A Place to Call Shelter-In-Place

A Place to Call Shelter-In-Place

Current Location: Kailua Kona, the Big Island, Hawaii

This is my last week on the Big Island before returning back to San Diego in May. I happened to be staying at the seaside AirBnB in Kailua Kona overlooking the historic Mokuaikaua Church during the stay at home order and feel very fortunate to be here. Looking back at the past 6 weeks here, I can say that the experience has been transformative to my meditation, yoga and soul searching efforts.

I just moved into this apartment a few days before Governor David Ige signed a stay-at-home order, calling on everyone in the state to shelter in place and work from home from Wednesday, March 25, to Thursday, April 30. My balcony faces the Mokuaikaua Church, the oldest Christian church in the Hawaiian Islands. Every morning I watched the newly born sunrise light reflected on the east side of the church steeple, and at sunset - a deeper, richer light shining bright from the west side. Mokuaikaua Church celebrated its 200th anniversary during the pandemic (and coincided with my stay) on April 4, 2020. I mean, what are the odds?

Sustaining myself on a diet of the most delicious locally grown papayas, avocados and apple bananas (must have when in Hawaii!) while shelves at grocery stores were looking quite bare at some point.

Locally grown papaya for healthy breakfast | Meditate Mate

I have never been more consistent with my meditation and yoga practice than at this place. I started my mornings with one to two hours of yoga and sometimes - pranayama (breathing exercises) and joined a virtual group sitting of Vipassana meditation with fellow meditators on Zoom for an hour in late afternoons, almost daily. Of course, I was worried and felt deep compassion for all those who were suffering because of the pandemic, but at the same time I felt such profound peace and a calm confidence that everything is going to be okay. I was working remotely the whole time so that also helped keep me sane.

Highlights from today’s practice:

Lower back pain is gone and is no longer bothering me. About a month ago I excluded Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) and replaced it with the standing Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana).

Today marks 26 consecutive days of my yoga practice, which is a great win. Previously, I was practicing yoga 4 times a week on average. With the coronavirus and sheltering in place in full swing, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to deepen both my meditation and yoga practice. My daily routine now consists of 2 practices: yoga in the morning (I try to practice at sunrise because it super charges my day with positive vibes) and Vipassana meditation after work in the afternoon for an hour.

Virtual Vipassana Meditation at Home | Meditate Mate

About a month ago (March, 23rd), I started adding Pranayama after my regular yoga practice for 2 times a week. 4 cycles of breath a minute is where I am at right now: inhale for about 8 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds.

I had new sensations during the practice today. As if I was better at calming my mind by locating little “whirlwinds” of emotions and unwanted thoughts, which dissolved as I observed them. I felt a certain quality of fluidity in the body, flowing more easily and relaxing deeper even when I was in the plank position that requires strength and focus.

Today's yoga sequence
Asanas focusing on balance and stability
Time: 1 hour 23 minutes (with Pranayama) 

Yoga Sequence for Balance & Tranquility | Meditate Mate

  1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana) - 6 mins
  2. Standing Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana)
  3. Tree Pose
  4. Pause in Tadasana - 1 minute
  5. Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
  6. Pause in Tadasana - 1 minute
  7. Warrior Two
  8. Pause in Tadasana - 1 minute
  9. Rest - Shavasana - 5 minutes
  10. Warrior Three
  11. Pause in Tadasana for a minute
  12. Half Moon - Ardha Chandrasana
  13. Pause in Tadasana for a minute
  14. Plank - Phalakasana
  15. Ardha Matsyendrasana
  16. Boat Pose - Paripurna Navasana
  17. Rest - Shavasana - 6 minutes
  18. Pranayama lying on the back - 6 minutes
  19. Final Shavasana - 10 min

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