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Stretch Goals: Limerick yoga expert discusses technique and running a studio during Covid

When we talk about the coronavirus, we often don’t appreciate the full magnitude of its impact.

Many small privileges and freedoms that we took for granted— going to work, meeting people, or even popping down to the shops – have suddenly been taken away and replaced by a new, uncertain normal.

For many, life feels a little out of control right now. However, one thing we can control is how we choose to spend this time.

Yoga and deep breathing is scientifically proven to reduce stress, increase flexibility, improve balance and fitness, while slowing your heart rate and blood pressure- and if all that is not convincing enough, it can also help your sleep cycle.

Sleep deprivation is on the rise and it has a serious effect on your mood, weight and mental well-being.

It’s no surprise that we are all more anxious, stressed and overwhelmed than ever before so a regular self-care routine has never been so important.

One person who doesn’t need convincing about the benefits of exercise is Noreen Sheedy, a Limerick-based yoga and meditation instructor who runs her own business, Sunrise Yoga.

At a stretch: Sheedy’s studio in Kilmallock

“Yoga is one of the few physical activities that requires your brain as well as your body,” stated Sheedy.

“The physical poses of yoga; the asanas and the breathing exercises; pranayamas all reduce stress and anxiety dramatically”

“Yoga moves you from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system. This basically means you move out of ‘fight or flight’ mode and into a more relaxed state.”

Even people who are beginners or have never tried yoga at all can do a home practice — and it can be a better way to start your yoga journey than going to a studio where you are surrounded by people confidently launching into handstands.

“Starting yoga at home is very easy and requires very little equipment or expense. If you have a yoga mat, you can use this but if not, don’t worry! Just roll out a bath towel and begin.”

“There are a lot of free videos online nowadays that you can follow or you can sign up for Zoom classes with your local yoga studio.”

Online yoga classes have seen a recent resurgence as restrictions were once again placed on group exercise activities.

“For me the restrictions have been difficult, and I’ve had to close my studio, Sunrise Yoga. It’s disappointing as we had all the appropriate measures in place and were following social distancing guidelines.”

“I really feel that in these uncertain times people need tools like yoga to help their overall health and mental wellbeing,” she added.

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