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Yoga During COVID

Let us just take a moment to grieve for the loss of our yoga communities and businesses. I know too many that have lost more than what seems like just a job. Yes, it is good to see the positives that may come out of this, but don't forget to take some time to be sad and really feel it.

I have personally experienced a big hit as I had been teaching half a dozen yoga classes a week. Just when I was getting to a place of Santosha (contentment) the world pulled the yoga mat right out from underneath me, so to speak. My whole mind was shaken to the core and felt as if it was life was torn to shreds in front of me. Sounds extreme because it felt/feels that way. Many of my fellow teachers and I started online yoga, where we CAN find ways to connect and communicate the peace and love with others. Yoga is more than stretching our bodies, but there is much flexibility needed in our minds as well. I noticed the need to pull out my Yoga Teacher Training books and dig into the teachings of self-care for me to make sense of it all. Getting back to the roots of what was shared with my by the toughest and most caring human I know, Dina Lang. Who is now losing her newly renovated studio, Santosha Yoga in Portland Oregon. This warm and welcoming space has been my home studio for the better part of a decade. I'm devastated even though we must practice non-attachment to this day, but it isn't the attachment to the building or rooms or even the beautiful ohm symbol she hand-painted on the wall that has got us feeling this way. It's grieving the loss of our tight knit community. The secure feeling of knowing you're in a safe environment to grow and open up in many ways. A place to be ourselves, take off our shoes and more importantly our egos. While, the business itself is coming to an end soon, the ripple effect will last millennia.  

More changes occurred when the gyms and outdoor spaces many of us taught at closed as well due to the outbreak of this deadly virus. Teaching in those spaces was a great opportunity to bring Yoga to those who wanted to try, but might have been intimidated by a studio setting or just new to the idea of finding that kind of movement for their bodies. A lot of my students came to the gym to experience these types of classes and in turn joined a studio to get deeper into the practice. 

Because the need for help was increased at the retirement community I worked at part-time, they were able to offer me a lifeline, more hours and training on Home Care for our elder population. This type of work runs in my family, so I thought I would be great at caring for others and thought of this as karma yoga. I am good at helping and creating joy, but it hasn't been flowers and butterflies since I do live with Fibromyalgia. The immense strain on my body and mind without the balance of Yoga classes and upheaval of stresses involved has been intense to say the least. Flare-ups occurring once a week some times more and always seems to affect others in the process. It's amazing to me how different our current reality is compared to three months ago. I cry a lot for those who cannot see their families, those who have lost and those that are still losing. Working with the highly susceptible population of those over 50 has been scary and I am hyper-aware of every action, every sneeze and every hand that I see not being washed in my daily life. It can be a bit much for the people around me, but the only other option in my mind is that the folks I work with could die if I am not paying attention. 

Let us be grateful for each breath we take and steps we make in easing out of this violent illness. It is not a war, but a call to action to those who can and are willing to step up to do the work that must be done. Love, peace and well-being to you all.  

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