‘Internal training’: Yoga instructor leads online classes and offers tips for maintaining life balance

Local yoga instructor Lena Armstrong-Strober suggests using breathing and yoga exercises, as well as maintaining a routine, to combat depression and stress at home. (Courtesy of Lena Armstrong-Strober)

Getting in touch with your body, mind, and spirit is an important way to stay healthy during a troubling time.

Like many other New Mexicans, yoga instructor Lena Armstrong-Strober is unemployed. The studio where she teaches has closed in accordance with state COVID-19 regulations. She started offering her classes online so people could stay mentally, physically and emotionally healthy while stuck at home. She will offer yoga classes and meditations on her website based on a donation to LenaArmstrong.com. Her colleagues at Bhava Yoga Studio are also offering virtual classes through bhavayogastudio.com.

“It’s called intuitive kundalini yoga,” Armstrong-Strober said. “I did this for my Facebook Live post. Kundalini is really great at redistributing energy throughout the body, and it uses breath work, meditation, mantra, postures and movements rhythmic movements and rhythmic movements are really great for relaxation. Kundalini yoga works on the nervous system. It works everywhere internally. It will give you a physical workout, but it will also give you an internal workout”

Intuitive kundalini yoga is a comprehensive practice that features specific sets for the heart, peace of mind, and stress, as well as sets for eliminating anger and sadness, Armstrong-Strober said. Another practice Armstrong-Strober specializes in is traditional hatha yoga, with positions many are familiar with, such as downward dog, warrior one, warrior two, and triangle pose. Armstrong-Strober suggests people find a gentle yoga practice to de-stress and relax during this uncertain time.

Another approach to slowing the heart rate and calming the senses is through meditation and breathing exercises.

“The left side of the body is our female side of our body, and our right side is the male side of our body, and it has nothing to do with gender; it’s just an energetic balance that we have between the two,” Armstrong-Strober said. “…If you had just come in to breathe through the left nostril, you would take your left thumb and close the right nostril and simply inhale and exhale through the left nostril. I would suggest sitting in a comfortable seated position with your spine straight so you have optimal breathing. And then it’s also important to think about the inhale, you want the body to expand on the inhale so that the belly expands with the inhale, and with the exhale the belly goes back into the spine. So if you focused on your navel when you inhale, the navel would pull away from the spine, and on the exhale, the navel would come back towards the spine. This will slow the heart rate. The thing is, the mind is always in motion and always in motion, even the subconscious mind, so when you focus on your breath, it gives you the opportunity for the subconscious points to take their course through the mind. and then to be released, so it’s physically calming and also mentally calming.

Keep breathing exercises short at first and keep track of time, she said.

“Make specific times so you can keep track of where you are,” suggests Armstrong-Strober. “It would be easy to start with 10 minutes right away, but in a beginner practice, especially with practice alone, start at three minutes and set a timer so that when you’re done with the three minutes, mentally scan the body, mentally scan the mind to see if there has been a change.

Creating a schedule for yourself is another way to stay sane.

“Now is not necessarily the time to radically reinvent yourself or embark on a new career,” Armstrong-Stober said. “But create and maintain a healthy routine for your days, like getting dressed, bathing, making your bed, keeping your house tidy, eating healthy, exercising, reading, and (doing) whatever chores you wanted to do. . Maintain some sort of consistency for yourself. It may seem trivial or obvious, but isolation can cause depression, and routine is one way to beat depression.