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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Book Recommendation: Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

 I joined up with a group of online friends to read and discuss books and the first one they picked was this. Even in my yoga readings somehow I had not yet taken on this collection of essays, thoughts, mindfulness-based aphorisms and meditations from renowned spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh (I even, humbly, googled how to properly pronounce his name and it's 'Tick Not Han'). 

I was not two pages into this and a feeling welled up inside me that was of simultaneous joy and sorrow, that feeling that you are going to cry but not of abject sadness, but overwhelming FULLness of emotion. It is as if my SOUL was just typed out on pages in front of me - that someone KNEW my feelings and was articulate, wise, deep, and profoundly perceptive enough to reach across time and space, and in better words than I could ever conjure, place them on pages for me to read back to myself. I'm not saying I'm anywhere as intuitive as this Zen master. I'm saying that my thoughts and feeling somehow are aligned and I'm prostrate before this small collection of ideas to the point where I cannot believe the I have never ventured to read his work before, and that somehow my little world, my little brain actually has similar ideas to that of such a great Zen master. 

I've just started, but here is one poem that is included, that he shared from a friend, that struck me as particularly poignant for these times, evoking a sense of hope, while still respecting the turmoil we currently are experiencing:

I have lost my smile,
but don't worry.
The dandelion has it.

You can find a copy of this amazing book in paperback for less than five dollars on Alibris or with other used book sellers. I'll be reading excerpts in online classes for the next few weeks, so consider dropping in (check the schedule and email me for the link), or just drop me an email to discuss. You can also check out if you want to join the fun book club but I can't tell you what else we'll be reading, I just know these are some of the best most heartfelt (and funniest) people I've met (online) and they led me to this amazing book. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Abilities Expo Virtual Experience November 20-21, 2020

BYOMyoga is proud to provide scheduled and on-demand yoga workshops on meditation, movement, and mindfulness, fully captioned for all abilities levels, ON DEMAND for the entire weekend of the Abilities Virtual Expo. Be sure to register for access to these programs and more, like creating sensory rooms, designing ability-supportive home spaces, mental and physical health, and fundraising.

We're Going Virtual

No need for masks or gloves, and you can connect with the disability-focused resources you need day or night in your pajamas. Take that, COVID-19! Until it's safe to meet in person again, we look forward to seeing the digital you at the Abilities Virtual Experience. Register for free today!

Find Products & Services

Visit exhibitor "booths" to learn what exciting technologies they have to offer. There will be product images, videos and special exhibitor events to engage you. Have a question? Your click is their command!

Attend Info-Packed Workshops

Our experts are almost as excited for this virtual format as we are! Access on-demand workshops on a such important disability issues as nutrition, financial planning for special needs families, affording the medical equipment you need, therapeutic cannabis, service dogs and more.

Good Times for the Whole Family

We are packing a ton of adaptive fun into your Abilities Virtual Experience! From the comfort of your living room, you can join the Rollettes dance party. You can improve strength and flexibility with adaptive yoga. How about learning a paracheer routine? Settle's going to be a blast!

Register for free today:

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Day 22 of 22: Standing Spinal Balance (Cross-Body Limb Extension)

Final day of the challenge and I tried to be creative with a unique twist on a plank hold: alternate arm and leg raises (shoulder extension rear hip extension). Often in a yoga class this movement "posture" is done on the hands and knees (table top). Whether horizontal or on an incline, the lifting of the arm, with hand in "handshake position" which creates a small external rotation to root the shoulder blade on the back, and moving the entire leg backwards and upwards against gravity uses the gluteus maximum and hamstrung muscles, with the lower back. Lifting the limbs simultaneously requires core activation to stabilize the body, and keep the arm and leg moving smoothly. Done slowly and mindfully it can even be used as a stretch for the back, the calf, the forearm, the obliques, and the neck, and more. 

I noticed in watching the video that I started to lose the straight alignment of my plank (I was slightly bent forward at the hip joint). It would behoove me to move closer to the chair, raise my hand support, and/or pull my hips slightly forward next time I practice this movement. It is important to not fling the arm and leg up and be sure to move with muscular stability rather than momentum to keep the joints, especially the lumbar vertabral joints, protected.

One set of movements consists of extending the Right Arm/Left Leg, then the Left Arm/Right Leg. I did eleven of these "sets" for twenty-two total movements.

My physical challenge commitment is complete, but I will be carrying the lessons learned, the creativity developed, and the spirit of supporting our veterans forward into our chair yoga classes. Watch videos at and you never know when you'll see us drop into another challenge and shout out to our #activeheroes. Thank you for your support!

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Day 21 of 22: Pushup with Lowered Hold

As I am coming close to the end of this internet challenge, I wanted to create a little bit more of a physical (and appropriate) challenge for myself, but still keep it in the spirit of accessible gentle yoga. I played with the idea of holding in the lowered version of the pushup on a small incline to build tricep, shoulder, back, bicep, and chest muscles strength, in addition to creating core stability awareness. 

This was more intense than the diamond pushup, but had the positive aspect of creating no pain in my shoulder. The elbows pinning in to the ribcage, like in a traditional chaturanga yoga pushup, kept my shoulders in a safe position, and with all the training we've done, I was able to hold for a few second all the way through two sets of eleven with integrity.  Kumbaya!

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Day 20 of 22: Plank-to-Lunge-Pushup

As we get closer to the end of the 22 day challenge I am starting to combine different pieces of other challenges to create new types of "pushups" and keep the challenges interesting. Today we combined the plank-to-lunge transition with the lunge-pushup from days past, to create the "Plank to Lunge Pushup."

This combination can be done completely vertically at a wall, and with very little force on the arms at all! I opted for a gentle incline using my chair that was secured not only on a yoga mat but also against a couch (pressed against a wall), so I had a strong base in which to press. This, and doing the pushup during the lunge gives more control over the amount of resistance (push back) one provides with the arms.

We start in a plank position, and step one foot forward to a lunge. A gentler option is to walk both feet forward, and slowly ease one forward and one back to a comfortable lunge-style stance. Once here, bend the front knee, and the elbows, to bring the body towards the chair/wall, providing resistance as appropriate with the arms. Return to lengthened arm position, then either step the front foot back to meet the rear, or bring both feet together and walk them both back to a comfortable distance to find a chair/wall plank. Repeat the process on the other foot. 

We did twenty two of these, which means a total of 11 sets of left/right plank-to-lunge pushups.

(Note: For those that wanted to try this from a horizontal/maximum intensity position, they might be better served doing the pushup from the plank position instead of the lunge).

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Day 19 of 22: Side Plank Leg Abduction

We worked lateral shoulder holds again on day 19, with a side plank position, and then added a layer of complexity with a lateral leg extension, a.k.a., hip abduction. In vasistasana (side plank) the yoga pose, one of the variations has the upper leg lifted, which creates a star shape with the body. There is a large emphasis on the lower leg adductors and side obliques for body stability, and all the muscles of the rotator cuff to hold the shoulder in place; then the abductors of the top leg work against gravity to raise that leg. 

In this variation we've dialed down the intensity by having our incline much closer to vertical, and not holding the leg lift for more than a brief moment. The alignment points are to keep the toe and knee of the lifting leg facing forward so the outer hip flexors are doing the lifting (not the quadriceps), and keeping the body relatively still (core control, and protection for the standing knee). The body and standing leg shouldn't twist and the movement should be slow and with muscular control. 

We did one set of eleven for each leg to finish this day's challenge! 

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Friday, October 2, 2020

Day 18 of 22: Diamond Pushups

There to be a dispute among internet sources of which muscles a diamond pushup affects more deeply (triceps, chest/pecs, back), and whether it's "better" to do it with arms tight against the sides (like the yoga chaturanga) or wide. 

If you watch this video, you can see that when I held my arms tight, I had a lot more stability, and was able to smoothly transition to the lowered position, as well as keep my shoulders in neutral position. When I tried to go wide-elbowed for the second set, I couldn't descend as far, and I will admit I was experiencing anterior shoulder impingement on my right arm that made me very unhappy post-video. That is NOT ahimsa (non-harming). 

So, that being said, for an adaptive yoga practice, trying out new forms of pushups, I would say that if someone was going to try a "pushup" with hands close together, elbows close to the side, bending back toward the ribs is a far more supportive approach to keep the entire shoulder girdle, chest, and upper back musculature in concert to support the body weight. 

For today's #22pushupchallenge for #activeheroes, we did our two sets of eleven to finish up day 18!

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Accessible Yoga for Physical Disabilities Classes on Hold until 2021

Hello friends in the Accessible & Abilities Yoga community.

Many of you expressed interest in joining our online chair yoga classes (originally on Tuesday/Thursday, changed to Monday/Friday). However, as with many things during this unusual time in our society, events and classes start and sometimes attendance dwindles; people get “Zoom fatigue,” their lives fill up with a myriad of other activities, jobs come back online, or sadly sometimes health issues take precedence.

I have offered these classes as a community service and would like to continue to do so, but I think we need a break from “another online class” for now. Many thanks to those that tested the waters; please know that I intend to start the class again in the new year. Classes will STILL be free (donations always accepted but NEVER required), but we will pre-register folks for 4 (maybe 6) weeks at a time, have just ONE class per week, for about an hour. Still accessible, still adaptive, and when there are more regular students I can more readily tailor the classes to your needs!

If you have a vested interest in the classes, please respond to this email and I will keep you on the list for January. Please know you are welcome to join my free Daily Chair Yoga classes that occur Monday through Friday at 11AM PST that are gentle (they are Silver Sneakers sanctioned) with a fitness as well as mind/body approach. Just email me and I”ll send you the link.

Just so you know, The Abilities Expo has another virtual event November 20-22 ( sign up for free), and I will be showcasing Accessible Chair yoga as an event there again. 

Wishing you well this Autumn, in the Jewish New Year, and well into 2021 friends. 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Day 17 of 22: 22-Second Chaturanga/Pushup Hold

Some days, you need to find stillness. So, today's challenge is about holding that pushup in lowered position for the duration (22 seconds). 

Many fitness classes will have "plank hold" challenges, ranging from 30 seconds to start, working up to 60 seconds, and even up to two minutes during the course of the class (personal training might include much longer holds). During my gentle yoga classes, the goal is help students set themselves up for success. So before the challenge I offered the option of holding in a fully extended plank (less intense) or joining me in the lowered (bent arm) version. This challenge can also be taken at less steep (or more) angle, or even weightless. 

I set the timer for 30 seconds, set up for the pose, and at 22 seconds, began. A nice long slow inhale and exhale breath cycle carried me through, and hopefully shows that a pushup challenge doesn't have to be physically complicated to fit the bill.

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Day 16 of 22: Standard Style Pushups

After a six day break, I was hard pressed for a creative pushup so I went back to the basics: just a regular ol' pushup, but on a gentle incline. Since practicing yoga I've been doing my pushups "chaturanga style," meaning the elbows bend back towards the ribcage and I only descend to a 90 degree bend. So this particular change created a challenge for me even though many might say it was "just" a basic pushup. 

If anything going back to basics gave me an opportunity to refine technique even more. The position of the upper back and shoulders, the engagement of hte legs, core, and glutes all play into the support required for a strong, consistent descent and lift back out of a pushup. I don't super strong pectoral muscles so I'm counting on my whole body to support me through this series!

Two sets of eleven gets us to our goal of 22 for day 16!

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Day 15 of 22: Plank to Pike/Down Dog

Wednesday is core focus day in Gentle Yoga, and a good plank-to-downward-facing-dog-at-a-chair can help tune in to engaging the core in a supportive role for the back. It's also our way of joining the #22pushup challenge today. This particular exercise in a standard mat yoga class is a serious "core burn" and shoulder strengthener. This adaptation makes it accessible and enjoyable for those that can do some weight bearing on the arms (hands or forearms) in a standing position.

As I always say, yoga is for every body, but not every pose is for every one. So, adapt as needed. I took the forearm variation to intensify the core work, but also it gives my hands (that struggle with some arthritis/overuse issues) a much needed rest). 

This can absolutely be modified to include a step forward for a more upright plank and a step back for the down dog to make it even more gentle for the back and reduce any strain on the spine/sacrum.

An adaptation from a seated position would be to place the hands on the back of another chair or a table and slide the hands forward for the fold, and up for the plank. All these versions will activate not only the core but the latissimus dorsi (the muscles that bring the arms close to the body) and the core. 

Once set of eleven with a few pausing breaths in down dog then a final set of eleven complete our 15th day of the challenge!

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Day 14 of 22: Tricep Push-ups

 Our focus in class this week is on the heart chakra, so instead of a forward facing push-up I thought I might try a "heart opening" style. Like traditional chaturanga this one is triceps intensive, but has the shoulders in a rear extension, which can be intense on the anterior deltoid and the pectorals if they are tight. It's also a bit of a internal shoulder rotation. so those with any impingement or pain when holding the arms down at the side and rotation the thumbs inward might want to do this either non-weight bearing or try an overhead press instead.

I used a chair for a horizontal "grip" but a wall could suffice as well. A lower support surface that takes the body lower will of course create more intensity. As this is gentle adaptive yoga, we keep it simple: gentle bend in knees, more upright posture, hands pretty close to the body, and the "dips" are not extreme.

Two sets of eleven for the challenge, with forward bends to stretch out the lats, teres major, triceps, and serratus among other muscles. Enjoy!

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Monday, September 14, 2020

Day 12 of 22: Mountain Climbers + Push-up

Day 12 combined two different previous challenges into one: we do a mountain climber knee lift across the body (elbow-to-knee even though I say knee to chair erroneously in the video), and follow that with a chaturanga (half-pushup). 

To warm up the hips with lunges and standing one leg lifts. I didn't want to tire us out, but I wanted to make sure we had our hip flexors ready to tackle the challenge without overdoing it. Two sets of eleven make it even more accessible. Participation options as always include staying vertical, lifting the leg to the toe instead of full knee up, skipping the push-up, or any variation that works for your body in the spirit of the challenge. I chose to exhale when I lifted my knee and when I did the half push-up, which meant I was taking shorter length breaths for this sequence as opposed to the long inhales and exhales we usually do in our yoga classes. But as this particular flow was more vigorous, it seems appropriate. 

Alignment with the arms, shoulders, hips, and knees as always is important, to build on the lessons of previous days. Thanks for watching!

 To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Day 13 of 22: Push-ups with Scapular Extensions

Another day, another blended push-up challenge. This time we take our standard chair push-up and add that shoulder/scapula protraction that we did on challenge day seven, which turns this into a really great upper body strengthener, and yet is still gentle enough for everyone to try. The least intense way would be non-weight bearing at all, taking the arms through the range of motion, then doming the upper back (like in Cat Pose but not tucking the pelvis) to achieve activation in the serraturs anterior. 

Practicing this on an incline does activate the arm muscles and chest muscles quite a bit more, and calls the core and legs more into action. Of course, the most intense version would be horizontal on the ground (or perhaps upside down ha ha), but that's out of the scope of this class.

Hopefully you can see the extension of the upper back when I press up from the push-up; it's really a nice stretch for those muscles under the shoulder blades and your feel pretty strong in the trapezius and other supporting muscles. Then when you lower back into the push-up, you feel those muscles engage again. Two sets of eleven gets us to the end of challenge day 13! Thanks for joining!

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Day 10 of 22: One Armed Push-ups

If you clicked on this link thinking you were going to see some Rocky-esque power workout, you might be slightly disappointed. These one-armers are far from the latissimus dorsi and forearm bulgers that you get in a prize-fight training regimen.

Today's challenge was a side-plank inspired "push-up" dialed back to be appropriate for gentle yoga. By putting weight on your shoulders at the side angle however, you work the infraspinatus and teres minor (posterior shoulder) muscles, which externally rotate the upper arm bones, and draw the heads of the shoulders away from the chest. These muscles are often underutilized and you may find these to be far more vigorous than at first glance!

We aren't just holding the side plank like one might do in a mat yoga class, we are creating a change in muscular control by bending at the elbow, so it's even more important that we don't overestimate the incline of the body that is appropriate. 

You can have your hand on the chair (a lower position and more stable) or against a wall; if at the wall, it is best to have it at shoulder height. For best results I'd say the elbow doesn't bend more than halfway, and it's a slow and deliberate descent and press back to straight arm. 

The glenoid (socket) is shallow, and with the humerus (upper arm bone) at this sideways position, the joint is vulnerable and needs a lot of muscular and connective tissue support. We are doing eleven repetitions to build strength, so go slowly, be patient, and take breaks. 


To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Day 11 of 22: Plank Shoulder Taps

From the deltoid/shoulder challenge of day 10, we switch to the chest/core/forearm firmer of day 11! Today's challenge is holding a plank through 22 cross-body shoulder taps. The key is stabilizing the legs and the core and trying to keep the body still while lifting one hand off the "floor" to tap the opposite shoulder. As the body weight shifts, different muscles activate through stimulation of proprioception (the body figuring out it's position in space) and the vestibulation system (balance). 

A safety/gentle yoga concern as always is keeping the wrists protected by engaging the hand muscles. Lessen the intensity on the hands/arms by decreasing the incline. Twenty-two in sequence, with a nice arms stretch afterwards finish up day 11 for us!

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Day 8 of 22: Tree Pose Push-ups

Thursdays in class I choose to focus on the lower body, which can include everything from the low back to the hips, lower abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and down to the feet. Tree pose can be challenging for balance in and of itself, but by laying it with the pushup challenge, we create leg strengthener, on top of the upper body focus of the pushup.

Of course, this being adaptive yoga, tree pose can be done with both feet on the ground (no need to elevate the "branch" leg). Imagine the strength and balance required to accomplish a full chaturanga with the legs in tree pose in a horizontal position! My body wouldn't take to that style of pose, so this variation, which I found to be quite challenging in and of itself, to be exciting to try. 

Surprisingly, it wasn't my arms, or even my lifted leg, that fatigued, but my standing calf. Bearing that in mind, a lesser incline might allow you to keep the standing foot more on the ground than on the balls of the feet. As always, this is a practice, and experimenting and being present with how your body responds helps progress it.

Eleven Tree Pose Push-ups on one leg, then a stretch, and eleven on the other. Enjoy.

 To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Day 9 of 22: Mountain Climbers

We've been exploring variations of "push-ups" with our Gentle Yoga adaptations for the #activeheroes #22pushupchallenge, and today we tackled something else in plank territory with a core focus: Mountain Climbers. Traditionally in a fitness class you might do this exercise tucking the knees up under the body rapidly to raise the heartrate, but today we are focusing on the lift of the leg, across the body (if possible for your body) for some oblique abdominal work, while maintaining stability through the legs and chest with support in the arms. 

An even gentler version could include bending a knee instead of lift it at all; try a variation that suits you! I prefer to do the exhale on the knee lift, and the inhale as the body opens and lengthens. We did all 22 reps in a row today.

Sorry if the video and audio are slightly off; I tried to correct in the editing software but wasn't able to get it exact as the resolution of the video isn't that high. 

 To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Day 7 of 22: "Shoulder" Pushups (Scapular Retractions/Protractions)

Today's challenge took place in the park as I had to run an errand and was unable to get back to my PC in time to host class. So with the use of a new phone, the Zoom app, and cell service I was able to conduct class and record it to the cloud to get today's challenge published.

This gentle pushup variation is for the shoulders and rotator cuff, and for helping with the "winging" of the scapula (shoulder blade). It strengthens the muscles that hold the shoulder blade on the rib cage, as well as it's mobility there. Be careful to not lock out the elbows (use the muscles to keep them straight rather than rigid). Also, there isn't so much of a flexing of the spine like a cat/cow motion as there is a movement of the chest forward and back between the arm bones.

If the movement seems awkward, practice without the hands on a surface first, as if you are pushing a wall away. Notice if there is any pain or discomfort in the range of motion. Then try vertical, and work up to an incline, or even horizontal. 

It's also important to not crane the head forward nor drop the chin; the head should stay in line with the rest of the neck and spine to avoid creating uneven weight in the cervical spine. 

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Day 6 of 22: Overhead Press Pushups (non--weight-bearing)

Today's challenge is another "weightless" variation that focuses on tricep flexion and extension, shoulder extension, and range of motion. Often you'll see this move done in a fitness class with weights in one or both hands (in Silver Sneakers, weight would only be in one hand). The extra effort comes from raising the arm to a straight position against the force of gravity vertically.

Technically, of course, this isn't a pushup, but we are being creative in the vein of adaptive/accessible yoga, and still keeping the spirit of the upper body work, reinforcing good posture, and of course, the heart intention of giving our time for the cause of raising awareness and money for Veterans' support.

If this particular option doesn't work for you with arms overhead, the Day 5 version is a good substitute. Otherwise, the arms go overhead, wrists gentle flexed, The elbows will bend to 90 degrees keeping the elbows over the shoulders (or more gentle, at a 30 degree forward incline from the shoulders), then restraighten as if pushing the body back into an elevated position. 

I made a joke during class that this was like a handstand pushup, so use your imagination to help you keep good form, good posture, and grounding for alignment. 

Because the arms are overhead and blood flow gets restricted, I broke this one into two sets of 11. Enjoy!

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Day 5 of 22: Weightless Accessible Push-ups

 Today's challenge is the gentlest one yet, with zero weight-bearing, and can be done sitting, standing, or even lying down on the back. The one precaution would be to ensure not to hyperextend the wrists "back'" without a surface on which to grip, the extension (backwards flexion to 90 degrees) could create uncomfortable force on the joint, and there is no need. The focus is on the engagement of the triceps, biceps, upper back, chest, neck, and core. 

Sitting or standing, with good upright postures, extend the arms wrists to elbow height. On the exhale, draw the elbow back toward the ribs, keeping them close, as if , as in previous challenges, doing a "chaturanga push-up." Whether standing or sitting, engage the abdominal muscles to pull back and support the torso, and even the inner thigh muscles up to the pelvic floor (without actually moving the legs. Press the feet into the floor to stay grounded.

Re-extend the arms, and repeat. You either inhale with the extension and exhale with the elbow bending, or take extra time and exhale on both the arms straightening with effort as well as the flexion as if you were pushing body away from a supporting surface. The point is to engage the muscles by wrapping them to the bones but not stress the joints with weight bearing or over tightening, so be aware of the effort you are expensing. Allow the movement to flow.

Two sets of 11, or one full set of 22, and this challenge is complete! 

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Friday, August 28, 2020

Day 4 of 22: Standing "Sundog" One-Legged Push-ups

Today's push-up challenge works the balance a bit more than the upper arms, but you can vary the degree of resistance by controlling rate of descent with your core and engaging the arm muscles as you need. For more intensity, stand further away from the support (a wall is a more difficult option because of the forward bending today), for less, stand closer. 

It's important to remember to bend at the hip joints, not at the back. When we warmed up in class, we practiced some functional forward folding to get ready for this. Note how I'm pivoting at the hip joint, and having my hip flexors do the work of both stabilizing me and supporting the forward bending. The glutes and hamstrings are doing some decent amount of control as well.

I like the lifted leg to be straight, with the heel extended to encourage a long line and balanced effort as the upper body comes down. The energy of the lift of the back leg supports the low back (keeps glutes and hamstrings engaged) and reminds me to not sag in the upper back.

There's no need to drop the chest all the way the to chair; go slow and steady to feel the effort in the arms and notice the weight distribution as you become a bit of a human see-saw!

Eleven on one side, then switch legs and do another eleven, with a wrist stretch after!

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Day 3 of 22: Supported Standing Inclined One-Legged Push-ups

Today we do a #Silversneakers sanctioned one-legged push-up. The lifted leg is either bent (knees aligned) or straight, with the inner thigh, glute, and hamstring engaged to keep that leg strongly in position. Hips, shoulders, and ankles stay in alignment with a hugging in of the inner thigh muscles and abs just as if you were doing a standard horizontal push-up. The upper back/shoulder girdle is engaged so that the space between the shoulder blades doesn't "sag;" this way we are protecting the rotator cuff, the neck, and using the strength of the rhomboids, trapezius, serratus, and subscapularis muscles appropriately to support our bodies.

The hands again are on a wall or chair, and elbows will bend to a halfway point, hugged in toward the ribs like a "chaturanga" pushup to activate the triceps on the upper arm. Finger pads grip the surface to activate the hand muscles and connect the kinetic chain of muscles all the way up the arm. Shoulder are down from the ears, and shoulders are aligned with the hips and back heel in a "straight" line (angle). 

We take a little break after our first set of eleven, switch legs, then complete our second set on the other leg. We finish our challenge with a nice chair downward dog to stretch.

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Day 2 of 22: Lunging Incline Push-ups

For this challenge, we take a lunge position, front knee over ankle, back heel lifted. Hands are on a chair or a wall, and elbows will bend to a halfway point, hugged in toward the ribs like a "chaturanga" pushup to activate the triceps on the upper arm. Finger pads grip the surface to activate the hand muscles and connect the kinetic chain of muscles all the way up the arm. Shoulder are down from the ears, and shoulders are aligned with the hips and back heel in a "straight" line (angle). 

The bending of the knee releases the body toward the chair and the arms and the leg resist the body weight. The benefit here is that the legs are also supporting the body weight more than a pushup with two straight legs, offering quite a bit more support for an accessible pushup. 

We switch forward legs after one set of eleven, to finish our challenge. 

To donate to my challenge, click here:

To start your own challenge, click here:

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Day 1 of 22 - #22Pushups #ActiveHeroes Support Veterans

I was challenged by the dazzling Melissa Booker ( to take on the 22-pushup challenge to raise awareness and money for programs that help thousands of veterans. Read more about the challenge here:  and BY ALL MEANS contribute to my fundraising efforts here:

I will taking on this challenge with an accessible yoga spin, meaning the variety of pushup in which you'll see me partake will be designed for accessibility, adapted for differently abled bodies, and overall, gentle but effective in terms of alignment and functional movement.

Day 1: Gentle incline pushups using a chair (or wall), broken into two sets of eleven:

Video recorded August 25, 2020. More to come!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Guest Article: How to Sleep Your Way to Better Mental Wellness

submitted by Cheryl Conklin of Wellness Central

Poor quality sleep results in a whole host of negative mental effects, from daytime stress and mental fatigue to disorders like anxiety and depression. If you want to boost your mental well-being, improving your sleep should be your number one priority! Sleeping better will help you feel energized, emotionally stable, and cognitively sharp all day long. Consider making some of the following changes to your lifestyle habits and daily routine to get more high-quality sleep every night.

Optimize Your Bedroom

Your bedroom environment can make or break your sleep. Make some adjustments to transform your sleeping space into a relaxing sanctuary!

Cut the clutter. You’ll find it much easier to relax without piles of stuff around you.

Find ways to keep your bedroom cool, even if you don’t have an air conditioner.

Make your bedroom darker with blackout shades — or wear an eye mask!

Consider incorporating stress reducers into other rooms in your home as well.

Adopt a Bedtime Routine

A bedtime routine can help you close out the day and make sleep come a little more easily.

Turn to BYOM Yoga videos for a relaxing practice before bed.

Listen to music that can help you relax or accompany your meditation.

Take a warm bath before bed to encourage your core body temperature to drop.

Instead of scrolling on your phone before bed, pick up a good book!

Try Natural Sleep Aids

Certain natural supplements, teas, and essential oils can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy better quality sleep during the night.

CBD oil has been found to relieve insomnia and promote more ⦁ restful sleep. 

Melatonin supplements may help you cope with occasional insomnia.

The scent of lavender has been shown to promote relaxation.

Sipping passionflower tea before bed may help induce sleepiness.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

From exercising to avoiding junk food, boosting overall health can enhance your sleep quality.

Learn healthy habits for better sleep hygiene.

Remember that some exercise is better than no exercise at all!

Understand how a healthy diet can help you wake up feeling more refreshed.

Before bed, avoid sleep-disturbing food and drink like alcohol, spicy foods, and fatty snacks.

Your ticket to better mental well-being may be as simple as improving your sleep! Of course, this is often easier said than done. If you have trouble falling asleep at night—or you have a habit of staying up too late—start making some simple lifestyle changes to improve your sleep habits today! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

I'm Coming Back to the YMCA

Starting Tuesday August 25 I'll be venturing back to the Copley-Price YMCA in San Diego for in-person Vinyasa Yoga classes from 9-9:55AM weekly. Classes will be held outside, and each student has to go through a quick evaluation for a temperature check and a few basic questions ("Have you recently had a fever?" "Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?" for example) before being allowed (or not) to attend class. Every student must bring their own yoga equipment (mat, blocks, straps, towels), and there will be demarcations on the ground for mat placement to ensure proper social distancing. 

In all likelihood if I am going to walk around the class for instructions, I will be wearing a mask. Anyone walking through the building also must be wearing a face covering as well.

I highly recommend bringing good hydration as late August/early September here in San Diego is our hottest time of year. I hope that our place on the YMCA campus will have adequate shade, and that our meeting time offers us some cool morning breezes versus the heat of the day later on. 

My previous Sunday "Vinyasa" classes were less traditional flow yoga and more an exploration of yoga movement and philosophy, sometimes set to music. We didn't do a continuous flow as one might expect, but often repeated some sequences at different paces, and held postures to examine how we might change our energy and balance with our breath. 

This will not be a "power" class; it will be accessible for even beginners. But, as a mat yoga class, it will require being on the "floor" and being comfortable getting up and down from floor level and/or on the knees (no chairs are provided). I apologize for being limited this way, but for now, this is what is being provided due to COVID-19 restrictions.

For those that are unable to attend this class, or this class does not meet your yoga needs, PLEASE consider attending one of my free online classes: Chair Yoga Monday through Friday at 11am PST; Accessible Yoga for Physical Disabilities Mondays and Thursdays at 10am PST; Accessible Yoga for Special Needs Mondays and Fridays at 1pm PST; and Kids Yoga Wednesdays at 10am PST. Email me at for a waiver and the ZOOM link.

You can also see prerecorded videos at (just click the link up top),

Stay well, friends. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

211 Local and National Community Services

National: 211 is a vital service that connects millions of people to help every year. To get expert, caring help, simply call 211 today or search for your local 211 at

Local: In San Diego, 211 is a local non-profit operating 24 hours a day, 365 days each year. 211 San Diego is the region’s trusted source for access to community, health, social, and disaster services. By simply dialing 211 the call is free, confidential and available in more than 200 languages. 211 provides access to 6,000+ services, resources and programs through our online database.

Find special programs, services, and additional information about community services:

Health & Wellness
  • Physical Activity & Nutrition
  • Mental Health Services
  • Health Navigation
  • Breast Health
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Cool Zones
  • Flu
Disaster Support Services
  • Access & Functional Needs Services
  • Disaster Volunteer Opportunities
Licensed Board and Care

Enrollment Services

  • CalFresh
  • Covered CA
  • CARE
Military & Veteran Services

Regional Services
  • North County Resource Guide
  • Imperial County
Regional Referral Pathway Tools
  • Central Region Pathway
  • East Region Pathway
  • North Central Region Pathway
  • North County Region Pathway
  • South Region Pathway
  • Basic Needs
  • Utility Assistance
  • Housing & Homelessness Services
  • Food Assistance
  • Financial Assistance & Tax Information
  • Senior Transportation
Highlighted Resources
  • Help End Homelessness
  • Post Incarceration
  • Older Adult Resources
  • Holiday Assistance
  • Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Other Kinship Caregivers
  • LGBTQ Resource Page
  • Reporting Graffiti

Monday, June 29, 2020

Being OK with not being OK

This meditation/video short clip was taken from a longer yoga class, but I thought there was some interesting content that deserved its own post. I was having a really rough go of it, and thought I would share my discomfort in the context of a yoga practice. We often talk how in our training we try to ground ourselves and bring in light, but what if you just feel not so full of light? Sometimes you feel downright cruddy.

I'ts at In those times, that stepping on to your mat (or sitting down on your cushion) to take a pause, I think, is even more important in order to deescalate your own response to crappy situation. It can stop you from causing more harm (to yourself, or someone else) in the spirit of Ahimsa, it can give you a moment to detach from the issue, and to study the feelings you are having for future reference. This self-study, called Svadhyaya, requires us to observe our emotions, and sit with even the ones that make us uncomfortable.

Without this introspection, without the ability to take that pause, we at the mercy of whimsy and unbridled emotion: mindlessness. What is a yoga practice if not training oneself to be more mindful?

Your comments welcome, as always. Thanks for tuning in.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Yoga for Mental Health

Cindy Beers and the Mental Health Toolbox

 I've written a bit about having a healthy mindset during not just these trying times, but I wanted to share with you an amazing course from a fellow yogi with training in anxiety, depression, and PTSD. She's offering this "Mental Health Toolbox" as an online course, normally priced $300, but now just for $25, with unlimited access so you can look up the information and recharges yourself any time you need it. Here's what it covers:
Cindy Beers

• Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT/Tapping) – EFT is using acupuncture points with your fingers to help relax the central nervous system 

• Meditation –mantra-based meditation helps the mind from racing, keeps one present, and calms the central nervous system 

Red Head Yoga: Mechanicsburg, PA
• Pranayama (breath) – there are three different breathing techniques to help simply relax the sympathetic nervous system 

• Chakras – understand what chakras are and how they can be used to identify issues within the body 

• Affirmations – using affirmations to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts 

• Body Positivity – and how you view your own body 

• Self-Compassion – how to have it and how to keep it

Click here to learn more and sign up for this amazing workshop.

Cindy also has a number of live online classes you can join as well as online meditations and pre-recorded videos to tune up your practice

Diane Ambrosini talks about the "Now Normal"

Diane is a mentor of mine, a master instructor from my yoga school, and a friend. She sends out a newsletter for her yoga teaching practice and today's had some particularly poignant words that I'd like to share:
Not long after we received notice by the State to make mandatory changes to our daily lives due to Covid-19, I noticed a surge of people asking, "when will our lives go 'back to normal'?" Sheltering at home, limiting outings and wearing protective masks, to name a few, were/are so foreign to us as creatures of habit. Wishing for "normalcy" seems a pretty natural response considering the disruption of our routines, coupled with the fear of this new, invading organism. 

But - what exactly IS normal? Pandemic or no pandemic, every day we've been alive has been different from the one we lived the day before, and will live tomorrow. Sure, the structure of our daily patterns may have felt the same, but each and every day has been different in some way. Yet, here we are now, living in a time that is FAR different than what we expected, and were living at the beginning of this year. The topsy-turvy nature of our recent reality brings a great deal of uncertainty, as our human brains try to make sense out of what's happening and what might happen next.  
In "normal" times and in stressful times, yoga and meditation teach us the importance of presence, and of being as fully aware as possible in the here-and-now. Through mindfulness exercises, we practice acceptance of "what is" at any given moment. These important practices are a training ground of sorts, where we develop the ability to increase our capacity to handle the stresses and strains of living a human existence. Through our yoga, we learn to embrace the full spectrum of life as we live it. We find ways to create a space for ourselves (and others) to process the emotions and energies that surface in times of discomfort. We then can recognize that we have the ability to receive life as it comes to us, and accept that "now" as normal, even as it changes in the next breath. 
You can find Diane teaching streaming classes through A Gentle Way Joyful movement center, or reach out to her directly to arrange access and payment for the classes. The schedule is listed here:

She also does an fun "Wine Down Wednesday" activity that pre-Shelter-in-Place was at a local winery. Now you can enjoy a full yoga practice and your favorite beverage without having to worry about calling an Uber after. Next session is June 24 from 6-8pm; you can sign up here

Monday, June 15, 2020

Abilities Expo Goes Virtual! June 19-21 - Free Registration

BYOMyoga is proud to provide on-demand yoga workshops on meditation, movement, and mindfulness, fully captioned for all abilities levels, ON DEMAND for the entire weekend of the Abilities Virtual Expo. Be sure to register for access to these programs and more, like creating sensory rooms, designing ability-supportive home spaces, mental and physical health, and fundraising.

We're Going Virtual

No need for masks or gloves, and you can connect with the disability-focused resources you need day or night in your pajamas. Take that, COVID-19! Until it's safe to meet in person again, we look forward to seeing the digital you at the Abilities Virtual Experience. Register for free today!

Find Products & Services

Visit exhibitor "booths" to learn what exciting technologies they have to offer. There will be product images, videos and special exhibitor events to engage you. Have a question? Your click is their command!

Attend Info-Packed Workshops

Our experts are almost as excited for this virtual format as we are! Access on-demand workshops on a such important disability issues as nutrition, financial planning for special needs families, affording the medical equipment you need, therapeutic cannabis, service dogs and more.

Good Times for the Whole Family

We are packing a ton of adaptive fun into your Abilities Virtual Experience! From the comfort of your living room, you can join the Rollettes dance party. You can improve strength and flexibility with adaptive yoga. How about learning a paracheer routine? Settle's going to be a blast!

Register for free today:

Future on-location expos:
  • Phoenix: September 11-13, 2020
  • Toronto: October 2-4, 2020
  • Houston: October 30-November 1, 2020
  • Dallas: December 11-13, 2020
  • Los Angeles: Feb 26-28, 2021
  • New York Metro: April 30-May 2, 2021
  • Chicago: June 25-27, 2021
  • Miami: November 5–7, 2021

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Create Your Health Mentality

In a webinar (link below) on staying fit in the "COVID" era we panelists were asked for three things we could recommend people do to stay "fit." As I listened to other contributors share their ideas, I realized my yoga practice gave me a unique perspective on not only what I considered to be fitness but what the line items on the fitness to-do list would be. During class that week I spoke to those ideas (see video below).

Instead of specifics about what exercises to do, or what plans to follow, or how to set goals, I believe that the focus needs to lie in a practice of knowing where you are in your mind and body on any given day. So whether you are in the middle of a global pandemic (as we are as of May 28, 2020) trying to find new ways to exercise with gyms closed, working on bettering our own fitness level, or just starting out with any kind of movement practice, I believe applying these three concepts can help create a better "health mentality."

1. Breathe

Literally, take a breath. Feel the inhale, and feel the exhale. In yoga, the practice of breathing is called Pranayama, and it has as much importance in yoga as the poses, and as the meditation. We can go without food and water for far longer periods than we can without breath. Each inhale and exhale changes our blood pressure, our blood pH level, and stimulates different aspects of our nervous system.

If we take the time to put a pause between what we observe happening in our lives, and how we react to them, we give ourselves an opportunity to act with more forethought, more compassion, more mindfulness, and less regret. 

When we take a long exhale, we immediately destress. Our heart rate slows, tension leaves our shoulders, our bellies relax. Deeper inhales can awaken the body and refresh. Longer exhales balance the body's CO2 levels; we get a chance to exercise the lungs, the diaphragm, and the intercostal muscles between the ribs.

Breathing is fundamental. Breath is life.

2. Try

Try an activity that works for you. Yoga, walking, pilates, cycling, zumba, barre; try something. Try something new if you feel that you are in a rut. Some people crave routine, going to gym or same class ever day at the same time every week. 

As of the writing of this post, we have all been unable to continue with our regular routines. Even I was not a fan of "online yoga" classes because I did not like doing videos by myself. But with the plethora of live online classes, and needing to move, not only did I start teaching online classes but taking them as well. I also starting watching pre-recorded videos to find out which ones might be worth keeping in the tool belt for when I'm unable in the future to get to a live class.

The point is that we need to try, rather than begrudge the situation. We never know what curve life will hand you. An injury can drastically change how and what we are able to move, so being open to trying something (new) is imperative. 

Trying things that are new and struggling for mastery can be frustrating for those that like a sense of success. So I offer the idea that the trying is the success. Expectations for mastery are rooted in ego (pride). Practice is the tool by which we improve, and perfection is an illusion. 

The wonderful thing is, if frustration overwhelms the joy in the attempt, you can try something new again. If at first you don't succeed...

3. Nourish

Healthy eating is essential. A poorly nourished body cannot repair itself in times of illness, and the brain cannot function optimally. For the clearest thinking, and in order to give yourself every opportunity for success, not just in fitness, it's imperative to put in the right ingredients and to properly hydrate the body machine every day.

But this isn't just about food and water. Nourishment comes from feeding the mind and the spirit. During this time of social isolation, many dread being alone. Nourishing our need for social interaction and companionship requires creativity. Social media can be used for connecting with friends (rather than reading stressful news). Phone calls versus texts can provide much needed interaction. Online social group meetings, yoga classes, church services even proms have come into fashion to enable introverts and extroverts alike the ability to connect to people outside their own homes. It's commendable how many institutions have embraced technology to bring their communities together. 

Nourish your mind with good books, crossword puzzles, music, and dance. Nourish your skin with massage and lotion. Nourish your relationships with and exchange of loving words, or a shared activity. Nourish your spirituality with prayer and meditation. 

Try (there's that word again) something new to feed your soul!

The Practice

We are living in a time of crisis that for me (in my acknowledged privileged situation) is a first. I'm grateful I can sit here in health, with a roof over my head, and type this post. I can't ignore the impact this crisis is having on people I know, so I wrote this hoping that maybe these three tips might offer someone practical information, so they can get through another day, be there for their family and friends, stay healthy so they can go to work, or simply feel strong enought to be a supportive community member. 

Even if we weren't being bombarded by health reports and press conferences and worrisome statistics about COVID-19, daily life still has a lot of stress.  That's when it's even more important to take a deep breath, try something new, and nourish your spirit. Pause. Sit down. Take 10 slow deep breaths. Decide the next step that feels right. What will it be for you today?

Listen to the entire Becker Group C-Suite Reports Business Leadership Webinar: "Staying Physically Fit in the COVID-19 Era" (May 2020):

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

More Online Yoga Opportunities with Anne Joseph

If you are looking to supplement your yoga practice and want to try something new, may I suggest getting on the mat with Anne Joseph

Anne has the highest rank of Certified Yoga Teacher (E-RYT-500), is trained in Chinese Medicine and is also a Certified Massage Therapist. She is a former master instructor and director of the YogaWell Registered Yoga School, where I studied, and an long-time instructor at the YMCA of San Diego.

Her current weekly online schedule is as follows:
  • Tuesdays: 5:00pm - 6:15pm
  • Wednesdays:  10:30am - 11:30am/12:00pm
  • Fridays: 9:05am - 10:20am
  • Saturdays: 10:00am - 11:00am
Classes are free but have a suggested donation of $10-15 via PayPal or check (give what you can). Reach out to Anne Joseph via email to register for the Zoom link/passcode.

Monday, May 18, 2020

BYOMyoga is a panelist for this Webinar: Fitness in the Era of Covid-19

Tueday May 19, 2020 1:00 PM EST/12:00 PM CST/11:00 AM MST/ 10:00 AM PST

This webinar will focus first on thoughts and advice on how to stay physically fit in the COVID-19 era. Second, we will discuss some thoughts around the business of fitness.

5 great panelists including:
  • Jessica Cole, President / CEO at Becker’s Healthcare
  • Jackie Gadd, Owner/Instructor at ByomYoga
  • Mark Beier, Owner of Owner of Mark Beier, LLC “On The Go Health & Fitness”
  • Jeremy Walton, owner of the Walton Method
  • Steve Werner, Founder of Hour of Champions Training
Moderated by Scott Becker, Partner, McGuireWoods, Publisher, Becker's Healthcare, Publisher Becker Group Business Strategy 

Free/Lower Cost Internet Access for Seniors, Disabled, and Lower Income Households
The Allconnect® guide to low-income internet options and affordable internet plans can help you identify government assistance, income-based and provider-specific programs that offer low-income internet for families, students and seniors on a fixed income.

List of low cost Internet provider plans for low income Americans including broadband, DSL, high-speed cable, and 3G 4G cell phone wireless internet access.

The Access program from AT&T provides discounted Internet access at affordable monthly rated for qualified customers. If you qualify via income or participation in the National School Lunch or Head Start programs, you can apply online above. Select SNAP as the qualifying program and provide proof of eligibility for your income or program.

There are government subsidies that can help with your internet bill, and many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer low-income internet programs. These inexpensive internet plans, income based programs, and low-income family plans help reduce the cost of staying connected.
Update: In response to COVID-19 developments, some internet providers are offering free services to low-income families and households with students. We’ll keep you updated with the latest here to help you stay connected. And for more information about the internet during COVID-19, check out our guide to internet service during the pandemic. 

Note: Unless you’re already enrolled in a low-income assistance program like public housing or SNAP, it is unlikely that you qualify for assistance paying for home Internet. However, many providers have plans geared towards low-income customers.

If you are trying to get connected to the internet right away, several national providers have opened up their low-income internet programs, allowing you to receive free connectivity for up to two months if you qualify.

We rounded up 8 sources of low cost internet for seniors. Availability depends on location and financial situation, but these programs are well worth checking into.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Free Yoga for Veterans with OG Yoga

OG Yoga in San Diego is offering two new classes specially designed to serve our Military, First Responder, and Healthcare communities. You can start and end your week with retired Marine, OG Yoga Instructor Jimmy for his two special classes that are FREE for Veterans, Active Duty, First Responders, Healthcare Workers, and Family:
Mondays, 3-4 PM PDT - Intro to Veteran's Alignment Flow
The Monday classes are open to all for $10 per drop-in. But if you are a veteran, active duty, first responder, healthcare worker, or family member, please contact to access Monday's class for FREE!

Fridays, 4-5 PM PDT - Veterans Conscious Class with Connected Warriors
In partnership with Connected Warriors, Friday's class is FREE to sign-up for all veterans, active duty, first responders, healthcare workers, and family. 

Check out this introductory video where Jimmy explains how Veterans Yoga is different and the benefits of a regular yoga practice for our service members:

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Workshop: Accessing and Using Your Inner Wisdom with Shayna Kaufmann, PhD

This Saturday, May 16, in lieu of her postponed all day workshop, Shayna Kaufmann ( will be virtually hosting a gathering from 11-12:30 on Accessing and Using Our Inner Wisdom - something that can serve us incredibly well during challenging, unchartered times.  

To sign up, use this link.

Attendance is free (donations are optional). 

Here are some lovely words of wisdom from this wonderful speaker, therapist, meditation facilitator, and friend: 


The greatest gift you can give yourself today

is the gift of slowness. Paying attention.

As if today were the last day of your life.

As if you wanted to remember it all.

Drink it in.

Absorb the morning.

Inhale the afternoon.

And when the evening comes,

rest in its cooling embrace.

See, today:

The way the breath rises and falls.

What it feels like to have a body.

What a tension feels like. An ache.

A wave of pleasure. Hunger.

What it feels like to have hands.

To feel sadness. To feel joy.

To be alive on this day.

Drench this day in awareness, friend.

Slow down. Pay attention to the small things,

which are not small when seen

through the eyes of God.

Out of the mind, and into the Now.

Out of futures and pasts,

regrets and anticipations,

and into this alive Presence.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Tips to Manage Anxiety During COVID-19 Stay-At-Home

by Debbie Gross, LCSW

For many of you who deal with anxiety on a daily basis, the new stress of COVID-19 feels a lot like the rest of your life has been; always thinking about what’s coming, not able to be in the moment without flashes of ‘what’s next’ dancing in your head, along with sleepless nights and restless days. For the rest of the world, they have keen awareness that this new reality is tipping their lives upside down, with feelings they have maybe heard about or felt on occasion tripping them up frequently throughout the day. This post is to help everyone understand how to help yourself manage the inner turmoil so you can make the most of each day and find positivity, excitement, and laughter amidst crisis.

1. Give yourself permission to feel stressed, then give yourself permission to cheer yourself up! “How can I feel good when people are dying?” “How can I make jokes while front-line workers are overwhelmed?” “How can I feel happy when I can’t see an end to this crazy?” Those are normal questions in this abnormal time. Life is about balance. We can acknowledge the hardships, we can grieve our losses, but we can also heal, continue on, and feel pleasure.

2. When will life return to normal? We don’t have a crystal ball answer for this. We do know that there are going to be stages to the rebirth of normal. First, we will slowly begin to ease the restrictions, testing how well we maintain stability of cases. Just like we eased into the stay-at-home order, from no groups over 100, to gatherings of 25 or less, to 10 or less, to stay-at-home, these will reopen in a tiered way. We need to trust our medical and science professionals to keep us updated on data and trends so that as we reopen our society, we are prepared for all outcomes.

3. What about my events I have schedule in the summer? Or fall? When clients are beginning to date, I remind them to plan their relationship at the beginning for no further out than the length that the person has been dating. So if you’ve been seeing someone for a month, don’t plan a concert for three months from now! Same for COVID-19. We have been at this for about 5 weeks, so keep your focus on the next five weeks at most. Of course, if you need to prepare big events that are upcoming, do so, but with the understanding that everything right now needs to be done with flexibility and acceptance that we don’t have all the answers and can’t plan that far out with certainty. Try to stay focused on today, and the most immediate future if you need to look forward.

4. Will our children’s education suffer from online schooling that seems toned down from typical curriculum, or is not being managed as well by parents as classroom teachers would do with the children in their classrooms? First of all, that is as it should be! Educators are trained on teaching standards, techniques, and classroom management. They get to focus solely on students (along with differing abilities and behavioral challenges), and get most get planning time during their typical school day. Parents are multitasking all day long between work, household tasks, each child’s grade-specific needs, and extended family concerns, to name just a few things. Parents SHOULD NOT be expecting the level of success that a classroom teacher can give to your children! That said, children are the most resilient! They will come out of this just fine if they see us managing it just fine. If we let them know we will get through this, if we support their needs, if we share the frustrations but overwhelm them with activities that are engaging and fun, this will be just a hiccup in the entirety of their lives. And remember, education comes in so many forms. When they help you bake a cake, learning about order of adding ingredients, measuring, observing the process of what heat does when baking, and helping clean up, we are teaching them about math, science and home economics. When they write messages of positivity in chalk on the sidewalk for their neighbors passing by, we are teaching them empathy and kindness. When they cry because they cannot hug their grandparent, but learn to visit from a six-foot distance, we are teaching them respect for rules and that sometimes, a little of something we like can be good enough.

5. How can my life be ok right now when I cannot work, my business is collapsing, or my retirement savings is shrinking daily? Each one of us has a unique story to tell. These stories typically have generations of family who have endured suffering, hardship, grief and loss. Many tell of individuals leaving their homes, countries, family behind to come to the United States for a better future. Life is not easy right now. There are so many reasons to feel hopeless, helpless, and defeated. But there are more reasons to push through and remain hopeful. Just as a pendulum swings from one extreme to the other, so will this. We will come out of this on the other side and resume our lives, work, and livelihood. It will take time, and we will feel the bumps in the road more now than ever. But it will smooth out. If you can believe in yourself, if you can believe in your neighbor, friends, and family, we will push through this together. Ask for help if you are in need. If you are able, reach out to those around you that might be suffering and assist. One of the most blessed things that has come out of the pandemic is the number of people volunteering to help others. Whether making masks, providing meals, sending money, or giving time to others, record number of volunteers have brightened our world.

6. Take the time to notice the beauty around you. This is the number one way to relieve your stress. I look for symbols around me that represent things that make me feel good. Cardinals remind me of my father-in-law who passed last year. Hawks signal me to call my dad. Rainbows bring a smile to my face and hope in my heart. Flowers blooming on trees refresh my feelings of winter gloom with upcoming summer warmth. Seeing anything purple brings me joy. Think about what you can look for to feel happiness. I have friends who see pennies or butterflies and think of loved ones who have passed. When you go outside or take a walk, notice those things, pause, breathe, and feel gratitude. You are alive. You are valued. You are loved.

To quote one of my favorite characters, Winnie the Pooh, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” We are in this together, and we will get through this together, one day at a time.