As the year comes to a close, It’s safe to say that we have all struggled to some degree as a result of the pandemic. From its start dealing with a fair amount of anxiety, feelings of loneliness and isolation, fear for our health and for our families and friends, massive suffering of lost lives and livelihoods, and likely, just some combination of all of it.
As a yoga teacher, continuing to teach during this time has been an immense gift and anchor. I am grateful beyond words that Bend and Bloom Yoga was able to establish their online presence for classes so quickly and efficiently, and that students took the leap and adapted to online yoga along with us. Its been no small feat. From the studio closure in March, and then the physical space dissolving in July, and now the launch of Brooklyn Flow – the platform for Classes On Demand – the community remained together and figured out how to stay steady in yoga practices in less than ideal circumstances.
Resilience is the word that comes to mind when I think of what I learned from 2020. As yoga teaches us to remain flexible to shifts, large and small, predictable and unpredictable, self chosen or surprising, the ability to keep going and find another way is a theme that resonated throughout the year.
I’m so grateful to all of you for keeping me going and attending the virtual classes. Special thanks to all of the Advanced Practice Mondays peeps, who joined in when this weekly class breathed itself to life from my living room in March. Its proved to be a weekly regular ground wire and space for serious deep work in asana, and a place to channel and transmute some of that anxiety into deliberate action. I’m deeply grateful to Unit 108, a small yoga studio here in Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn, for opening their doors for me to teach from there and finally get out of my living room.
This year also marked a first – a Shaktiyoga New York Teacher Training to start in person, and complete online. We really went with the flow on this one, quickly shifting the content to an online format, deciding to take a pause during the summer months, and reconvene in a split learning environment in September. The group is an unprecedented first generation to learn to teach yoga on Zoom as a primary means, and teaching yoga in person as a secondary means to much smaller groups of individuals (wearing masks!). Hats off to the 2020 kula of graduating trainees, whose enthusiasm for learning never wavered, and patience, even though tested, proved to be an essential resource. Thank you, each of you, as I learned along the way with you.
I am deeply in awe of all the local teachers in Brooklyn, all of New York, and everywhere throughout the globe who utilized their skills, created new ones, tapped into even more humility, and channeled Grace to be steadfast and show up for students and for each other. The Local to Global world of yoga is quite established now, with many of us teachers who’d talked forever about creating online content finally having platforms to teach and offer classes, workshops, and trainings. I never thought I would do it, but now my Vimeo page is a living studio-without-walls with free content, as well as Advanced Practice Mondays classes available On Demand. I’ll be adding more classes and workshops as 2021 takes hold.
This year certainly tested ability to count blessings. One big bit of luck was that the Myth Immersion Retreat to Costa Rica in March happened, and we arrived home just before the grand closures. Although there’s still some uncertainty at this moment about travel, the March 2021 dates are set and registration for Costa Rica retreat is open. We all want to get away, no doubt, and my optimism usually takes front seat during times like this. If all goes well I intend to be back on my favorite beach, listening to the mccaws and scoping out the monkeys with a limited number of enthusiastic students, breathing deeply the sea and rainforest energy together. As our outlooks and opportunities broaden again, there’s a second retreat planned in October 2021 to Spain, co-taught with my buddy Peter Goodman. Just like in asana, I’m going to be steady and flexible, but registration for both these retreats are indeed open.
As this cycle of a calendar year comes to a close, I like to remember that everything is constantly in motion. The earth has no idea what day it is, nor do the trees, or animals who walk, fly, or swim, yet the cycle is unbroken. It just goes on. Like asana, we repeat breath and movement on a continuum, often times pausing to focus on actions, refine, or self reflect. This process helps develop our curiosity, creativity, empowerment, and self sufficiency to stay the course and keep going, one pose to the next pose, one practice to the next practice. Our progress may not be visible in those moments but over the long haul, its between practices we can recognize our growth. The change of the year can be a pause to reflect, gather, release, and begin again since each cycle builds on the last. Same as we build our lives on this continuum of a calendar year, and yoga practices build on each other, hopefully developing greater curiosity and awareness as the days change. I’m happy to kick 2020 hard out the door too, but I also humbly know we’ve got a bit more of the same-same coming at us for the immediate future. So, its all in motion, as much as it stays the same. Resilience pays off.
Thank you again for staying with yourselves through yoga. My deepest love, respect, appreciation and wishes to each of you for a Happy and most of all, healthy New Year.
UPCOMING: FRESH START! A New Years Day practice: 12 noon. www.brooklynflow.com