We have been through a lot. I can say with conviction that we now adapt more easily to new situations - which is an excellent skill to have from our recent experience.
Positive Take Away
I can only speak for myself but I am taking something from the past year to blend into the future. One in particular, the value of friendship - I appreciate the people in my life like no other time. The circle seems to have shrunk a bit, but the people in my life are solid. I am sure this applies to many of you out there. I can rely on my friends when I need help and I am committed to be there for them when they need me. Committing ourselves to anything from our daily practice, friendships, environments and talking truth is a spiritual act.
Seeing people for who they are can be very difficult at times, especially concerning those close to us. I am (still) learning to let go of difficult opinions and try and see the real reason behind those words. I also try to see positives in situations, however difficult they may be.
What Is Yoga Now
Yoga practice has been evolving through this period for me. Yoga is not about stretching or headstands, although they do happen. Yoga is therapy. It's a practice to connect to our inner self, a way to appreciate our world, nature and all our differences, a way to let go of unhealthy desires, and to create a more balanced life.
Off-the-mat-stuff like yamas and niyamas (the ethical guide to living a yogic lifestyle) provide a clear passage to deeper awareness and spirituality from the outset. Yoga helps balance my life so I don't fall into unhealthy places - temptations are everywhere that can pull you to the dark side!
There are days where it feels the pains in my body deeply coincide with the pains in my mind. I always know when my yoga isn't working when I am negatively affected by trivial things. When this happens, I review and update my practice. Doing the right practice helps me see the signs of unhealthy thinking patterns, before I get caught. I also review my lifestyle, what I eat, drink and how I spend my time.
Everything is intertwined and accountable. Sharpen your inner eye, see the big picture, then ask yourself - what do I want out of my life? What is my purpose?
A good practice should help you access your inner self. This is the ultimate tonic. Such a practice should have the right amount of challenge to keep you engaged and focused so that the mind wanders less. It should highlight the blind spot in your mind which tries to gain objects (poses) at any cost (injuries). Yoga poses and the depth of meditation advance with more practice, however, it's an organic process. These happen over a long time and you will gain insight and wisdom along the way. Managing injuries is definitely wisdom building.
Most importantly, yoga should be practiced without attachment. As long as attachments exist, there will be obstacles on the path. Yoga is a lifetime study.
'We are what we repeatedly do'
Yoga and Tech
I know that yoga on Zoom isn't for everyone. But I'd like to encourage you to try to just listen for cues and only watch the screen when necessary. For example, most of what I teach is so simple, that yoga can take over the neocortex activity. You are still collectively practicing and energy is channelling together at the same time wherever you are in the world.
I try to feel the energy. I believe energy is fluid, so having different locations even in different time zones shouldn't stop it from transmitting. We are interconnected through energy. I always take time for my own inquiry so I can share yoga as authentically as possible in whatever way I teach. It's my responsibility.
Let's keep our thoughts clean and keep an eye on it. That way, we can avoid getting pulled into a negative energy cycle. Even if we get caught from time to time, as long as we notice, we can get out of the cycle.
Let's treat ourselves kindly and gently, the polar opposite of harshly and brutally. I laugh at myself as I write this because I have done just that in the past and got nowhere with it. I've learnt that if I am good to myself, it becomes easier to be nice to others. It took almost 5 decades to realise this simple life hack!
ahimsa, satya, aparigraha - from Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
3 of the 5 yamas (ethical guide to yogic life)
avoid harm in actions and thoughts, be truthful, avoid grasping
All will be well everyone. Let's keep talking to each other. Let's be kind in our thoughts and actions.