This Pandemic Has Changed The Yoga World Forever
It's safe to say that the pandemic has changed the way we think about yoga studios, probably forever. Practicing in a hot sweaty room, mat-to-mat isn't something any of us want to do right now. When a vaccine arrives, this may change. But even so, a vaccine is months away, and it could take years for the it to be accessible to enough people for us to be safe.
What we like most about studios, practicing in community, breathing together, is one of the ways that the virus spreads, aerosol transmission. Wearing masks helps this, but who wants to practice yoga in a mask?
Online yoga is important. This has given us a way to maintain community while we were isolated and while we slowly crawl out of quarantine. Practicing with a group in a studio still isn't safe, unless students wear a mask.
Are Yoga Studios Dead?
This leads us to question....is this the end of yoga studios? Will online yoga replace the need for in-person yoga studios? This is difficult to imagine. As the owner of a yoga studio, it's really hard to think about. I draw on many years of studying and applying yoga philosophy to question it in an unbiased way (or as unbiased as I can be). What do yoga studios offer that home yoga doesn't?
Community. Yoga through zoom gives us some sense of community, seeing our teachers and other students. We can say hello and even peek into their home yoga spaces. It feels good to practice in the same space. But the feeling of being in the same space with them is missing.
I do believe that many yoga studios offer something more than you get from zoom yoga or working out in a gym. We strive to create a space where you are welcomed and valued, whatever your race, background, sexual identity. We cherish our students and teachers. We miss everyone, but we are hanging on.
What does it Mean to Be A Yoga Teacher
Being a yoga teacher has changed. Now more than ever, teachers connect people. They connect with students, even online. They connect students to their breath. And they connect students to each other, using technology as a tool rather than a crutch. There has been a natural filtering process. Yoga teachers have to be committed to weather this pandemic. Teaching online is challenging. Those who have persisted will be here for the long haul.
Balance Yoga has a phenomenal teaching team. They've adapted to zoom. They continue to bring yoga to you through technology and small private sessions.
I do think that small and semi-private classes will continue to be an important offering for both teachers and students. Small groups give students the opportunity to explore a particular topic and work in a targeted way that bigger group classes can't do.
What's Happening to Our Yoga Teacher Training?
This leads to our teacher training. Mikhayla and I have offered this training for five years. We planned to hand it over to AJ Durand and Meredith Murphy (Learn more about it here). The bones of the training will stay the same and emphasize deep and authentic presentation of yoga. We planned to start in September 2020 as we have for the past five years. As the pandemic hit, we watched and thought about the training. Given that the world of yoga is evolving, we are primarily offering classes online, and there is so much uncertainty in the world, we've decided to take a break from our offering this year. Some local studios are offering their training online, however, we feel that in-person teacher training will benefit our future teachers more. We also know that a training is a significant investment, and many people don't have the resources to invest in a training right now.
AJ and Meredith are planning to offer the training next year, so if you're interested, hang on. We will offer smaller workshops that will explore pertinent topics, like using yoga philosophy in a pandemic, developing a home practice, etc.
We Need Yoga Now More Than Ever
Now more than ever, we need yoga. Yoga philosophy has helped me to understand and work though events on several occasions. The idea of non-attachment is particularly important. We have ideas and plans. This is important and a part of living. But what happens when things change? What happens when kids don't go back to school, and everything is cancelled? It's disappointing. Feeling disappointment is healthy. Life is difficult right now. But if we can allow ourselves to be disappointed, but not attached to things happening a certain way, we'll be able to move through this with more ease. This is one example, but there are many more.
In some ways, the pandemic has made yoga more important. Not going to a class, but using yoga off the mat. I'm starting medical school on August 3rd. I never expected to attend my first classes from my office at Balance Yoga or to watch dissections on zoom. But hey, at least I'm starting. I'm grateful for the Balance Yoga Community.
We can do this. We can adapt. We can grow. We will continue to thrive as a community.
Will you join us?