Fear in the age of COVID

By Amy Robinson

NO FEAR reads the bumper sticker on the loud truck that backfires as it speeds by me. My body jumps and prepares to flee as my sympathetic nervous system kicks in with a rush of adrenaline telling my body to get to safety. When I realize that I’m not in danger, I laugh at the irony of the bumper sticker and continue walking to my yoga studio. It takes me 20 minutes into the class to calm down, feel my breath deepen and my heart rate slow, and for the cortisol rush to subside. 

Instead of NO FEAR (which isn’t possible and when repressed can ooze out in strange ways), how can we cultivate a healthy relationship with fear? 

Our body is intrinsically designed to keep us safe. Sometimes we live with chronic stress and fear that can take a toll on our health and drive us to make irrational, maybe even harmful, choices.

With the global pandemic we are living in a fear soup. I find myself getting caught in a fear loop—what if my parents get Covid? My children? How will my yoga studio survive this shut down? etc.

Our yoga practice can help us to get out of perpetual fight or flight mode (sympathetic nervous system) and help our nervous system balance so that when it’s time to activate we are kept safe and when it’s time to rest and digest (parasympathetic nervous system) we can relax.  

Here is what I try to practice when I am in a state of chronic fear/stress:

  • Be with it like I would with my child who wakes from a nightmare  Pause, listen, feel.  Sometimes, I write down my fear or speak it to a loved one.  Be curious—maybe this fear has an important message for me.  Maybe I am in in an unsafe situation.
  • Notice where I feel it in my body I may notice my chest feels tight, my guts wrenched.
  • Belly breathe and make space  I take a few deep diaphragmatic breaths and imagine breathing to the areas of my body that feel tight.
  • MOVEWalk in nature, practice yoga, dance, connect with my body.  This helps move the stress response hormones through, disrupts the hamster wheel brain and brings me back to the present moment.
  • Rest and rejuvenate Take at least 15mins for a couple of restorative poses and savasana.

After moving through these steps, I am able to make empowered decisions, that are not solely based on ungrounded fears. 

When you feel afraid, use it as an opportunity to practice and notice what do you have control over and what do you not have control over, and to recognize when you are in imminent danger and need to get to safety or seek help. I hope with the help of these tools and the support of your yoga practice, you are able to feel times of safety and peace during this time of great fear and uncertainty.

Amy Robinson is the owner of 3 OMS Yoga, and has been teaching yoga and building community in Bellingham for almost 20 years. She is passionate about sustainable living and business practices, and is also on the board of Sustainable Connections. Click here to learn more about Amy and see her teaching schedule.

Racial Justice Resources

This is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive list of the many organizations and individuals out there who work tirelessly in the name of racial justice. But these are a few we as a staff have found helpful in educating ourselves, learning and listening to black people and their lived experiences, and our ongoing work of taking our yoga practice off our mats and out to create meaningful change in the world.

Donate

Local:

Northwest Community Bail Fund

ACLU of Washington

National:

A list of organizations supporting BIPOC communities of Minnesota

Black Visions Collective

NAACP

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Southern Poverty Law Center

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

Unicorn Riot

The Loveland Foundation

Color of Change

North Star Health

Black Women’s Blueprint

Learn

Anti-racism resources for white people** This is a fantastic and evolving document filled with podcasts, books, articles, and other resources to educate yourself as well as share with children

Guide to Anti-Racism for Beginners and White People – If you are feeling like you really just don’t know where to start thinking about issues of racial justice, start here.

Black Lives Matter

Communities United Against Police Brutality

Retreats and Online Workshops/Classes

Skill in Action Home Retreat with Michelle C. Johnson July 24- 26 (yoga specific about dismantling racism in yoga spaces; many of our staff joined her for a training this past December, and we all read and discussed her book Skill in Action as a group – highly recommended reading)

Education for Racial Equity

Classes with Monique Melton

When They See Us Study Guide

Anti-Racism for Wellness Professionals with Chrissy King

Take Action

Petitions to sign – Demand justice for the victims of the recent brutal killings of black Americans and that those responsible be held accountable

Text, Call, or Email  Let your voice be heard; amplify the voices of others. We are stronger together.

Creating and Sustaining A Home Practice

By Dani Colito

Like many of you, I am just starting to settle into the flow of being at home, working at home and now practicing yoga solely at home. At first creating a home practice can be a little intimidating, very much like walking into a yoga studio class for the first time. Creating and feeling comfortable while practicing at home, with the support of online classes can be a positive that comes out of all of this. I want to share some tips for creating and sustaining a home practice. .

Read More

Ritualizing your Yoga Practice to Create Calm and Consistency

Every morning I drink a cup of water out of one of my (many) favorite mugs while I stand and look out the window (seeing how the lilac grows) and let the hot water kettle get my coffee water boiling. After that I put on a wiggly song and get my coffee brewing and stretch out my shoulders and sleep-stiff body while I wait to push down my coffee and have a hot cup all ready to go. Often the little blonde and pink bobbed heads of my daughters are milling around me, a dance partner might join in, and the kitten threads my ankles as I find a forward fold across ancient wood floors. I’m present. The interruptions, voices, and little lips stealing first sips are all part of the ritual. My presence, reverence, and deep breaths invite them in. 

Read More

How to take our livestream classes

QUICK START GUIDE

  • Go to our class schedule, either via the MindBody app on your phone, or via the schedule page on our website; log in if necessary
  • Click “book”/”make single reservation” for your chosen class
  • If you have an active class pass or membership – you’re all set. If you need to purchase a pass, make your selection and provide payment
  • That’s it! You should receive an email with the link to your class within 1 minute. Join us for class on Zoom at the appointed time, or receive the link to the recording via email after the class is finished (good for 48 hours) If you do not receive this email or had trouble going through this process, either follow the detailed instructions below, or send us an email.

Detailed Instructions for signing up for an online class using your desktop/laptop

Scroll down for mobile instructions

A recording of the class will be sent to everyone signed up for a class that will be streamable for another 48 hours, whether you attended live or not. Perfect if a class time doesn’t work for you, you get interrupted, or have any tech issues. Just be sure to sign up for the class you’d like before it’s scheduled start time, and a link will be emailed to you after the class.

Read More

Covid 19 – Updated 7/8/20

7/8/20

Hello, beloved community!

When we closed our doors in mid-March, we were certainly hopeful that we would all be back sooner rather than later to be able to practice together in person. Alas, as it stands, we are still unsure of when that might be. Yoga Studios fall under Phase 3 of Washington State’s Safe Start Plan, and Whatcom County remains under Phase 2.

Rest assured, when we get the go-ahead that we may open, we have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that coming back to class in-studio will be as safe as we can make it for our students and staff. With smaller class sizes with at least 6 feet of space between students, contactless procedures throughout the entire experience, installation of an enhanced air filtration system, and lots more covid-19 safety protocols in place (we’ll share the full list when we re-open)– we are ready to welcome you back when the time is right (and for those who would prefer to continue practicing at home, we are also committed to continuing to offer livestream options!)

BUT – in the meantime, we are truly grateful to still be able to serve our community online. If you haven’t already, join us for daily classes via Zoom. We particularly love it when you are able to join us live for class so we can check in, say hello, and connect with each one of you. It’s the part of teaching in person we miss the most! We are also so happy that so many of you have been able to continue your yoga practice because of the flexibility of practicing with the recordings — either way, thank you for joining us and continuing to support us during this time.

💜 The 3 OMS Staff

5/21/20

Hear from owner Amy Robinson in this video update about our re-opening timeline, online classes, and more.

3/29/20 Updates to our online offerings

Hello Dear Community, 

We have been SO humbled by the response to the Facebook Group we created to keep yoga available to you. We’ve had hundreds of you gathering there to practice with us, say hello, and find a little peace and support for your day. It has truly been an honor to be in service to our community during this time of uncertainty and change, and to offer the first two weeks of our online offerings free to anyone, anywhere who needed them.
 
However, at the end of the day we are a business and need to support our teachers and keep the bills paid, so it’s time to move into phase two of our online classes. THANK YOU to everyone who has kept their membership rolling during this crucial time! Your support has always meant the world to us – but now, more than ever. 
Read More

Using the lessons of yoga to dig out from feelings of shame

By Sondra Matara

The line at Costco was long, and as I settled in for the wait, I defaulted to the modern day way to mentally check out – I took out my phone. As it lit up with new messages and notifications, I saw one message that made my heart immediately sink into my stomach: I realized I had sent out a glaring mistake in one of my own professional communications. It had gone out to thousands of people, and had clearly been noticed. My sense of embarrassment went through the roof. My chest tightened up, my face grew hot, and I couldn’t focus on the mundane task I was in the middle of. I was immediately the center of my own “shame storm.”

Read More

How can you play with your practice?

By Laura Orso

When I first began practicing yoga, it was at a gym. I had heard yoga was good for back pain and decided to give it a try. It was sweaty, and I wasn’t very good at it, but I kept going.

Eventually I fell in love with the practice, and I started exploring the variety of places that I could practice in. I went to a couple of studios, played around at home and outside, and noticed how different each of these experiences were. From the temperature of the room, to the music, to the practice itself, they all were distinctly different. None of them were better than the other, they were all unique–like trees, like people, each with their own gifts.

Read More

Do you rush to judge? Why this habit may be self-sabotaging your own happiness

By Michal Retter

I don’t like to classify things as “positive” or “negative” because I believe that in the greater scheme of things, if we pull away from judging the circumstance as is, we often find an intelligence at work. There’s often an eventual purpose in a “bad” thing. Furthermore, sometimes a “good” thing quickly turns bad in light of just a few extra details.

When we were young, many of us could have sworn that we knew exactly what we wanted and made choices that felt so “right” only later to regret. And of course some things didn’t feel good at all, but have allowed us the position we hold today.

Read More

Why practice inversions?

By Cat Enright

When I was a girl, I loved hanging from the monkey bars and reclining back over the swings.  I have always loved going upside down.  In a healthy environment, children intuitively take themselves through a wide range of body postures.

Unfortunately, as adults, we stop doing many things that are good for us and we may become afraid to do them.  Inversions might be one of these things.

Read More