This is a post I contributed to the blog of my local yoga studio, Namaste, a few weeks after the Bay Area shelter in place order went into effect.
It didn’t take Namaste long at all to figure out a way to keep us students connected with our teachers and our practice. The day the shelter in place was announced, Namaste reached out with how we would be able to continue our practices through virtual class offerings.
WITH SO MANY THINGS UNCERTAIN, WITH SO MANY BUSINESSES SHUTTING DOWN, AND WITH ANXIETY OVER PUBLIC HEALTH REACHING A TIPPING POINT, WE AT LEAST KNEW WE HAD ACCESS TO OUR YOGA COMMUNITY. A CONSTANT THAT WE DESPERATELY NEEDED.
On my end, it took a few tries to get the location and setup right. Where was the best place for my laptop to sit? Which part of the living room would be ideal for my practice? Do I prefer the camera on or off? After taking a few classes, my own little practice space revealed itself to me — my balcony!
It’s not big, but my yoga mat fits stretched out. The birds chirping, the occasional car passing by, and the clinking of dog leashes serve as my soundscape. I have found myself spending savasana with my eyes open as I use the lively branches or moving clouds as visual meditations.
I own a small daycare here in Oakland. After the shelter in place order went into effect, and all of my families went into quarantine, my staff and I wondered how we would be able to offer a service like caregiving, which is so interpersonal and tactile, during a time of isolation.
I WAS INSPIRED BY NAMASTE’S QUICK AND CREATIVE RESPONSE TO THE COMMUNAL NEED FOR YOGA. AFTER MY FIRST YOGA CLASS ON ZOOM, I ORGANIZED A VIRTUAL CIRCLE TIME FOR MY FAMILIES TO MEET UP ON EVERY OTHER DAY OF THE WEEK. THE CHILDREN SEE THEIR FRIENDS’ FACES, WE SING SOME SONGS TOGETHER, AND WE REESTABLISH A SENSE OF COMMUNITY AND ROUTINE.
On the topic of routine, I have very much appreciated the ability to continue taking some of my favorite teachers’ classes. I have also been able to try classes that never used to work out with my schedule. Teachers often say that the hardest part of yoga is deciding to go. While the Namaste studios are less than a 10 minute walk or drive away, it certainly makes it easier to commit to a class when the commute only involves clicking on an email link.
Late last week, I noticed that there were five classes that I wanted to take on Sunday. Before signing up for one of them, I thought, why not take a couple that day and make it a sort of personal yoga retreat, so that’s what I did.* I wrote up a little document with my intentions for the retreat and some journal prompts and signed up for three classes: Abby’s Hatha Flow in the morning, Hayley’s Hatha Flow at noon, and Rebecca’s Yin Yoga & Meditation to close out the day. I can honestly say that I would not have done something like this if I had to drive to the studio back and forth.
Going deeper into my hOMe yoga practice is something I have always wanted to commit to. With the shelter in place order, I certainly have the time to do that now, and with Namaste’s online offerings, I also have the guidance.