Pandemic Yoga in the Vet School

By Dr Niamh Nestor, Student Adviser, UCD School of Veterinary Medicine

Before the campus closure in March, a group of Vet staff members used to meet every Wednesday morning at 8am in one of the rooms in the Vet School to do a thirty-minute yoga session. We were very lucky to have been supported in this both by UCD Sport and Fitness, who provided us with a brilliant instructor every week, and the Vet School itself, which allowed us to use some space to run the yoga group. Under the umbrella of our Athena SWAN Sense of Community Working Group, the idea behind the yoga sessions was to bring people together to do some sort of activity early in the morning before the workday started in earnest. It’s not easy being put through your paces that early in the morning, but, like any physical activity, once we’d finished the session and had those endorphins buzzing around, we felt well set up for the day. Full disclosure: We followed our yoga with breakfast in Pi – maybe this brought us together more than the activity?! Whatever the reason, we created a lovely community, and we cherished our Wednesday mornings and the chance to see each other.

Lots of things radically shifted mid-March, and one of those things was our regular yoga. Once we got through the initial stages of the crisis, a few of us knocked our heads together and figured out that we could still meet virtually via zoom. Now, we meet twice weekly – Wednesdays and Fridays – at lunchtime. One of us chooses a short yoga video from YouTube (Yoga with Adrienne is a big hit), shares it via zoom, and off we go in the comfort of our own homes.

The sense of togetherness might not be the same – virtual meetups just can’t replace face-to-face (read: breakfast in Pi!) – but we’ve maintained our little community; in fact, we’ve even expanded it as more colleagues have gotten the opportunity to join virtually. We have a lot of laughs, largely at ourselves because what we see on the yoga videos is often not replicated in reality, but the exercise is actually only one part of why we’ve continued with our yoga meetups. Seeing others, having a chat, and staying in touch is what the real benefits are. Namaste!


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