I opened the curtains and saw that the entire sky was a dark orange color, as if it was night but an orange night instead of dark blue one. We figured it must have something to do with the fires in California. In the days before this, we had spent many days inside our house, windows closed against unhealthy smoke-filled air from several different fires that ringed the San Francisco Bay Area. But now a combination of the fog coming in from the Pacific (which brought a blessed relief from the previous days of heat) and a high-level layer of smoke from the fire in the Sierras that settled above the fog had created a barrier that prevented most of the sun’s light waves from penetrating down to the earth's surface.
What could we do? We decided to simply go about our day, with me working on my book in my home office and Brad working remotely from his home office downstairs. But this dark orange sky, which continued for almost the entire day, was deeply unsettling on two levels. First, it was so unexpected. While we know that change is an intrinsic part of nature, that the color of the sky should change so drastically had previously been unimaginable. Everyone was saying it seemed like our city had been transported to another planet! And, second, what did this new development portend? Was every fire season in California going to be this extreme from now on? Were there more dark orange skies in our future? Should we be thinking of moving somewhere elseOf course, all of this was on top of the pandemic and being about six months into sheltering in place in our house, concerned about not just about ourselves but about people worldwide who were suffering from the disease and/or the economic fallout it was causing (hunger, unemployment, homelessness, etc.). Now climate change was no longer a theoretical threat, but it was a reality. And while we ourselves were only suffering from unhealthy air, we were well aware of serious loss that so many others across the state were experiencing.Still, even facing this double catastrophe, I felt reasonably balanced and steady. I cared very much about everything that was happening, but I didn’t go into a panic. It was only a few days later when I was meditating that I thought, hey, it looks like my yoga and meditation practice is actually helping me through this!As I mentioned in my post Welcome Back!, at the beginning of the pandemic, I had decided that trying to stay calm during these challenging times needed to be a priority for me. That’s because in the past I had problems with anxiety and even panic attacks during times of uncertainty. So I decided that I would do two things every single day: meditate for 20 or more minutes and practice Legs Up the Wall pose for 20 minutes. Sometimes I did more poses, sometimes I took a long walk, and sometimes I did both. But as of today, I kept my commitment for six months. Now I feel confident is reporting back to you that this practice worked for me. And I’ve already been gratified to hear back already from a few people that my mentioning what I was practicing every day in Welcome Back! inspired them to start practicing themselves. That's why I decided to write this post, in the hopes that I can inspire you to practice, too.At one level or another, we're all going through stressful times right now. So, how are you using yoga to manage your stress levels during these challenges? And if you’re not practicing, what’s holding you back?Subscribe to Yoga for Healthy Aging by Email ° Follow Yoga for Healthy Aging on Facebook ° To order Yoga for Healthy Aging: A Guide to Lifelong Well-Being, go to AmazonShambhalaIndie Boundor your local bookstore.

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