The New Wollaston Station

new wollaston station

This picture of the renovated Wollaston Station in Quincy, Massachusetts is from August 16, 2019. I’m writing this post on April 4, 2020 and living in a new world.

The global pandemic of coronavirus rages on. We are waiting out this health crisis in our homes for the most part. Hoping not to catch COVID-19 and hoping not to spread it.

I’m only going out to take a walk or go grocery shopping for me and my mom. When we come back home from grocery shopping, we have to clean everything that we bought before putting anything away. Wash our hands repeatedly. The list goes on. These are such strange times.

One thing I’m trying to do while I’m at home is write more. Over the years, there have probably been hundreds of posts that I wasn’t able to write due to lack of time. Since I have a bit more time now, I’m hoping to go back and write some of those posts. I have pictures and notes ready and waiting. So I will take some old things and make them new. Plus, writing calms my nerves. Writing has always made me happy.

I thought I had written a post about when Wollaston Station reopened. I was looking for it to link to another post, but couldn’t find it. It seems that I had just taken pictures of the station, but never got around to writing it up. Or at least I can’t find it now. So this is that post.

It took close to two years for the station to be renovated. It’s a much nicer station and what a relief to not have to take the shuttle to North Quincy.

But for my life now, my last project ended in mid-February and I don’t think that I have taken the T since then. I certainly don’t know the next time that I will take it. And I wonder if I will feel safe. When will we be sure the spread is contained? June? July? I don’t know. I guess none of us really does.

Starting a Home Yoga Practice

home yoga

Most of us in the United States are home now in some sort of self-quarantine or self-isolation due to COVID-19. If we go out, we are practicing social distancing. All of this in order to flatten the curve and not overwhelm the health system.

Right now, things are quite dire in New York and cases of coronavirus illness and related deaths are growing all over the country. It’s one of the scariest times that many of us have ever experienced.

Most brick and mortar businesses are currently closed. Yoga studios have gone virtual in order to continue teaching students. Following along with online yoga classes is a great way to continue your yoga practice. During this uncertain moment in time, we especially need to find ways to practice self-care.

Yoga has been shown to help fight stress, so if you’ve never practiced before, this is a great time to try. If you normally attend yoga classes, continuing your practice at home may be helpful. If you haven’t been active at all recently, before starting a new exercise regimen, take due care and you may want to consult a doctor.

So once you decide to start a home yoga practice, how do you actually do it? I emailed and spoke with six Boston area yoga instructors to give us some tips. Hopefully you can takeaway a few of these suggestions and put them to good use!

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Ali Singer, Founder: Yoga Hub  (Boston, MA)

Make sure you’re doing something that you want to do. That it’s not a chore.

Pick a time of day that you can commit to so you won’t skip it.

Do the exact same postures or sequences every time. It gives you a framework for measurement. Otherwise you have no means of measuring yourself on a day to day basis. This way you can see how you change. Ashtanga yoga is the same series of poses over and over. Some people stay on this same series their whole life.

You can use a mirror to see that you’re stacking your joints correctly, but it can become a distraction if you’re looking for validation. It’s better to use video, so you can see if you are where you think you are in space.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Connect with yoga teachers that you may follow online. If you notice something on their social media feed and have a question, reach out and comment.

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For more yoga pointers from Ali, check out her free online course, which will be happening soon and will be updated here.

Ginette Mayas Samwel (Framingham, MA)

Clear space, clear mind. You need to project clarity in your thoughts, actions and space. It doesn’t have to be a big space at all, just clear.

Margie Kirstein, Founder: Yoga For The Spine (Dedham, MA)

I think people still need personal attention when starting a home yoga practice. One recommendation is to reach out to the studio where they were practicing to find out what style of yoga they were doing, if they want to keep doing that style. They could ask for suggestions if they want to try something different.

Also consider asking a yoga teacher to make up a sequence for them, taking into account their preferences. I sent my students a Yoga for the Spine home sequence that would be familiar and not too challenging. I also included links to yoga pose dictionaries.

Yogic Way of Life Yoga Asanas

Pocket Yoga Poses

Yoga Journal Pose Finder

Finally, if they can have a yoga buddy, that’s so helpful.

Malaika Bonafide of Ms. Bonafide Creations & Yoga with Malaika (Cambridge, MA)

Some of the tools I find helpful in my home practice are yoga blocks, which offer support. Think of the blocks as an extension of your reach. They can be used in downward facing dog under your hands or feet to bring the ground closer to you.

I also use a yoga strap, but an old tie will do the trick as well. You can use the tie in a seated forward fold as an extension of your hands as you reach for your feet/foot. Lasso the strap around your feet/foot pulling you closer.

Two face cloths or hand towels are helpful for padding under your knees if you tend to have knee pain or discomfort in your knees.

Be sure to listen to your body and know that everyday is different. And most importantly that yoga is a practice and most helpful if you practice as often as possible.

If you’re able to dedicate a space in your home to your practice, that’s awesome. If not, make sure that whatever space you do end up using for that moment is clean and free of clutter and work related items.

Turn off or silence distractions. Really dedicate this time to your self and your practice.

Meghan “Meg” Gaucher, Founder: Sweet Squeeze Events (Boston, MA)

There IS a home practice for everyone. Routine is important. The time you get on your mat matters. It will set you up for a good behavior to find your mat.

The space you set up is important. Find a quiet place where you can roll out your mat. Nothing fancy — just quiet and big enough to move up, down and around on your mat.

Susan Lovett, Founder: Hands To Heart Center (Boston, MA)

Don’t feel as if you have to do a daily 75-minute yoga class.

Maybe you’ll find 30 minutes or 20 or even 10 to move your body and breathe intentionally. Even a few minutes a day makes a difference, especially if you’re currently doing a lot of sitting or lying down. Sometimes, you’ll find that, once you start, you have more energy than you initially thought and you’ll want to keep going. Or not, Just do what you can.

Forget about setting up a perfect home yoga studio.

If you can clear a place on the floor and stand on something that’s not slippery, you’re good to go. It’s also a possibility to do some chair yoga. So, instead of stressing about having an immaculate, lovely setting,  just get started. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not bumping into any furniture – or anyone else’s body – but if you have some room to move, you’ll be fine.

Find an online teacher who’s a good fit for you.

There’s so much free, online yoga right now that you’ll have a lot of choices. If you start with one teacher and don’t feel inspired, you can choose someone else. You might not find your perfect match, but you’re likely to find someone whose voice and teaching style are appealing to you. I like Yoga with Adrienne and she has free online classes!

You can be your own teacher.

You might start seated with some breathing and grounding. Then, you could choose any ways to move your body that are useful and/or interesting to you. Don’t worry if you’re not doing “classical yoga poses” or seamless sequences. The essence of yoga is breath, movement and stillness, focused attention and deep rest. Be curious about what sensations you may feel in your body. Know that it doesn’t matter what your yoga looks like and focus, instead, on what you’re able to notice.

Don’t judge yourself.

In a home practice, you may feel less self-conscious than you might in a studio. Take advantage of making any sounds that would feel right to you. Give yourself permission to be goofy awkward, messy. Wear your most comfortable pajamas, if that’s your mood. It’s YOUR yoga, do what works for you.

Free Yoga Boston ~ Virtual Yoga Classes

*UPDATED: June 17, 2020*

Some of these classes may have ended or changed. As more places open up, some live classes, especially outdoor classes may take place. My focus won’t be updating this list. Instead. I’m researching a new summer list of free outdoor classes in the Boston area. virtual yoga class listing

When I first started blogging about free yoga classes in Boston back in 2009, I could never have imagined that 11 years later, I’d be writing about free virtual yoga classes because we would be in the middle of a worldwide pandemic that would prohibit us from going outdoors.

Whew. Take a breath. We probably all need to take a breath.

But here we are. It’s 2020 and the spread of coronavirus has taken over every single aspect of all of our lives. Collectively, the world has been required to take a pause. We’ve had to stop life as normal and learn to exist in a whole different way.

Social distancing and self-quarantine is now a thing. Working from home is way more accepted now. Gatherings have been put on hold. Like my dinner club, that had just started up again! Schools are all closed. Businesses are closed. Sports have stopped. The Boston Marathon was postponed. The Olympics were postponed. No more dining in restaurants. Only take-out and delivery.

Life has been transformed. Everyday I still wonder how this is all real. But we humans are resilient.  The “Rona” is here for now and we have no choice but to accept it and get on with living our lives.

Free Yoga Boston – A Collaboration

Soooo, on the Free Yoga Boston Facebook page, there was a comment from Sophie Besl asking if there was an online specific list on my blog. I didn’t have one.

I’ve been sharing free online classes since COVID-19 took hold — because most yoga classes were forced out of the studios and have gone virtual. It was a good question and I thought it was an excellent idea too. But to be honest, I needed help. I’ve found that people are often willing if I ask.

I asked Sophie if she’d do the research and she did. She created a Google spreadsheet and made it so that if anyone would like to add additional virtual yoga classes to the list, they can submit them here. Thank you Sophie!

Even thought most classes are free, if you have the means to offer a donation, I’m sure it would be greatly appreciated.

Most of these classes are for a limited period of time. Since things change swiftly in this new reality, the classes are not listed by day of the week like the other FYB list.

Please click on the links and find the dates and times that work for you. Hopefully this list will be helpful. Stay healthy!

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Pilgrimage Yoga Online

India in USA (Embassy of India)

Afro Flow Yoga

Friday Unwind: Gentle Yoga

Lunch Break Yoga

Linda Wellness Warrior

4 Corners Yoga + Wellness

Seana Mac

Jess Livin’ The Dream

YogaHub – Lemonade

The Phoenix

NamaStay Connected

Third Space Chi Yoga

Setu (live + on-demand)

Peace Through Yoga LIVE

YEG Boss Babes

Camile Thai

Sri Sri Yoga

How You Can Find Hand Sanitizer

hand sanitizer bottle

Yes! It’s possible to find hand sanitizer. I was able to get three travel size bottles yesterday.

I always have hand sanitizer around. In my pocketbook and in my car for when I’m out and about and can’t wash my hands. Usually I keep an extra bottle at home too. I didn’t run out, but started running a bit low within the past couple of weeks.

My mom also wanted me to get some for her, so I started looking. And looking. And looking. I went to about five stores and couldn’t find any.

When I first heard about coronavirus at the beginning of the year, I figured it would eventually be in the United States, but didn’t know enough to think about what that meant exactly.

It never crossed my mind that this country would run out of something as simple as hand sanitizer.  In my lifetime, the supply of most everything has always been there. My generation (the oldest of GenX or the youngest of Boomers) in this country, generally does not have a famine mentality.

There has always been enough of everything to buy. Whether we can afford to buy it is another story. My mom’s generation remembers food rations during World War II. It was hard to even conceive of rations before, but it got a little easier to imagine recently.

Since it had become pointless to keep looking in stores, I looked online. Way too expensive. I figured that there must be another way that I wasn’t thinking about.

Try Your Local Bank

The one extra small bottle of hand sanitizer that I had at home was given to me. I didn’t buy it. It was from a new bank giving out promotional gifts as marketing.

I had been given hand sanitizer as a gift from my own bank too, a while back. I wondered if they had any left. Since I had to go the bank anyway, I decided to ask. They did! I only got one bottle and was told that they were running low. There were two other bank branches not too far away, so I figured I’d go to them as well.

I went to another branch and got two more bottles! I was so appreciative and told the woman that these were as precious as gold! Makes sense that I got them at a bank!

When I asked for the branded hand sanitizers, a customer who was sitting down whipped his head around to look over. I don’t know for sure, but I bet he asked for some before he left.

The third branch told me that they didn’t have any left. But that’s okay. I have enough for me and to give some to my mom.

So think about banks or other businesses that give out branded promotional items.  Then ask them. They may just have some to give you too.