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Yoga Studios Now Host Video Classes For Coronavirus Anxiety and Stress

Katherine Feinstein

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Yoga studios are hosting video classes virtually to help alleviate anxiety and stress during the coronavirus.
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The social distancing effort to slow the effects of the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on mental health. Many Americans being told to stay home are feeling restless, alone, and scared.

In recognizing the importance and necessity of community support and unity during this time, many yoga studios have immediately started doing video classes and live streaming platforms. In turn, many people have found solace and support in keeping in touch with their yoga support systems online. 

It seems self-isolation and being separated from the people and activities that keep people sane are forcing everyone to find new coping mechanisms for a time of uncertainty. Luckily, yoga studios are avidly working to shift their businesses online and provide loyal clients and community members with live-streamed content.

This shift has helped in keeping small businesses and their employees stay afloat during an economic downturn. Tiny Buddha Yoga (TBY), Michigan’s top studio of 4 consecutive years, has been supporting their community by consistently providing their students with 4-6 live video classes every day.

Tiny Buddha Yoga is continuing to support their community by hosting video classes to continue yoga services.
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When students sign up online, links to a video class and Spotify playlist are sent to their email so they can join the live class and practice to the instructor’s music.

 Studios like TBY have been working to adapt to the new platform. They have been giving their students the support and outlet that they need during this time of chaos. Further, instructors and students alike can find solace and comfort in the still-thriving yoga community.

There seems to be something special about yogis from all over the country. Including past TBY community members who since relocated and family and friends of current members- still joining video classes together.

 Current TBY student Naomi noted how the current quarantine situation has had her feeling “overwhelmed” and she’s even found that “it’s honestly gotten harder to breathe”. For Naomi, “seeing this community come together has been the only thing that lifts the weight and helps me catch my breath.” 

In joining the TBY Zoom video classes, students like Naomi are able to let go of the stress of the pandemic, feel and validate all of their feelings. Furthermore, they can breathe openly and without judgment among others who are going through the same thing. 

Yoga is certainly a physical practice and discipline. Many members of TBY have found that the emotional support and grounding aspects of this community have been crucial in easing their anxiety. Similarly, another TBY student Laura has utilized her yoga practice to slow down her “anxieties running wild” and remind herself of the things she is thankful for. 

Yoga teachers are now hosting  video classes to continue teaching yoga as a way to help with anxiety and stress.
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“Yoga to me is the ability to create space for myself within the craziness of life. My practice is a daily reminder that there are things that still bring joy. There are choices I can make. And, there are others holding space with me in the hardest time,” she said. 

Like many others, Laura, too, said she was “grateful” for the opportunity to come back to her mat and forget everything else outside of it.

One of the most common teachings in yoga that is focused on in class is mindfulness, or the idea of being in the moment, noticing emotions or thoughts that come up, and practicing non-reaction to honor one’s emotions while not necessarily acting on them. 

Like Laura, lovers of yoga come back to their mats because it is a safe space where all feelings are allowed but no one is expected to tackle them all at once. In a time of unrest and hysteria, being able to practice mindfulness and accept the things that are out of our control can be extremely therapeutic.

Yoga instructors are also appreciating maintaining a bond with students and reestablishing that sense of community that makes students feel so supported and safe at TBY. 

As an instructor who is very extroverted, the social stimulation and feeling of comradery I’ve gotten from teaching students through video classes has been essential to keeping calm while being isolated at home. 

Seeing the smiling faces of my regular students has reminded me of how lucky I am to have this community. 

I’ve been able to realize that, though I can’t control what is happening around me, my students are sending their positive energy to me as I am to them. 

Another important theme in yoga that’s helped me is non-judgment. Yoga allows you to feel and move without expectations, labels, or punishment. While this may apply to listen to your body and taking rest when needed, it can also speak to allowing the practice of yoga to come in many forms. 

Mental health directly affects our physical health and motivation. And, I’ve especially learned about the welcoming aspects of yoga that allow us to customize our practice to what we need on a given day. 

As an instructor, I’ve been transparent with my students. If I’m having a tough day, I remind them that their practice is unique to them and to take what they need from it. Communities like TBY build on the sentiment that anyone and everyone is a yogi. And, that yoga is available to those that need it. 

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A Holiday Like No Other: 6 Ways to Have a Safe Thanksgiving in 2020

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Group of about 7 people celebrating Thanksgiving

Autumn has arrived, midterms are over, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It’s a well-deserved break, especially for college students, and a chance to travel back to your homes to spend time with loved ones. Only, there’s a catch. It’s Thanksgiving 2020. It’s Thanksgiving in the middle of a global pandemic.

With that said, it is important to be aware of the consequences of large gatherings as the holiday season quickly approaches. Here are a few tips on how you can plan a safer Thanksgiving. 

Follow the Usual Protocol

Wear your mask and limit social contact. Avoid unnecessary outings, such as dining in restaurants or going to the store when you don’t need to. Quarantine yourself and get tested if you’re experiencing symptoms, or were within close contact with someone with the virus.

Turn on your notifications

Depending on where you live, your phone can now alert you if you are exposed to the virus. Apple and Google have built software into the latest versions of iPhones and Android devices to detect people through Bluetooth. If you have an iPhone, go to Settings and turn on Exposure Notifications to use this feature, which will alert you to any potential contact with a person who has the virus. However, this only works when the people around you have their notifications on.

Spread of many apples and leaves out of the cornucopia basket
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Consider a Virtual Celebration

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate and spend time with loved ones in a festive way. The CDC is discouraging Thanksgiving travel as cases continue to rise. Students who need to travel back home from campus can risk exposure in any type of public transport, be it airports, bus stations, or train stations. In addition, there’s no guarantee that all your guests follow COVID-safety guidelines, such as wearing masks and maintaining social distance.

One person can jeopardize everyone’s health. So why not ditch the risks and go virtual? It’s obviously not the same, but it’s Thanksgiving 2020.

The advancement of technology is at its peak and Zoom works well enough to do the trick. Drastic situations call for drastic measures.

Thanksgiving with Housemates

Again, ditch the risks of exposure in public transport, and host your own Thanksgiving with the people you are quarantining with. If you live off-campus with a couple of friends, this is a perfect time to host a Friendsgiving. However, it’s crucial that your housemates are following the COVID-guidelines for safety. Make sure that the gathering only consists of you and your housemates to limit your exposure to the virus.

Stay Outside and Limit the Gathering

As the weather becomes cooler, the United States is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases. COVID-19 is making headlines once more as new cases soar above the thousands on the daily. Similar to influenza, COVID-19 survives longer in cold, dry air. People tend to stay inside during the cooler months, making themselves more vulnerable to the virus due to the restriction of air ventilation. If you insist on hosting or attending a gathering, make sure it’s small and held outside. 

A set dinner table, 5 plates set with dinner cloths wrapped on top, a variety of red and orange flowers in a vase on top the of the table
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Bring Your Own Food

Food is not a direct way to spread the virus, but it is still very much possible. Limit this possibility by encouraging your guests to bring their own food and drinks. This takes away from the traditional potluck Thanksgiving dinner, but at least you don’t have to eat the bland potato salad your aunt brings every year. It’s also wise to have a dry, ventilated bag to store the masks in while eating. Remember to also maintain social distancing as you dine. 

Everyone understands. Pandemic fatigue is real and the festive holiday season seems like a perfect way to unwind and get a little bit of a breather.

But before leaving the door without a mask on, take a moment and think: should you really gamble with the possibility of jeopardizing your health, and the health of your loved ones, for one gathering? Remember, Thanksgiving 2020 is a Thanksgiving like no other. It’s important to be cautious during these unprecedented times.

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How To Make A Smaller Thanksgiving Feast For Less Than 3 People

Mariah Olmstead

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A large Turkey float during the a parade in New York.
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On Thanksgiving, families across the U.S. gather in large numbers and eat a feast of delicious food. Family gatherings are a time to remember the old times, to have a laugh about a funny family member, and to reconnect. However, due to Covid-19 numbers rapidly growing, many families might have to consider cancelling large gatherings for the sake of everyone’s health and this can not only make everyone upset, but also means that many are going to have to spend Thanksgiving alone, or even with just their housemates.

Here is a list of ways that people can still enjoy the feast, but on a smaller scale and with more healthy options. 

Serve cornish hen instead of turkey

Turkeys usually sell from anywhere between $10 to $15 in some stores. They can also be heavy and big, taking most of the day to cook. Cornish hens not only look like turkeys, but they’re small enough for 1 to 2 people and take little time to cook. You can also stuff them! 

Dish out smaller portions

Delicious pies, perfect casseroles that pair with the turkey, and big portions make for great leftovers, but with a small gathering of 1-3 people, it can be difficult to cook them for so few people. Downsizing your portions of potatoes, green bean casserole, mac and cheese can still be just as good, but instead of having a ton of leftovers, everyone can enjoy the meal and not have to waste time trying to find those pesky containers to fit everything in. 

Three thanksgiving pies in a small table.
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Include healthier side dishes

While some people may be in quarantine, exercising and staying healthy can be a bit more difficult. Making healthy side dishes instead can still be just as delicious, but without all the guilt. Making quinoa salad instead of mashed potatoes, yogurt with fresh fruit instead of pies, and steamed broccoli instead of green bean casserole are all healthier options. 

Use cupcake tins for smaller pies

Pies are a wonderful dessert option for any Thanksgiving dinner, but they typically serve 5 or more people. Cupcake tins are a better option if you wish to make pies but in mini portions. To make them, get all the ingredients that you would as if you were making a regular pie, however, roll out the dough and make circles using a glass or other round objects slightly bigger than that of the cupcake tins. Smaller pies are not only cuter, but they’re perfect for 1 to 3 people. 

Thanksgiving can still be fun with fewer people. It can be healthy, and safe for all. These three tips are great for anyone who wishes to have a safe, Covid free holiday for all. 

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The Future of American Health Care

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Under the Biden administration, the  Future of the American Health Care system still not clear
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With President-elect Joe Biden taking office in January, what will the future of American health care look like?

On November 6, AP called the election for Joe Biden, after passing the 270 electoral votes needed, with a win in Pennsylvania. What will the future of American health care look like under the Biden administration? 

Even under Biden’s administration, the Senate is so divided that it is unlikely that anything significant will change in the American health care system for at least two years. The debates over Medicare for All, public insurance, and federal control of drug prices, will likely lead to a standstill in the near future. Biden endorsed lowering the Medicare eligibility age and expanding Affordable Care Act grants, which is projected as unlikely to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate. 

Nonetheless, the Biden administration is planning ambitious actions to improve the future of American health care. Beyond expanding the ACA, Biden plans to help public health agencies as they deal with the continuous spread of COVID-19 and pass a stimulus bill to help support hospitals, doctors, and nursing homes. 

The most significant facet of Biden’s policy is the public option he intends to implement. This will be sold on Obamacare’s marketplaces—where nearly 12 million Americans buy their insurance—adding more competition in places where only a limited number of health care plans are available. The public option will also cover low-income Americans that cannot get insurance because their states are opposed to Obamacare. Biden’s plan will immediately enroll nearly 4 million citizens that have not been able to get health insurance because their states will not expand Medicaid. However, this plan may be too controversial to pass through Congress without a Democrat majority. 

Two arrows increasing with a bar graph in the background.
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For the majority of the 150 million people with employer-sponsored coverage, it may not make sense to join the program. They will not be able to use the money their employer pays for insurance premiums, nor can their employers choose to put their employees on the government plan. This will most likely make most people—from both large group coverage and the public option—still reliant on their job for health insurance benefits. Health insurance today is very unaffordable for middle-income citizens. However, under Biden’s plan, a family making $150,000 would pay no more than $12,750 in annual premiums

Biden will likely implement regulations to combat COVID-19. He rolled out his COVID-19 task force on November 19. The task force members include David Kessler, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner; Vivek Murthy, the former surgeon general; and Yale physician-researcher Marcella Nunez-Smith. Biden has said he wishes to implement a national mask mandate, but this will need to go through the local government. Aside from mask mandates Biden plans to work with Congress to implement several more components in his coronavirus action plan. Such as, providing free testing for all Americans, getting rid of out-of-pocket expenses for coronavirus treatment, and getting personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential workers. 

It is likely that Biden’s administration will review the regulations put forward by Trump to prevent birth control. Biden can reverse the Trump administration’s changes to the Title X program that institutes access to birth control and other reproductive health care. 

Politically, there are going to be many hoops the Biden administration will need to jump through to secure his plan for the future of American health care. The ACA—that narrowly passed eight years ago—will be brought back to court with Republicans looking to dismember it. This could mean that millions may lose their health insurance, including millions more with preexisting conditions. If the Supreme Court strikes down the ACA, Biden will put his “Bidencare” plan forward. This policy is estimated to provide health insurance to every person that resides in the U.S. legally. It will also, however, leave nearly 6.5 million undocumented immigrants without health insurance.

Stock market numbers next to green and red arrows.
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Yet, if Biden’s plan is put forward it would mean that much of the current health care system will remain in place. Workers will be able to get their health insurance through their employers, but also Medicare and Medicaid will remain. In order to do this, Democrats will need to win two Georgia Senate seats in a January runoff to reach a 50-50 tie in the Senate. Also Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris, will give the chamber to the Democrats as the president of the Senate. 

On January 20, the Biden administration is set to take office at the White House. Thus, marking a new presidency and beginning the new future of American health care.

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