The Buzz

A bit more mindful, a little less digital by Rachel Holmes

Hatha Yoga classes

With the country awakening (for now at least), it was with much joy that classes returned to the studio this week. Whilst it’s been great to have been able to take advantage of the digital world and continue classes on Zoom throughout lockdown, nothing beats the feel, the sounds and the welcoming space of the Om yoga studio.

Many people have become accustomed to the weekly routine of home yoga, sliding seamlessly between laptops, dining tables, yoga mats and their beds. It’s convenient, everything is in close proximity and you still get to see your fellow ommies, albeit via a screen.

But, I am one of those people who loves the tranquillity of a special space, away from the stresses of work, kids, chores and general ‘life’. The best part – leaving behind the endless digital-ness we have all become immersed in during the past year; not having my laptop set up; switching off my phone and generally forgetting the outside world exists for an hour and a half.

After a long few days of sitting at my laptop, my first in-person class for five months was just what I needed. And I don’t think I really realised how tense and tired I’d become over the past few weeks until I rolled out my mat. Yes, I’d been attempting a daily (if only for ten minutes) home practice, showing up to the weekly Zoom classes and trying to get out for walks and bike rides when I had the time. But my head had been constantly immersed in the digital world. Even whilst supposedly ‘switching off’. With 24/7 access to email, work, phones and social media I would finish my Zoom yoga and check what work I needed to complete the following day. I’d come home from a bike ride and scroll through WhatsApp. I’d go for a walk and make a phone call. I was constantly ‘switched on’.

Working from home has not always been a blessing either. With less than ideal desk environments and the ever-increasing busy-ness, I know many, like me, have found themselves barely moving throughout the day. And the multi-tasking has cranked up a few hundred notches; putting a load of washing in whilst taking an urgent manager call anyone?

My first class back in the studio has been more than a welcome relief of some kind of ‘normal’. It’s made me seriously consider how much time I spend in the digital world. And how much time I spend thinking about other things whilst trying to relax or exercise.

Post class, feeling a little less frazzled, I realised that an hour spent in the studio is probably the equivalent of five at home for me! Seeing my yogi friends in person and feeling part of that community again is priceless. Making the effort to travel there and carving out a time and tranquil place for my yoga practice is exactly what I need right now. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s lovely to be supporting my local yoga studio and teachers who’ve worked so hard to make the classes accessible to everyone throughout lockdown and beyond.

So, whether you’re an eager get-back-to-class yogi or still enjoying your practice from the comfort of your own home, let’s all try and be a bit more mindful and a little less digital. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours each week.