Since the end of March, Marcia Pringle has got on her yoga mat, logged on to Zoom and streamed classes for free.
Her plan: to give people a tool to help them through the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I’ve realised that any kind of movement or breathing exercises really helps with crisis management,” Ms Pringle said.
The human resources director, who teaches Pilates and Strala yoga through her company, FusionWorks with Marcia, added: “I used to work at the hospital and used it to deal with crisis incidents at times, but I realised my yoga experience also helped people when they shared anything that was happening with them on a personal level.
“I think it’s important to get people to connect to [their breathing]. Many times, when you are feeling anxious or angry, you don’t realise it but you’ve already restricted your breath. And so it’s really important to connect because it helps you to calm yourself a little — at least initially.”
From March 19 to 31, she offered free classes to existing clients while she tested the capabilities of WhatsApp and Zoom.
Once she was comfortable using the technology to teach, she started thinking about how she could do more. On March 24, she offered her first free class to the wider community, advertising on social media.
Called Moving Meditation, the 30-minute session has run every Tuesday since.
Ms Pringle describes it as a “very, very gentle” routine designed to help people to release stress from their neck and “to get out of their mind just for a few moments”.
Three additional free classes are held on a Friday evening, usually the last Friday of each month; she decided the one on Bermuda Day will be set to reggae.
Ms Pringle came up with the idea shortly after she qualified as a yoga instructor four years ago.
“I really wanted to do something that I felt was Bermudian,” she said.
“I thought that I might be able to reach more people and I want people to at least try yoga, to just be on the mat. My very first class had 40 people that came and participated. It was kind of mind-blowing.”
The songs are all relatively easy listening; her playlist includes instrumental music and hits made popular by UB40 and Bob Marley.
“Strala yoga is about getting you out of your mind and into your body and I find that music allows that for people — you put music on and it takes you back to a certain time. The majority of my classes have music people wouldn’t know. It’s nice, calming, gentle in the background.”
Ms Pringle also offers a fee-based class she created to “help couples through the shelter-in-place”. The idea is to help people “carve some time out for togetherness and escape the current reality to cherish the moments again”.
She believes the techniques can help and regularly draws on them in her own life.
Although she is “usually calm”, the first order to shelter in place brought some anxiety when she discovered her grocery order would not be delivered before it went into effect.
“I actually started to panic. I did not want to go into the grocery store, but there was no way I could last for two weeks. So I went in line.”
Although she tried to calm herself through controlled breathing, she could not stop shaking and soon realised she was in “high-anxiety mode”.
“It was my first time being out. I was in this long line, seeing people with gloves and masks. Some people were very, very good at keeping their social-distancing and others were very clueless about it. I was so up in my head; I couldn’t connect to my breath.”
Once in her backyard and on her mat, things fell into place.
“What I’ve been trying to say to people is, however you’re feeling or whatever triggers it, you just have to honour it. Don’t say, ‘This is crazy, this is not good’. Say, ‘I’m having a moment. What do I need to do to help me get through it?’
“It might sound silly and simple, but sometimes changing [your words] helps you to change your perspective.”
• Contact FusionWorks with Marcia at firstname.lastname@example.org or 747-7747. Follow @FusionWorkswithMarcia on Facebook and @fusionworksmarcia on Instagram
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