The Elation of the Wheel: Yoga and Long Covid

James Grigg
4 min readApr 13

On returning to an out-of-practice yoga pose in the face of long-covid; rediscovering the ability to breathe.

Photo by/of the author

I’ve lately been trying to return to regular yoga practice. It’s been a while. I used to do yoga daily with a tight-knit group of friends, but as our group drifted apart geographically, so did my good habits! I’ve been on and off attempting to focus myself back to regular practice ever since, but finally, it seems to be covid that has given me the drive to do so.

Last autumn I got covid, and the lingering effects of long-covid have haunted me in the months since (although thankfully, finally, do seem to be easing the last few weeks). My breathing has been quick to turn to breathlessness with fairly minor physical activity. My pulse races along with that, sometimes accompanied by quite alarming chest pains (six-months post-infection I finally got pointed towards a cardiologist about that, and now more testing awaits!). And tiredness can often consume me following what would have once been unthinkingly easy routine tasks and activities.

It has been, to put it mildly, rather frustrating.

I’ve learned to restrain myself. A once routine cyclist for all my comings and goings, I now limit myself to hyper-local necessary tasks, like buying food. Even that can be taxing; the recovery time from even those very short-distance trips seems wholly unreasonable.

Some of what I’m feeling is layered with fear; when my chest tightens, I wonder if 35-year-old me might be about to suffer a heart attack.

I could go on at length about my great frustration, resentment even, for a society that seems perfectly willing to let this cursed disease infect and re-infect us en masse. But that’s a tale (a rant) for another time maybe. I know at least I am lucky it didn’t already do me more critical harm, be it deadly at infection, or an even more crushing form of post-covid.

But yoga at least is helping me.

When I first resumed practice a couple of months post-covid, it was really really hard. My breathing was uncontrollable, even holding the most basic poses sent me spinning into breathlessness. Having significantly reduced my physical activities in the face of that sort of response in…

James Grigg

Artist, environmentalist, vegan, feminist, atheist, nudist, cyclist, chocoholic, trekkie. Interested in issues of sustainability and equality —