by May Suri, Sophomore at Maggie Walker High School

If, two months ago, my teachers had told me that we would be out of school for the rest of the year, I would have been ecstatic. But it’s been less than two months since “coronacation” (the name all of my friends gave this extended break), and I am already starting to go stir crazy. I underestimated how difficult it would be (for even an introvert like me) to be away from friends and social interaction. This is a stressful time for all of us, and even though people in my age group aren’t affected as harshly by the virus, many of the people that we love can be impacted by it. This can cause a lot of stress, and many of my friends have turned to social media to let off steam. Although I am not against social media, I found that I have been spending too much time on it lately, and I have noticed a considerable drop in my mood if I spend 2+ hours on social media every day. We need other methods to relieve stress.

I have found that during the school year, I spend less time on my passion: yoga. I have been using this extra time to get back into yoga and volunteering/reaching out to my community. Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to film a class for PYR’s online community at Patreon, and that inspired me to start filming classes for my friends and family and uploading them onto a youtube channel. I reached out to friends through my instagram and have been doing volunteer work through facebook live for organizations such as Jacob’s Chance. What I have found through this is that people need a place to go to when they feel stressed, no matter what age. Since we are all confined to our houses, our mats can be that safe space for us. Just taking a small portion out of your day to devote to yourself can do amazing things to calm the mind and body. 

I have gotten so much positive feedback from my loved ones who have taken up yoga during self-quarantine. Reducing stress comes with so many benefits, such as a strengthened immune system. Yes, yoga can actually keep you healthier! Researchers say that stress weakens the immune system, making us more susceptible to an inflammatory response to a virus. Although yoga cannot prevent you from getting the virus, it can reduce stress which can lead to a stronger and more prepared immune system. 

Although I strongly believe in yoga and its positive effects, I realize that many people my age do not find it interesting. It is my goal to help spread yoga to people in middle and high school, as it has benefited me in so many ways. There are so many aspects of yoga, and now you can even find yoga workouts that get your heart rate up and calm the mind at the same time. I also find that showing a peak pose that people can work towards is a big motivator, and it encourages people to keep up their yoga practice until they can achieve the pose. Although yoga is not about the cool poses or the exercise, it can be a great way to get people involved or get middle and high schoolers started on their yoga journeys.

If you are in middle school or high school, I encourage you to try just one yoga class during quarantine. Even if it is just 10 or 20 minutes, try it and see if you like it! Even if you don’t, you can keep the yoga mindset by doing other relaxing activities away from your phone or a screen. I love Netflix, but looking at a computer all day gives me a headache! I’m not here to tell you to read a book, but do something that you love and that relaxes you every day. Play music, go on a run, cook… you can do all those activities in a yoga mindset. Be present, think about the thing in front of you, each action, each movement. We are living through a crazy time right now, but take this opportunity to look for the simple pleasures in everyday life. We all deserve peace and happiness.

I hope this post gave you some encouragement and light during this confusing time. Please reach out to me for anything, even if we have never met! I am here to support you and this wonderful community!

Sending love and light,

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