A Donegal-based yoga instructor is sharing her love of the practice online to relieve stress and anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Things were going great for Elisa Looby as she settled into her new home in Gweedore, having moved from Dublin just four months ago.
She was loving the lifestyle change and enjoying an easygoing approach to her yoga teaching.
That was until the Covid-19 crisis pulled the rug out from underneath her, as it has done for countless other businesses.
Elisa quickly decided to adapt and return to practicing yoga in the same way that she started years ago – from the floor of her home.
Now, she offers Yin Yoga and meditation to anyone, online, for free or via donation, that can be done in the safety of our homes.
“Yin Yoga is a passive, meditative form of Yoga to aid tension release and mental health,” Elisa explains.
“There are tons of benefits to introducing yoga and meditation into your life during this pandemic. Reducing stress and anxiety from within. My main focus is to build awareness within ourselves and to realise that we have a beautiful silence within that we can tap into whenever we want. We just have to learn how.”
Elisa’s love of yoga took hold at the most stressful time of her life, although it took her a few years to find her flow as an instructor.
“For 8 years I worked in the financial world having studied accountancy. I fell into the financial role by mistake to be honest. Never really wanting it.
“During this time I found a love for yoga at home in my bedroom. I was highly stressed in that corporate world, sitting at a desk, working late, with constant pressure on deadlines benefiting the company’s bottom line but causing myself increased anxiety. Finance was never my thing. It wasn’t my calling.
“In 2016 I packed up everything, left my well paid job and moved to Australia where I became a Personal Trainer. It still didn’t fit. Everything I was doing, was missing what helped me the most, the mental health aspect on a deeper level.
“I found Yoga when I needed it the most, through YouTube. I would practice every morning or evening 7 days a week in my bedroom. I wanted to share what helped me through rough times, with others. When I returned from Australia I went into my Yoga Teacher Training 2 weeks later. This took 10 months and began teaching yoga 2 years ago.
“I can count on my hand the amount of times I went to a yoga studio before my training. It all started at home and to this day, it’s where I practice the most.
“The fact you can roll out of bed, have a sip of tea/coffee and get on your mat is the magic potion.”
Elisa moved from Dublin to Donegal with her fiancé Tom last December. Here, she took the opportunity to really slow down and she became the resident yogi at the Flash Recovery Lounge in Derrybeg.
She said: “This big move was a lifestyle move. I wanted to remove myself from the hustle and bustle of city living and city teaching. I went from teaching 21 yoga classes a week to now (pre Covid-19) 3 classes a week and workshops. I swore to myself that I would not bring myself to the same state of stress I felt when working in finance. I wanted to enjoy nature, hobbies, have time to educate, do yoga at my leisure and share my passion with the community.”
In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, Elisa counts herself lucky to have moved to rural Donegal at the right time.
“Covid-19 outbreak has been hard on us all. I had just began to feel a community spirit within my couple of classes a week, built trust with students and the rug is pulled. But how do we react? With anger and frustration at our own situation or love and compassion towards the world as a whole. I am extremely fortunate that we moved when we did. The spaciousness here where we live is gorgeous and we can still enjoy nature daily. During this time, I am offering yoga and meditation to everyone, no matter the financial situation. Free, by donation or paid.”
Elisa’s top tip for continuing practice is to have a space in your home dedicated to yoga. A little corner to make your own.
How to join in Yin Yoga and Meditation practice with ElisaLovesYoga:
- Free 15 minute gentle meditations Monday to Friday – Live via Instagram 7.15am – 7.30am
- Free 1 hour Yin Yoga class every Saturday morning – Live via Instagram also 10am – 11am (beginning after Easter)
- Free Yin Yoga and Meditation classes via her YouTube Channel
- A Yin Yoga class via Zoom every Wednesday night 8pm – 9pm
- Yin Yoga and Meditation workshops