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"What a wonderful life—my quarantine experience on the 36th floor of the Hilton Sydney!"

I just returned from Japan 3 days ago. Immediately after I arrived at Sydney airport, I was escorted by a young, friendly Defence Force man to the bus headed for the hotel where I would be spending the next 14 days in quarantine. As we departed the airport, we were informed that our destination was, in fact…the Hilton Sydney hotel.

My room is on the 36th floor with 2 sealed windows, views of lots of buildings and the blue sky. Luckily, the room is big enough to do yoga practice…well, almost—it’s not quite large enough to do mandalasana (‘Around-the-world’ pose). I still need to move the mat around depending upon the posture, though. Before arriving, my biggest concern was that I wouldn’t have enough room to practise, so I’m very relieved.

All meals are delivered outside of the room and I need to wait for at least 10 seconds before I open the door to receive them. I requested vegan food—mainly raw—and although I appreciate that the hotel tries their best to supply lots of variation, as I expected, there are not many fresh fruits and vegetables that I would normally eat. I basically expected this to happen, so I bought a portable juicer with USB charger from Japan and ordered fresh fruits and vegetables from Woolworths. Now I can make my smoothies and juice, too. 😊

My life here is still quite normal. The extra time is not an issue for me. My normal yoga asana practice, pranayama, meditation etc. takes 4 hours, anyway.

One big bonus is that I don't need to use an alarm clock. I just wake up when my body is ready to do so. That never happens in my normal, family life.

In the afternoon, I walk around the room with my sister, who is currently still in Japan. When she goes for a daily walk, she turns the video phone on so I can see the view of my home town and chat with her all the way through. That takes 1 and a half hours.

I enjoy long Zoom® conversations with my friends without needing to worry about time.

Surprisingly, I am still quite busy, even though I don't need to work or look after my family.

When I heard about my friends’ experience with quarantine, most of them mentioned that there is no fresh air, no contact with people and such and such—often negative points of view.

What I have found, however, is that life in quarantine is quite comfortable and enjoyable.

I was wondering why it is that I can enjoy life. Two things occurred to me: one is strength; the other is flexibility. I have been learning to find the balance between these two dimensions through yoga.

Continuing yoga practice every day gives me great discipline. It is like the pillar in my life. For example, I refrain from eating too much throughout the day in order that it doesn’t affect my yoga practice. This discipline makes people very strong and makes people healthy: both physically and mentally. Adhering to yoga philosophy, such as "ahimsa," determines what I should do each day, even when I live completely by myself. I could go ahead and do whatever I want, but when I reflect on preventing self-harm, I decide to continue exercising and eating healthy food. Yoga philosophy keeps me strong.

I learn flexibility from yoga practice and philosophy as well. When our mind is flexible, we don't need to attach to anything permanent. For example, in Cairns there is always fresh air through the windows, and I can enjoy walking with my bare feet on the ground. But since I cannot experience that here in my hotel room, I simply stop focusing on those things. I just focus on what I have here at this moment. So even if there is no fresh air or soil here I can still enjoy feeling the sunshine through the windows.

Be in this moment and appreciate what we have. Enjoy each single moment whenever, or wherever we are by using our creativity. I believe that is the key to being happy.

Namaste



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