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From the Heart: What did the lockdown change for you?

From grappling with zoom meetings to enduring the trials of home schooling or digging out banana bread recipes, everyone has ridden the highs and lows of lockdown in their own way. Isolated from the world at Six Senses Zighy Bay, Wellness Director Andy Barge and Sustainability Manager Simone Troxler worked towards a joint goal to savor a moment of connection as part of a daily yoga practice. Here’s an overview of what they did and how they got on.

Why yoga?

Andy Barge: With the lockdown going on, I wanted to have to a goal to work towards that was a challenge and could be recorded each day. Although I have always enjoyed doing yoga, I have never done it consistently enough to get the full rewards from it, so I thought it was the perfect time to set myself a challenge and try it out.

Simone Troxler: I wanted to do some exercise in the morning and when Andy announced the challenge that was the perfect opportunity for me to get back into yoga. In addition to that, it is good to have a healthy routine, especially now that the hotel is closed.

What did it entail?

ST: Andy organized a “30 for 30” yoga challenge with 30 online lessons in 30 days by a yoga company called the InnerDimension. It was a mix between power yoga and other styles of yoga, Pranayama and meditation.

AB: I signed up for an online yoga course by Travis Eliot, whose lessons I have always enjoyed on YouTube. There is a 30-day yoga journey as part of the subscription service, and each day is something different: Chi Flow, Arm balances, Yin yoga, power yoga etc. It gives you a whole range of yoga experiences to restore end energize.

Who did you do it with?

ST: While we had a couple of participants in the beginning, after the forth day Andy and I were doing it alone together until the end of the 30 days. It was very motivating to have an active person like Andy doing this with me and it became our morning routine, which was good and healthy.

AB: I invited Simone Troxler as I knew she loves yoga (she has done the full yoga training course) and she said straight away she wanted to do it too. I knew having a partner increases accountability and if there was a day I didn’t feel like going I knew that Simone (who is very punctual) would be there so it would force me to go!

What was it like?

AB: Initially it was physically challenging, especially as I go to the gym before doing the yoga session so I am already a little fatigued. In fact, after day three, we were “sweating buckets” on the floor as it was hot in the room and we were a little rusty in our Vinyasas. However, day four was a restorative session and day five a meditation, which was much needed to recover our faculties. After this point I really got into the flows and feeling I was getting better and smoother in the postures which is really a wonderful sensation. It’s nice seeing your flexibility increase and postures get “solid”.

ST: While I was practicing a lot of yoga a few years ago, I have been very busy with my career in the past few years and I lost my routine a bit. In the beginning, the classes were quite challenging physically, but after a while I got back into it. I enjoyed the additional add-on sequences with 10 minutes of extra core training, Pranayama or meditation which reminded me a bit about the eight limbs of yoga, that it is not only asana. While physically the practice became better over the 30 days, it was also mentally good for me to have this routine. By starting the day with yoga, I had these 30-40 minutes to tune in with myself and to do something for me before I went to the office. The journey reminded me how beneficial yoga is for me, physically and mentally.

AB: Initially, my goal was purely from the physical perspective of yoga but I was delighted because I found myself getting seduced by the spiritual element of the practice. Even though I already knew the benefits of meditation and quieting the mind, I have not been a stoic practitioner and found that during my daily practice my mental energy, focus and feelings of calm were greatly heightened and I started to look forward to this as much as the physical elements. In addition, there are some supplemental practices as part of the program such as Pranayama which have transformed the way I think about my mental well-beingWhat’s more, I have started a yoga course online to learn more about this practice, and it goes deep into the overall philosophy of yoga and living a more fulfilling life.

What do you feel you learned or achieved?

ST: I learned to deal with the limitations of my body, to accept them and also to be patient. I am happy that I managed to complete the class every single day and to see and feel the progress on my body and in my mind.

AB: I learned that I really enjoy all aspects of yoga and that practicing it is about finding your limits and remembering to breathe. I like that whatever your level with a particular posture, it doesn’t really matter how good you are, it's about enjoying your body in the moment and you will find you become very mindful of the present moment and start to enjoy what your body is capable of.

Would you recommend to others (if so why, if not why not)?

AB: I would highly recommend it to others. From a physical point of view, I have had aches and niggles in my back and hip for many years which have almost gone and my joints feel wonderful. From a challenge point of view, it is a fabulous experience as anyone can do it, doesn’t matter your level, you just need to begin. Be consistent, be inspired.

ST: Yes, I would definitely recommend this course. It is a great way to stay active during this lockdown period and to have a partner or a group to do it with is even more motivating. The Inner Dimension is a very good course for yoga and the program we did covered a lot of different aspects of yoga, which was great.

Six Senses Mind Detox is

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