Over the past couple of weeks Sydney’s Northern Beaches, which is where I live, has once again gone into lockdown.

With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, a cluster of cases being found in the more northern region of the Northern Beaches, the Government has put into place restrictions about what residents can and can’t do. Much to many people’s disappointment, this hasn’t come at the best of times, over the Christmas, New Year and the summer holiday period. However we have an understanding as to the reasoning for why these restrictions have been put in place – in order to contain the number of cases and to keep people safe.

Most people readily accept this, however what I would like to discuss in this article is what can happen when we are put into lockdown and our movements are being restricted and some simple tools to support you to not feel oppressed or restricted.

From discussions with people on the Northern Beaches and getting a feel as to where people are at, it is understandable that many are feeling frustrated and hoping that this pandemic will just go away or that a vaccine will be available soon.

I taught an online yoga class this morning and I shared with the participants of that class how I have been working with the current restrictions to not allow them to affect me. Having open discussions with people, it seems as though many are affected, with some more open to talking about it, and others not, going about their day-to-day life coping as best they can.

So this is what I shared with the class this morning. Restrictions can be put in place and we can be told where we can go and where we can’t. We don’t have much control over this, but what we do have control over is how we move within the restrictions.

As an example, if you walk around feeling frustrated, upset or annoyed that these restrictions are in place and you can’t do what you want, you may spend the whole time in lockdown feeling this way. This isn’t going to be or feel good in your body. – we  can all relate to the damaging and unsettling effect of emotions, attachments or desires in our body.

Perhaps you then go to behaviours to try and dull down these feelings and you end up spending more time eating, watching TV/Netflix and not truly dealing with what actually is there in your body and the tension continues to build.

What I worked with in the first round of lockdown earlier this year and doing again this time around, is using the space to focus on owning my movements. What I mean by this is rather than let my movements be governed by a feeling that may arise due to a reaction brought about by the restrictions, I am focussing on making all of my movements of my body be gentle, nurturing, flowing and in a quality of connection.

When I move in this way, I own my movements and the more I move with and in these qualities, it feels lovely inside. Therefore, it doesn’t matter so much what I am told I can and can’t do as how I move and feel isn’t based on external factors but rather is based upon the feelings that I nurture from the inside. Afterall it is what is on the inside that counts.

The more I focus on this way of being and living within the lockdown, the simpler and expansive become all the things that I go about in my daily life – going for a walk, cooking, shopping, working, calling a friend can all be done in a quality that nourishes and contributes to how I feel moment to moment.

If we don’t consciously and deliberately own our movements, then our movements can easily be owned by our reactions.

Use this time during lockdown to deepen your connection to and with your body. It is worth the effort and the benefits are tangible and invaluable.

Donna Nolan is a Yoga Teacher, Remedial Massage and Bodywork Therapist who lives on the Northern Beaches and works at her clinic in Balgowlah.  She has a deep love of supporting people to reconnect with their body and being.