Nurturing our Karma: NanoGrans do yoga over video with Dilini
Updated: Jun 8
We take a certain amount of pride in still being active - even when Judy rides her bike with adult training wheels. However, staying close to home the past few months means many of us are not moving as much as we used to, which may not have been enough to begin with! So when Jen suggested we all do a yoga session with her friend Dilini we were ready and hesitantly excited to use technology to open our minds and bodies. While the days when we worried about looking foolish are long past, we were curious about how doing yoga simultaneously through our laptops and tablets would work out.
We were somewhat reassured when we realized that we had done similar exercises/relaxation in fitness classes over the years; Tanis did yoga years ago and Judy participated in Gentle Fit. We were even more encouraged with the excellent and friendly emails Dilini sent that helped us prepare - the physical set up, the appropriate kind of clothing, recommending use of pillows for our heads and general support, as well as the consent forms. She asked for any physical limitations so the session would be appropriate to our mobility. Setting up the site (a mat, a chair, and about 2 by 2.5 metres of floor) helped orient us and dressing for the occasion helped Tanis focus.
The hour-long yoga session was done over zoom with all four of us doing movements (more or less!) together. Dilini started with chair exercises, then moved us to our mats/floor for the remainder of the exercises and for the guided meditation at the end. The actual session was enjoyable, pushed us just a little bit, and ultimately was both stimulating and relaxing, AND we both believe it helped us have a good night’s sleep. As semi-dedicated couch potatoes who don’t like to be too sweaty we were happy that this class was similar to participating in the cool down of earlier fitness regimes. Judy had already played some iffy doubles tennis earlier in the day so the induced relaxation was perfect.
Now we are considering what other physical activities, like Tai Chi or Gentle Fit, we might join online. Because it is virtual, it means that friends can do this together and distance is not a problem. Once again, COVID-19’s forced isolation may be a positive game changer. Too bad aqua fit is not an option for any of us at the moment!
In addition to the exercising, we enjoyed the social aspect of the session. The opportunity to meet either individually or in an intimate group is more possible in a virtual class, which can allow for a wide ranging personal discussion that would not be possible in a class of 20.
A couple of difficulties we used tablets, so Dilini was hard to follow on the tiny screen and because Tanis’ head was at the far end of the mat from her computer, during the meditation at the end of the session, she could not hear much of what Dilini was saying. These are solvable problems! Using our TV as Big Monitor (see last week's post) would have helped with both. In future we would use the “speaker view” video conferencing option so that the teacher is full screen most of the time. We considered earphones but suspect that for yoga they might be uncomfortable or impractical. Dilini offered to put everyone on mute except herself, which we declined. It worked for four people, but in retrospect we think it is a good idea as this keeps extraneous sounds from intruding.
Being able to do the session at home (i.e. cutting out all the complications of going to and from another location) was a big plus. Judy would certainly try Yoga again, but her biggest “take-away” was our conversation after the class when we four discussed many aspects of wellness, knowing our bodies, and some of the stressors for women.
Thank you Dilini for a stimulating and relaxing session! She said to us “Yoga is a beautiful connection with your body” and that summarizes how we felt. Jen said that she got more out of this session than some of her regular Yoga classes because it was way slower so it was much more mindful. We both liked the comfortable even pace.
In her own words: Dilini offers classes for older adults using some repetition to overcome the lack of personal interaction while using videoconferencing. You can engage in group exercises or set up your own group of family and friends! Thrive Mama’s philosophy is that we can all be stronger, feel better, and thrive. Dilini explained that core strength is not just about a flat stomach and beach bodies. It’s actually about developing balance in our core and respiratory system. Getting these muscles to work together well is what can help prevent incontinence and back pain, among other things. Dilini can help improve muscle tone by helping us understand our pain symptoms and developing personalized yoga flows and exercises to improve our core strength. To learn more please see her website: https://www.thrivemama.ca/
- IN CONCLUSION -
There are lots of ways we can engage our bodies, minds, and souls - doing a guided yoga session over video was a new and engaging way for us to do so that has encouraged us to explore how else we might use tech to support exercise and wellness. It helped stretch and calm our bodies and minds, which is especially welcome with all that is happening in the world right now. With everything from free online videos to one-on-one guided sessions with certified instructors for virtually (pun intended!) any kind of exercise, there’s no excuse not to unleash your inner athlete....Headband, anyone?
Take care of yourself and talk to with you next week - Namaste!
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PS Graduate students mentored by one of Jen's colleagues at the University of Toronto are conducting a survey that explores the perspectives of senior citizens on using technology to assess social isolation. Study findings may be used to guide the development of new technologies to detect and address social isolation and its negative social and health outcomes. Click here to learn more and to participate in the survey.