I have withdrawn. It was intentional – and not. With the whorl of thoughts in my mind, so much bubbled up and yet silence screamed loudest. Instagram has become Onceinabluemoon-agram, I’ve hidden my face from Facebook and obviously the monthly outreach has been less than. Herein I share my thoughts: rant or confession or simple catch-up, please read on to find out where I’ve been and where I hope to go.
Zoom-zoom. Teaching on Zoom is difficult – not so much when you’re in a small group and everyone has a camera on and we are relating and talking to one another. However, when I plan my theme and sequence, move my furniture, hardwire into my modem, and sign onto Zoom a minimum of 10 minutes before kick-off, I’m often met with… no one. Some students sign on at the last minute, many keep their cameras off, more are simply watching the video at a later date and time so they don’t show at all. That’s OK: I understand; this isn’t a guilt trip. We’re all busy and inundated. Nevertheless, 5 times a week I download my physical and emotional energy as I send my teaching into the ether, and I am drained. That’s why I’m taking August away from teaching until I can come roaring back in September.
I have no patience for social media at the moment. I understand it has been a lifeline for many, a way to stay connected from the depths of isolation; I, too, increased my scroll time at the beginning of Covid. But the online landscape has become a dumping ground of grief and complaints (see this NYT op ed “Why People Are So Awful Online”
). Touring the virtual yoga world, I have been shocked by the number of skinny White women contorting themselves into shapes that emphasize the performative aspect of yoga. Though I keep my personal practice mostly private, I’ve begun to question if some of my pics exacerbate the misconception that yoga = acrobatics. I’ve seen people, in the name of body-positivity, prancing on their mats in bikinis (and less) and sexualizing the practice in cringe-worthy ways. I recognize the positives – the outreach, the fundraisers, the change-makers that rise like cream to the top to remind us of of the importance of kindness, tolerance and inclusion. I’ve also been inundated by ads for coaching programs that seem to conspire to separate me from what I love about yoga and integrated wellness. Sometimes I despair that social media serves predominantly as an energy-sucking spectator sport for stupidity, money-grubbing and glorified drunkenness. (Delete. Unfollow.)
Yoga Paradigm Shift. Covid didn’t force the first change in the yoga “industry” which has been shifting for a long time. We are eons away from the way yoga used to be taught or transmitted. Today’s yoga features proliferating studios, shortened classes, emphasis on fitness and excessive mobility, discounts and undercutting that keep studios in a perpetual squeeze, and more. I believe those I work with have been doing what we can to maintain the depth and breadth of a tradition that has meant so much to us and that most students don’t realize the backroom challenges; they just want access to the yoga they want – and who can blame them? Don’t we all?
Me Under the Microscope. As with most of you during this period of enforced self-reflection, I have had to ask myself: What is important to me? Who is important to me? What do I really want to do, to be, to share? Who do I want to share it with? After 20 years of study and teaching and 30 years of writing and editing, I want to engineer a future that will challenge me, excite me, support me and allow me to make a difference in this world.
So here I am, taking tentative steps, on my path and perhaps sharing TMI. (I’m supposed to provide guidance and good vibe inspiration, right?) During the tough times, my commitment to well-being and ecstatic living helps me live my (and Dory’s) mantra: Just keep swimming. My desire to support others on their own individual journeys is why I am here, and why I am:
- taking on more responsibility as a writer and editor, particularly in health and wellness.
- working on my own yoga-related texts.
- leading another 200-hour deep study/teacher training program that I truly believe in.
- offering a mentoring program to support yoga teachers.
- learning more about the fitness and nutrition needs of peri/post-menopausal women.
- developing my own voice and meaningful online content for greater accessibility.
I hope you will feel comfortable reaching out to let me know how it is that I can be of service to you so we can find our way forward together. Stay healthy, breathe deeply and enjoy the summer!