Wearing a mask can be challenging in different ways:
- It slows our rate of inhalation.
- The sensation of having a mask on our face can make us feel anxious or uncomfortable.
- We may feel hotter even though our body cools mainly through the skin by dilating blood vessels and sweating.
Here’s what you can do to breathe more comfortably with a mask while at the studio:
- Relax your shoulders and soften your face - this helps keep your nervous system calm and your breathing normal.
- Breath through your nose - it's your body's natural air filter - and be more aware of trying to breath into your belly.
- Keep your lips together to prevent breathing though the mouth. (Mouth breathing is associated with the fight-or-flight response of your body and can create more anxiety.)
- Should you feel your breath is starting to get labored, slow down your exhales.
- Should you feel like you can’t breathe calmly, come out of the yoga pose early or do a modified version of the pose.
- Take breaks during class whenever you need - your body is still gaining many benefits.
- Remind yourself that you are in fact getting plenty of oxygen and are exhaling carbon dioxide.
- Think “I can” instead of “I can’t” – positive self talk can help you mentally and physically relax during activity.
Disposable masks don’t retain moisture like cloth masks and have a nose bar to pinch which helps prevent the mask from shifting or slipping as you move. You can also dispose of these masks right after class.
Using a 3D Bracket, along with the disposable mask OR a cloth mask, creates space between your nose, mouth and the mask. This space prevents the mask from lying directly on your face and helps you breathe more easily.
Here’s what we are doing at the studio to help you:
- Slowing down the class.
- Creating more breaks between postures.
- Offering pose modifications and options.
- Keeping the room cool.
Yoga is all about helping us recognize and deal with difficult situations. So perhaps it may help you to think of wearing a mask simply as a yogic lesson… a practice in maintaining calm and creating a response rather than letting yourself react.