Acting before processing–that’s what a lot of people have been doing since the start of this pandemic, instead of taking time to pause, to gestate. I know some of us may have felt like taking time to pause was a luxury we couldn’t afford. I personally felt like that when I started seeing so many other yoga studios setting up ‘virtual classrooms’ with live-streamed Zoom classes, etc. Or other teachers who had already been doing this sort of thing for a while and who were now trying to cash in on their expertise by selling their ‘secrets for a 6-figure income’ through Facebook ads. There was a sense of urgency, a sense of missing the boat if I didn’t take action immediately. It really started to stress me out. Especially because I was apprehensive about doing live, online classes in the first place. I’m only one person, whereas most other studios have a team of people–numerous instructors, marketing and advertising experts, IT support, etc. It felt like too much. Plus, I did not want to have to be worrying about technology and if my internet connection–or a student’s–was going to crap out in the middle of a class. (Not an irrational fear, come to find out.) That’s not the relaxing, calming ambience that I’ve worked hard to cultivate in my classes over the past two decades, and that I know my students have come to expect.
So I ended up doing two things that were helpful. 1) I talked to my ‘spiritual counselor,’ John Earle, whose simple (but not always easy) advice, in a nutshell, was “Do what YOU want to do, not what other people are telling you you should do.” And I listened to a talk with a wise yogi, Rod Stryker, who spoke of the need to pause and just sit in the discomfort. They both mentioned things like noticing when it’s our fear talking rather than our wisdom, realizing that our natural instinct is to react from a place of fear. Stryker said he personally hasn’t been doing that much in Covid-time, instead choosing to ‘gestate,’ practicing meditation and pranayama. He spoke of how these tools help clear the mind to be able to see a path ahead, even if just for today. One thing he also mentioned was that as desperate and tragic as this time is, it is also sacred. If we come out of this and don’t see a collective shift in consciousness, we need to take responsibility for our own.
We have the tools to do this: our yoga and meditation practices. I personally have chosen to create more time for both of these things while under quarantine, and I do notice that I feel better and have a clearer mind because of it. But I know that even under the best circumstances it can be difficult to keep up our practice, and see it manifest anything new or good in our lives, without the help of others. Having taken the advice from these two ‘gurus’ to sit and listen to my own inner wisdom–to pause and gestate–I still know that my yoga business model needs to ‘pivot’ to something a bit different to continue to support my students in this new Covid world. However, I have chosen to make this pivot in a way that makes me feel calmer and not so stressed-out. And I know that feeling calmer and less stressed-out is what my students need as well. To that end, I have created a *brand-new* multi-faceted course that I am happy to be offering this summer: Soothing Yoga For Stressful Times. I will be sharing more details about it soon–but you can count on it being full of thoughtful themes and yoga sequences that help you cultivate new tools and healthy habits for better navigating these stressful times.