As we step up the last flight of the 2021 staircase and into 2022, I am marveling at the resourcefulness, perseverance, acts of vulnerability and deep caring I've witnessed within our Revolution Yoga community.
New people come to the studio and tell me often how special it feels inside the space, and I quickly agree, knowing that the people who are coming to practice together are, indeed, quite special.
We began this humble journey in 2019, of course not knowing that just four months later we would be facing a global pandemic.
The studio opened in November, and it felt like we were embarking on an experiment of deep connection through the ancient teachings of this yoga practice. I remember sitting back before class in awe of the hum of chit chat happening throughout the room and loving how everyone was gelling. We had an amazing collection of yoga teachers leading the classes, holding space and showing up with joy and gratitude to share the practice. We had a lineup of workshops and special events, like kirtan and kundalini, taking shape. Things were feeling really fluid.
And then, news came of the mysterious coronavirus, and we were told to close the space. We quickly pivoted to offering online classes on Zoom, and so many of you pivoted as well, tuning in from your living rooms and maybe even a large closet. We thought it would be a few weeks, maybe a month.
Spring gave way to summer, a brief two-week re-opening, then back to shutdown. We had fun with Summer of Core all online, people joined into our Zoom classes from all over the country (I had a map that I was marking pin-drops!). We marched in support of Black Lives, and it felt like we were at the cusp of some serious shifting of entrenched patterns.
And then Fall came, colder weather, more illness, more fear, we celebrated holidays in new ways, stayed close to home and read the news about more deaths worldwide. It felt dim.
Then 2021 came with so much hope, a recognition that 2020 was the worst year to ever happen in our lifetimes, and nothing could top the great toilet paper shortage, but then there was an insurrection at the Capitol, a huge spike in Covid cases and deaths, layoffs, depression. The hopes were dashed.
Yet, you kept showing up in your living rooms and small closets to practice on Zoom. We got to know your pets, your children, your bookshelves. It felt like the yoga practice was truly sustaining us, giving us the resolve to carry on each day with less stress or anxiety, and a fuller capacity to sustain the rollercoaster of Covid.
Spring 2021 arrived, everyone was outside. Everyone had bought a new bike. Everyone had bought an RV. Travel was back en vogue, vaccines were happening. Life was opening up. But the studio remained closed.
And then, in April, we got the news we could re-open with precautions, like mandatory masking and social distancing measures in place. It was a huge gift because practicing on Zoom was getting fatiguing. Many of us had forgotten what practicing in a room full of people felt like, but was it safe to come back?
We had several yoga bubbles start up as the first entrants back in the studio. It was a wonderful first toe to dip back in, and as a teacher, it was incredible to see actual bodies, hear actual breath and share the palpable energy of the practice.
By summer we had brought some regular classes back to the studio. The state lifted the mask mandate for vaccinated folks, and you started coming back in greater numbers. We were cautious, and we were hopeful. Then in August, another spike came, and we were back to masking up regardless of vaccination status. It felt like a huge setback to all the progress we had been making to move past Covid.
We carried on with hybrid classes, and as school came back into session and the fall routine was beginning, all I could think about was there is no guarantee that anything will be as it was, that we will ever be able to plan ahead, and that this yoga practice has helped prepare me for riding the ongoing wave of change und unpredictability. There is no moment but the present one, and that deserves our fullest attention and regard.
Masking became so normal for me again, that it felt weird when I didn't have one on. Teaching and practicing with a mask was just how it was, and it was unfortunate, but doable.
People continued to marvel that we were still open, as so many other yoga and fitness studios in the area had sadly closed, and I marveled at it too, but I knew it wasn't a guarantee. We kept plugging along, offering up this practice, offering up this space with deep gratitude and little expectation.
And then, low and behold, Sonoma County offered a lifeline for gyms and fitness studios, the category we are lumped into. We could gather without masks if everyone in the room was fully vaccinated. Pivoting again, we started checking vaccination cards once more and removing the masks in fully vaccinated classes (most of them). Thank you for getting vaccinated!
I got my booster shot in early October, and I felt hopeful that we were finally moving away from the acute situation of living with Covid. Of course, it seems this will be here for the rest of our lives in one form or another, but we have adapted, we have built more resilience, we have learned a lot about so many things, about the way we want to live our lives, how we want to spend our time, and for many of us, that our yoga practice is integral.
There have been so many of you returning to your practice after a long time away. It's been an honor to welcome you into the studio and welcome you back to your practice. Things don't feel as they were, and they likely never will. I know for me, I feel more keenly aware of the fleeting moments, to appreciate the small things, to note when things feel good, rather than when I just want to complain about something. I understand to my bones that nothing lasts forever, that change is constant and holding on too tightly to anything will cause suffering.
So here we are on the cusp of 2022, the unknown stretched before us like a hazy path that lights up with each footfall forward. Whatever the next year, the next month, the next day will bring, I feel open and ready to meeting it with a feeling of possibility, gratitude and honesty.
Thank you for walking this path with me, for trusting the process, for being a part of the Revolution.
P.S. I will be having some special offerings to deepen your practice in 2022, starting with my Sunday Sangha offering focusing on Tapas, the yogic concept of maintaining a steady commitment. You can learn more about that here, and stay tuned for the run-down of what's in store starting in mid-January.