As we've reopened to in-person classes, I've been getting asked a lot how I am doing. It's such a big question to answer, and I'm not always sure people really want to know the truth, but in all honesty, the last 17 months have been as unpredictable and turbulent as any spell of time I've known.
While I know that trying to predict the future is an exercise in futility, I did not imagine that opening a yoga studio just four months before a pandemic set in would be anything that I would ever have to deal with. I mean, who thinks about something like that? Infectious disease scientists, yeah, of course, but who else?
Our yoga practice asks us to practice non-attachment, aparigraha, non-clinging, non-grasping. In essence, it is to live without the expectation that what you think you have is yours or that anything is permanent. In tandem with the practice of santosha, contentment, we are asked to look at what we do have as enough. And that could be just this very moment. It is enough.
So, how am I doing? I'm riding the rollercoaster of this experience living through a pandemic through the lenses of being an American, a Californian, a business owner, a mother, a wife to an E.R. doctor who has been dealing with the pandemic firsthand, a yoga practitioner, a cat mom, a friend, and whatever other label you can place on me. Mostly, I'm trying to remain human and experience the ups and downs of this truly unexpected and challenging time. I'm trying to understand that whatever seemed normal and predictable has been not just tossed out the window, but incinerated forever. We are never going back to how things were. We can't.
The pandemic has taught me that nothing is permanent, that whatever may be planned, may not actually come to fruition, and that it is OK if it doesn't. I have learned that it's important to rest more and that I can't actually do it all, even though I may want to. These lessons are hard, and I keep bumping up against the reminders.
I've learned that it's important to say no sometimes when it feels like obligation or when I feel overextended. I've learned that I like my calendar to be less full. And I've learned that having a room full of people practicing yoga together is incredibly special and healing.
We can hold each other with compassion and respect. We can create a safer space together by being respectful of our words and actions. We can try to come into this space without judgement or expectations so we can exist just as we are and show up to experience the ebbs and flows, the rollercoaster, of our yoga practice. We can experience each breath as a new opportunity to be present. We can remember that whatever happens, we can have faith that it will pass and something new will come next.
I am like you. You are like me. And we will keep riding this wave as it rises and falls and progresses on into the future.