I truly hope this note finds you well. What a ride we’re on! And an opportunity to hold onto our practice and bring it off the mat, maybe more than we ever could before.
Facing unexpected and challenging changes is an inevitable part of life, which I know many of us had already experienced – loss, death, sickness, separation, etc. These days we, as a collective, are called to stop our habitual patterns and deal with the unknown – and all the emotions and reactions it brings – at the same time and together.
Many ancient texts from different traditions (including yoga and Buddhism) have described ways and techniques helpful to navigate the unknown. The actual essence of traditional yoga, training and enhancing our capacity to be present in the moment, is indeed eventually about preparing ourselves to deal with whatever is in front of us with a sense of poise and equanimity. Some texts talk about how past and future are just ideas of the mind, given that only this moment exists, as well as other distortions which keep us away from the now and our deeper truth and cause so-called “suffering.” The practice of yoga as we know it of today, because it cultivates mindfulness through awareness of the breath and the body, definitely helps us be more OK with the unknown. And that’s good news!
Now, the not-so-good news is that a practice of being in the now, at some point, will bring a clearer awareness of our inner world, and in a difficult times thus most likely intense emotions and feelings will emerge. These days, imprinted with large degrees of uncertainty around the pandemic, will very understandably trigger challenging feelings. In addition, many of us are sensitive, and thus some will be influenced by others’ inner struggles and the current collective “turbulences.”
When intense emotions come up, they need to be dealt with. There is no question that if we deal with them by pushing them away, we simply hide ourselves from the truth. Moreover, “what we resist persists,” as the saying says, so these emotions will just hide under the surface, hijack us and drive us unconsciously into violence, stress, depression, or even paranoia. Behind an intense emotion always lies a yet-to-be-met need for love, kindness, and compassion. The respected Buddhist teacher Tara Brach describes a powerful method to deal with emotions, the acronym R.A.I.N. -Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture the need behind it. If you are dealing with inner-turmoil at the moment, I encourage you to visit her website and/or reach out to a skillful practitioner for support. I also offer online sessions of Spiritual Coaching and I am happy to support you in any way I can. (Check my website or contact me for more info.)
Relating to yoga, I think of five pillars I bring into my practice to be and deal with the unknown:
- Grounding and Stability: reconnecting to my physical body, my feet, and the support of Earth.
- Acceptance and Flow: discerning what I cannot control and be OK with it.
- Self-Esteem and Individuality: recognizing my will, individual power and capacity to make the difference and take the actions I can take!
- Faith: staying open to universal support, connecting to spirit through my practice.
- Gratitude: thankfulness for what I have, for the opportunity to learn and grow from this time.
Paradoxically, these last few weeks of isolation, confinement and quarantine have also witnessed a boom in online offerings, especially ways to connect with our communities. With my Teacher Training group, we started to do regular check-ins and morning practices online. Dance classes, concerts, dinner parties, and the like are moving to the virtual dimension. For years, I have been thinking about “going online” with yoga offerings, and now I got a feeling that the universe is whispering to my ear: “It’s time!”
If you follow the yoga scene in social media and other platforms, it is hard not to see that I am not the first one 😉! Although opinions about bringing yoga and ancient teachings into the often over-stimulating and constant offering of the SoMe are mixed, yoga also teaches us to relate and respond to what is right in front of us. And right now, all the studios are closed for obvious reasons and social gatherings are close to non-existing. Therefore, I am happy to introduce you to my first very humble yoga and meditation offerings online. My hope is that I can reach out to all of you, and maybe your closed ones, “connect to you” and offer support. Eventually, I dream that more and more people experience the benefits of yoga on their Body-Heart-Mind system, in their daily life and when going through a difficult time; that more and more hearts open and that qualities of self-awareness, compassion, integrity, and universal love spread over the world, just as the COVID-19.
YOGA to navigate the unknown
I started recorded few videos from my new home (lovely log cabin close to nature!) and they are all available freely via my website: HeartWiseYoga.com/blog. It is still very amateur, so bear with me 😉! I hope you enjoy them.
Talking about the unknown, Ania from Pakhus Yoga and I recorded some very good-quality videos. I made a 5-class series called “Navigating the Unknown” through the five pillars I talked about above, and take you into through a journey through Five Elements and Ashaya Yoga® (to access the classes, visit my blog page).
More classes are coming up with Pakhus! Some are for members, some are open to all. Donations to the studio for non-members are much appreciated, so we can re-connect together after the lock-down. Check Facebook Pakhus Yoga for updates as well as for extra Live classes and replays of the Live videos (last Facebook live video here)!
I also offer online support one-on-one with both live yoga sessions and spiritual coaching session – an opportunity to deepen and use your spiritual practice to navigate this challenging time, mixing yogic techniques and wisdom, mindfulness, and somatic modalities. Write to me or click here for more info.
My colleagues from Yoga Flat and Hamsa Studio are also sending out great videos regularly. Check them out and offer your support. I might jump in there too.
My teacher Todd Norian also is broadcasting awesome Facebook live sessions, I cannot recommend him enough! Check out his Facebook for live streams and replays!
A final note about donations.
While a multitude of offers expands online, I have a sense that a general sense of generosity also is growing. I know this time is hard financially for many of us, and my warm thoughts go to all entrepreneurs out there needing to close. In name of the yoga community, we all put a lot of heart and effort in coming online; and it’s way more difficult than what I first thought! It seems like the scene is moving towards a donation culture/or pay from the heart. If you are able to and it feels aligned with your heart, I invite you to offer your donation to the studio broadcasting or the particular teacher. Your generosity contributes to makes the heart of the yoga community continue to beat strong, so we can all still enjoy the joys of yoga when the pandemic is under control. Your yoga teacher community is deeply grateful, I know I certainly am! Only if you feel called to, you can send me your donation via Mobile Pay (50477521) or PayPal (email@example.com) for the classes sent from my home. Thank you for all your support!
More than ever, now is the time to practice! Whether it is to begin it, re-connect to it, deepen it, or share it with the world!
Thank you for your practice. The world needs it!
Let’s take care of yourself and each other. Be well. With love,