Keeping it Real
Namaste – I’m back!
You may or may not have noticed that I dropped out of social media sometime after lock-down began and only came back a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t a conscious choice, it’s just that I had absolutely no inclination, motivation, or enthusiasm to scrawl through posts or to write anything inspiring. There are a few reasons for this that some of you may well relate to.
At first, it was kind of a novelty to chill out at home, bask in the gorgeous sunny weather that we were blessed with, with my husband Brian, and give back to myself after 18 years of teaching yoga and giving to others. Also, a couple of weeks into lock-down, my son whom has been working in NZ and Australia for the past 2 years had to cancel his travel plans and fly back to the UK, it’s been so lovely having him home during this time.
I have also had to cancel or postpone so many future yoga events that were scheduled in my diary, from teacher training’s, workshops, and retreats, this has been not only disappointing but also quite stressful. I have been dealing with issuing refunds and doing my best to reply to many concerned emails. Then, there was the coming to terms with the fact that I have no future revenue in the pipeline for the foreseeable future.
Lastly, and you may find this quite funny, I became completely absorbed with and addicted to ‘online scrabble’ during lockdown and still am, although, I now set a time limit to how often I play! 😉
There have been times when this situation has felt overwhelming, I’ve missed socialising with my friends, family and of course my yoga students. I basically love being around people and teaching yoga is very much about interacting with others as well as inspiring others. I’m ashamed to say that about 5 weeks into lock-down, I had not only lost my sense of purpose and self-esteem, but my personal yoga practice had also begun to dwindle.
We are all as a collective, (not just me), trying our best to adjust to this new normality, all be it that perhaps we are struggling or striving in different ways. Some of us are also in isolation all alone, others are trying to entertain/ home-school their children while continuing to work from home and of course some of of us are part of the essential front-line workers, working extremely hard to support the whole country during this crisis.
I guess we all have our own very personal story to tell about these strange and unprecedented times too. The year we thought we were going to have, has not materialised, and now it seems we’ve entered into a very new world and are trying to do our best to come to terms with new ways of being.
It’s so easy to completely lose our sense of identity, became quite insular and consequently close our hearts and minds during difficult or challenging times.
However, I am a yoga teacher I am supposed to be among the world’s most gifted people when it comes to putting a positive spin on things (written tongue in cheek). One day, 6 weeks in to lock-down, I literally just woke up, gave myself ‘a pep talk and decided “today is the day I choose to change my mindset and flow with this new way of being”.
During the first few weeks of lock-down, I had many messages from past and present students asking me if I was planning on teaching online as many other teachers were already doing this.
I contemplated and pondered, then after attending a couple of online zoom master-classes with my own teacher, Tias Little, had decided that personally it wasn’t for me. Please don’t get me wrong if you do teach or attend live online yoga classes, it’s just that for many reasons, it didn’t sit well with me at that time and quite frankly, I was also savouring my new found freedom of giving back to myself. I didn’t want to be tied to fixed teaching dates and times (I’m also hopeless with computers and tech).
I was chatting to my daughter one day on the phone and she came up with the idea of creating a new platform for myself by recording classes and posting them to YouTube. This way, I could give back to my loyal students that have supported me over 18 years and at the same time build a new online community. I am also blessed that I have a private log cabin yoga studio in my garden – so the perfect place to take myself off to practice and film videos.
Without hesitation, I flowed with the idea. What a great opportunity to serve and support others by sharing my experience and teachings of yoga so that they may benefit in the same way I that have from the teachings that have been gifted to me over the years. Yoga has healed me and picked me back up so many times now I have lost count.
To be honest, the first few classes were quite amateurish, I was not at all comfortable talking to the camera but the more classes that I taught, the more the more the camera became my friend and the more comfortable I became. I’ve now invested in a new camera (as YouTube needs to be filmed with a landscape lens) which has made a huge difference to the quality of our videos.
Well, I never ever thought I’d hear myself saying this but the benefits of posting classes to YouTube, whilst at the same time getting my yoga back on, far outweighed my expectations, especially as I am offering these classes out for free. My simple twice weekly (or more) appointment with my body, mind and breath gave me back my motivation and I began to face each day with a new found positive outlook.
Yoga always gives back, physically, emotionally and psychologically, it offers us the resilience to withstand and adapt to whatever is going on in our lives and in the world.
I have now taught far more people than I could have possibly imagined via my YouTube studio classes, and have received the most wonderful messages from yoga teachers and yogis (not just in the UK but from all over the world). Most of these students have practiced with me in the past, either on a retreat, workshops or classes (spanning the whole of my yoga teaching career), and then have either moved away or lost touch. It has been so wonderful to read messages from yogis that I haven’t seen or heard of for years. Many positive messages have also come from local yoga teachers who no longer get the time to practice with me as they are too busy teaching now. I’ve also had a few messages from people whom I’ve never met, thanking me for my classes and saying they’ve been a real inspiration and lifeline during this time of isolation.
Each time I read a new message or comment, I’m reminded of why I love teaching yoga and practicing yoga so much. I am also more importantly reminded how hugely satisfying as well as gratifying it is to be able to give back. The energy of life is full of good will for us, even if we do not always see it or understand it, if we choose to trust this benevolence. There is an old saying, ‘The more you give, the more you get’. I don’t know exactly what this is yet, but I do have faith that there is a bigger picture here that will eventually unfold. My online YouTube platform is growing slowly but surely, I am gradually getting new subscribers to both of my websites as well as Facebook and Instagram. I’m obviously a novice on YouTube but apparently if I make it to 1000 subscribers, I may earn some money from it eventually, so please do subscribe to my channel, like the videos and comment on them (if you enjoying them).
So, giving back to my online YouTube community has literally lifted me back up, it’s given me back my sense of purpose, inspiration and enthusiasm for life and more importantly my passion for teaching yoga.
I am now choosing to open my heart to it all. I’m open to the not knowing, I’m open to uncertainty and I’m open to a being out of my comfort zone, I’m open to trying not to overthink things and as I currently do not know what the future holds, I am trusting that the universe has a plan and I’m flowing with it.
Above all, I’ve pulled myself together and embraced this new way of being. I now have time to ensure that I’m meeting my needs in terms of what and when I eat, when I relax and even simple things like taking time out for myself every day to go for a long meditative walk or run. I especially relish the fact that I don’t have to go out and teach in the evenings anymore. I treasure my nights in at home, it’s been absolutely heavenly to spend time cooking a wholesome meal and then to just switch off and relax.
I therefore wanted to take this opportunity to thank you massively for your ongoing support. This lock-down journey has been and still is providing us all with so many incredible lessons.
It takes so much courage to still love the world with all of its brokenness right now. I truly hope that you too can find it within yourself to navigate smoothly through whatever you are facing. This is an unsettling time and none of us know how long it will last. For many of us, life feels a little (or a lot) out of control. However, one thing we can control right now is how how we choose spend this time that has been given to us.
Today is another day in which we are blessed with the opportunity to rise,
To continue, and awaken.
To slowly nod with forgiveness,
Squint the eyes –
Just a bit,
I got this.
Sending support, blessings and love in abundance 🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻
PS – Big shout out to my husband Brian for supporting and encouraging me so much during this time and for being so patient when we are shooting videos. Sometimes, he has to do 10 takes before I’m happy with my opening greeting 😉🙏🏻