Browsing Tag

pandemic

Lifestyle

What About the Healing?

May 20, 2021

I took a class the other day for a student who zooms in from Singapore. Just as we were about to start class she got a WhatsApp message. She (uncharacteristically) excused herself and checked it. Looking up she said, “My mom’s brother just passed away.”

I’m not sure what the ‘right’ reaction to this news is given the circumstances. The night before I heard that two of my husband’s friends have lost their mothers. During dinner my in-laws told us of a family friend, a doctor, who also succumbed. The week before that I got news that a family friend whom we’ve known since our days in Bangladesh, passed away in the hospital. Friends and well-wishers tried to frantically get in touch with her son. But in these times, the tone and timbre of our grieving has also changed. We are all going through collective trauma, ironically in isolation.

So I asked her if she wanted to take some time, call someone, perhaps even postpone the class. We ended up continuing with the class.

I woke up this morning feeling like I need a week off to clear my head. It’s perhaps a symptom of being under long term stress. We managed the first lock down by going online, catching up with friends over wine on zoom, baking banana bread and having it with dalgona coffee. This second wave has brought with it tragic news on a daily basis. So tragic in fact that we no longer check the news for numbers. So tragic that most of us have actively started to do whatever we can to help – donating, amplifying voices on social media, and even just staying in and balancing our chores with work.

Stress over a sustained period of time starts to change people. What we are living through is not only stress, but also trauma. No wonder many of us have started complaining about fatigue and a sense of disconnect from our surroundings. We feel like we’re on auto-mode, robotically marking the beginning and end of days; the beginning and end of weeks. Half of 2021 will be over next month, and many of us can’t tell the difference between this year and the last.

I’ve bought bed-sheets, new flip flops, changed the arrangement of my yoga room, joined a yoga sutras chanting class, even set up WhatsApp for Business and included that on my Facebook page. Only to realize that these aren’t the changes I need.

Resilience is a way of coping with trauma, and many of us continue to be brave. What about the healing from this trauma? Psychotherapist and counselor Simi Mathew says sometimes just hanging in there and going through the trauma is also a healing process. “But the actual healing,” she says, “which is about letting go and healing the actual scar, that happens when we are aware of it and we actively seek help for it.”

Perhaps even as we trudge through another meeting; as we look wistfully at the beautiful weather in Bangalore these days; as we stay up late doom-scrolling and wake up groggy; even then our healing is happening.

Scenes from our Liguria Yoga Retreat two years ago. Soon we shall all emerge from this time, ready to move, dine and practice together again.

Yoga

Why I May Never Teach In Person Again

November 14, 2020

Practicing new stuff I’ve learned during the pandemic.

As I write this I’m in Delhi for Diwali celebrations.  I’ve taken a week off from teaching.  Markets are a buzz, there are Diwali parties happening, many aren’t wearing any masks.  Europe is getting ready for the second lockdown.  We read about promises of vaccines, but nothing concrete.  Before travelling to Delhi I decided to get the Covid Antibody test done, and found that I’m positive for the antibodies.  I’ve been exposed to this virus, but thankfully, never noticed.  What’s more, I’m immune to it for some time.

This raises a larger, more ethical question for yoga teachers.  When is  it a good idea to go back to in-person teaching again?  One healthy asymptomatic teacher can pass on the virus to a multitude of vulnerable students.

 

I’ve been teaching students online for many years now, but this pandemic made that the norm.  For those of us who’ve been able to adopt this ‘new normal’, it’s been gratifying in so many ways.

  1. No travel time means more time to plan the class.  I was planning my classes before, but now I have more time to look at new routines and get creative in my teaching too.
  2.  Now I have more energy – not only for my own practice, but also for my students.  Classes have become more fun, more energetic.
  3. Being indoors has given me time to get to my TBR pile.  I’ve finally managed to get to books that I’ve been meaning to read for years, but never found the time to.

 

Thanks to the pandemic, I’ve been able to focus more on the art and craft of yoga and that’s why classes have become more engaging and fun.  This may just be how I teach going forward.

A few weeks ago I wrote about what I love about online yoga in this blog.

Recordings of my online classes are now up on my YouTube channel.  To get a glimpse of these classes click here.