The challenge of moving out of lockdown, listening to the voice within, and what we want to bring forward into the next chapter.
As I write this, the latest news offering is that studios and gyms can re-open their doors to the public on the 24th July. I’m not quite sure yet how I feel about this.
On the one hand, I have missed the energy we create together in face-to-face settings. I miss seeing your beautiful faces and catching up on all your news. I miss the sense of community we cultivate together through regular meetings.
From a teaching perspective, I miss tuning in to the playlist as we practice and taking cues from the lilts and energy offered by the music. There is nothing quite like breathing, moving, practising together.
Having said that, this time has offered us so many unspoken gifts. Gifts that I personally had been yearning for but had no idea how to draw into my life.
For me, the simple act of having more time at home has been truly nourishing and restorative. In the first instance, it has quietly nudged me into a practice of gratitude.
How fortunate I am to have a home with ample room for the five of us and our dogs, to have a garden with enough space to grow veg, to have a space to teach and practice in, and to feel safe.
I realise that I had been quietly yearning for something I couldn’t put my finger on. My days pre-pandemic would a hectic swirl of activity - rushing from class to class, facilitating 1-1 sessions, dog walking, house chores etc.
More often than not, the family would be arriving home as I was be leaving. I was busy enough to notice anxiety bubbling away under the surface but never felt like I needed to address it. It became the norm: keep going, no questions, push away those nagging little whispers for stillness aside.
...And then lockdown landed.
From 100 miles an hour to zero, just like that. It was huge. Suddenly we were all engulfed in uncertainty and anxiety. How many of us floundered in those first few weeks?
I tried to keep as much structure as possible. Dog walk at certain times, workouts, class planning, and of course need to up my tech game! I would say to myself that I wanted to create space for stillness but I would then fill my days to bursting.
And yet the whispers calling me to slow down were getting louder.
I felt immense pressure to keep up with the amazing offerings other yoga teachers were putting out into the world whist still managing with all five of us suddenly at home (hello home schooling!) and three dogs. Trying to navigate online teaching and coping with my puppy dog, Olive, who has severe separation anxiety was a challenge to say the least! I'm sure you'll have noticed her - she continues to be my sidekick for every Zoom class!
Four weeks in, I could feel myself crumbling.
Not in a dramatic way, but enough for me to realise that I was super anxious. Each time I stepped on the mat to teach, my breath was short, my heart was beating out of my chest and I often felt close to tears. I tried to mask these symptoms but they were all there (including a mouth full of ulcers. All of this layered with the frustration that I feel I ought to have my anxieties sorted by now! If only!
It was time to start practising what I preach.
So I began to listen and lean in. I tuned in to my body and noticed that its aching. I dropped into my heart and paid close attention. What I discovered was no surprise. I don't think it ever really is when we finally get round to acknowledging what lies beneath.
We all know what we need to do to feel happy and fulfilled. We simply need to be willing to accept the changes that will most likely need to be made for it to become a reality.
I took a week off from teaching. It was so needed and welcome. I began to slow down. I read, gardened, practiced for myself. I leaned in, I journaled and I continue to shape my reality based on my heart and my inner vision of the life I wish to create for myself and family.
The challenge now appears to be based around how we take what we've learned forward as we move into another transitional period.
What do we want to hang onto and take with us into the next chapter?
For me, I want to carry the joy I've found in connecting with you all remotely. I really believe there is a place for both online teaching as well as ‘real life ‘ teaching. I also know in my bones that I want to spend more time at home.
I love creating classes, workshops, essential oil blends. I love writing and would love to explore developing that craft in more depth. I love people, I love community, I love my own company.
So my intention over this period is to find a way of weaving these joys together without slipping back into old, unhelpful patterns.
As the studio doors reopen, I would love to know how I can continue to be of best service to you... Would you like to continue live-streamed classes or do you feel "zoomed out"? What have you enjoyed, what would you like more of or less of?
The transition to online over the last 4 months has only worked because of you and your trust in me so thank you. I will continue to do my best for you all as we go forwards.