Ebola is real. We are facing a changed reality in Nigeria and right across West-Africa. It forces us to rethink and take a closer look at the lives we have constructed for ourselves.

Thanks to our crowded, urbanised lifestyles, the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has not only jumped the species barrier but has already began crossing the borders before even the best scientists have officially licensed a cure or treatment. We all have to adjust to the emergence of a new epidemic disease.

Six months ago EVD looked like yet another far-off possibility not worth worrying about. But the late Mr Patrick Sawyer brought it straight to Nigeria’s commercial hub. On 8 August 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that the outbreak of EVD in West-Africa had become a public health emergency of international concern. This is indeed the most serious outbreak of EVD since 1979. And it is only now, with the possibility of the virus reaching the Western world via the next flight, that we realise how interconnected we all are. Unfortunately it is going to get worse before it gets better.

A few weeks ago I met an old friend of mine. It was so good to see him again after all this time. We hugged and gisted. I felt his sweat on my fingers. And I froze. The first thought that came to my mind was: Where can I wash my hands now? And I felt so bad. In a country where even guys hold hands freely to emphasize each others sympathy and friendship, EVD even threatens physical touch. Going to the bank today feels more like getting a medical check-up than dealing with financial aspects of my life!

But let’s not allow the hype over EVD make us forget that diseases like HIV/AIDS, Cholera or Malaria for years have been wiping out far more people. In fact, every minute, a child dies from Malaria. And this is something that could easily be prevented. When we talk about hygiene these days, let us remember that most parts of our country neither have access to clean water nor electricity.

Obviously, the outbreak of the Ebola virus affects Chi’s Yoga. I am very haptic and in the past primarily adjusted my clients manually. Now I try to help you adjust verbally, giving you instructions on how to connect with your body in each single pose. Astonishingly, this works quite well for me as well as my clients. One client of mine even mentioned that this new approach might help her to be less dependent on Chi’s Yoga. Another emailed me that she was aching all over, feeling the ‘good pain’. Great!

Most of my clients want to stretch. And stretching fundamentally is a very instinctive and natural activity. We often yawn and stretch after waking from sleep or long periods of inactivity.

As we get older, we need to stretch more often. With age all body cells, tissues, as well as vital organs begin to lose some function. Ageing changes all body systems: muscles begin to shrink and lose mass, the mineral content of bones alters, and ligaments and connective tissues become less elastic. In the course of time, joint motion becomes more restricted and flexibility decreases.

Flexibility here is the ability of a muscle to lengthen and allow your joints to move through a full range of motion. And stretching is an excellent way to help maintain joint flexibility. It gives us a feeling of relief and increased muscle control.

It is a fantastic feeling to elongate the body. It makes one feel alive. And after a good stretch some of my client’s faces literally start to glow. One even said she felt like she was floating. Nevertheless, a yoga stretch can be quite intense.

One of my youngest clients is 9 years old. And he had a hard time dealing with the physical pains of the yoga practice. We had several long talks about ‘good pain’ and ‘bad pain’. And I promised him to help him avoid ‘bad pain’ during his practice. But I assured him that he would encounter plenty of ‘good pain’. And then I would try my best to support him. Experiencing pains (or stress) in yoga, hence, is inevitable. And ‘good pain’ in this regard basically is the discomfort of a pose.

Good pain brings healing. Chi’s Yoga helps you enjoy the ‘good pain’ of a ‘good stretch’.

When we practise yoga, we therefore need to make one fundamental distinction: Are the physical restrictions we are feeling tension or compression?

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Chi’s Yoga – Your yoga is yours only!

The Good Pain: How Ebola Changed My Yoga Practice