You’re going to get a double post day today (it’s a Moon post), so keep your eyes on your inbox. You all should have gotten the newsletter that Trillium will remain “virtual” until at least mid-June. If you did not, and would like to, please message me.
Kripalu closing until 2021 really hit home last night for me. It’s been like a second home to me and the foundation of my Ayurveda, Yoga, and Dinacharya (daily self care rhythms). It’s been a place of refuge, growth, and connection. One of those places that even if you don’t go, you know is there waiting for you when you need it. Faith and spiritual communities in all shapes are urging their places of worship to keep to on-line services and keep their doors closed for the duration of 2020. It’s tough and really painful stuff to think about. It got me thinking more about the confusion and itch around reopening yoga classes.
When the phasing outline came out on Monday, I was itching to reopen. I found that it wasn’t clear where I fell on the spectrum of phases, so I looked at the current guidelines instead. I thought: I could teach classes with under ten students in my giant backyard with masks. I could open the space above the garage. It’s huge. We could easily be six feet apart if I capped the class size. We could wear masks. Does yoga count as a “place of worship”? Yes, that thought crossed my mind. It’s not.
After that initial Vata Tizzy (Vata is fed by fear and uncertainty), I slowed down, took a pause, and then dug deep into truth and integrity. I had to accept that yoga is not a phase one priority and essential business (much as I’d like to think it is). If we argue that yoga is a place of healing, doing something that potentially holds a high risk of spreading illness seems counterintuitive.
The point of the “phase” system creates an opportunity to ease into opening and see how it affects numbers before opening more. If we all skirt the rules to open, we may find ourselves a part of slowing down the reopening process if there is a larger than expected spike in cases. This spike will harm not only individuals who become ill and their families, but it will affect all the other businesses down the line. I know, we want to open. Each one of us can argue why our work is essential, it’s why we do it, we’re passionate about it. We don’t want to find that in our desire to offer calm and healing space that we have done more harm than good.
Yes, it all comes back to the Yamas (our social ethics) as guides. The foundation of everything else in yoga is nonHarming (kindness, Goodness).
Perhaps I hold yoga to a higher standard, but if we can do our part to set an example and slow down progression we are doing our part to serve the society we live in. We might even be saving lives. Maybe you think it overly cautious, and maybe you’re right. It’s very likely that my backyard yoga class won’t cause a ripple effect of illness. It’s very likely that my small yoga class will do more good than harm. It’s really easy to look back and say “see, we could have”, but do we want to take the chance on looking back and have to say…”oops.”? We can’t save everyone, but we can do our small part. Each small goodness ripples out.
And on this trajectory, if all goes well, it seems (things change, don’t hold me to this) we’re holding out for another few weeks to around a month before we can cautiously begin to hold small, safe (maybe outdoor is best) classes. If that’s not the case, things went downhill and we’ll find out that we certainly shouldn’t have been be holding even small gatherings now. At this point, a few weeks or a month seems a small price to pay. If we are patient, we can have more clarity around whether it is safe to have gatherings and not be a part of a spike in illness (and Harm) and a slow down in reopening.
Patience and contentment are part of the practice. We ARE doing yoga. We have learned the tools to meet life’s challenges with grace (we don’t have to be perfect). And we are not without yoga, we do have Zoom and Facebook Live and other options. Many of them are free or reduced in price. It’s not perfect, but we can still connect while we practice patience.
Yes, I am as itchy to open my classes back up again. I am as hungry for a hug. I am as desperate to see the faces of my students. But I can not pretend to be an essential phase one business. I fall on the cusp of phase two and three, so you’ll see me thinking about small group RSVP classes when we get into phase two.
In the meantime, wash your hands. Wear a mask. Cultivate and nurture love of home and family. Reach out for support when you need it, even if it’s just a temporary spike of need. We’re here for one another.
To my sisters and brothers opening in phase one and scrambling to navigate and comply with new regulations, I honor you and I am here for you (reach out). To those who have closed doors or downsized, I send you deepest heartfelt love. To those of us waiting for phase two and three (and beyond), I honor your patience and grace.
A huge thank you to my students and clients for your patience and support and love. I am blessed to have an amazing group of students behind me. Thank you.
Love and BeeWell.