Being Yogic in Challenging Times

In light of the current CoVID-19 pandemic, I thought it appropriate to reflect on how to lead yoga and and a holistic life practice in the face of challenge, adversity, and fear.   Our yoga journeys have led us to this class, this place in our practice, for many reasons. Among them and perhaps mostly obviously, it to be yoga teachers. As the global environment evolves, it calls for us to evolve our practice to not only be teachers, but also to be self leaders, and leaders in our yoga and extended communities. 

In the past two months, we in Singapore have had a particular perspective of how the virus has grown, and how the world has responded to it.   First it spread here, in Asia. Then of course to farther banks and European nations, to where it is now. Everywhere, borderless. The virus does not have a border or a culture, and perhaps that is something we can explore in our yogic practice.  That our practice is beyond culture and borders. That our practice is shifting with the times.

An attribute most leaders carry is that they can learn from adversity. They can take suffering and frustration and turn it into a learning opportunity.  Leaders have a growth mindset, instead of being fixed in a particular practice. Let’s bring this into our yoga practice.

Perhaps we learn that our own practices can shed a mold of lineage, tradition.  

Our practices can continue to evolve in the most modern version of the world.  

Our own practices should adopt compassion and service first, and should learn from communities outside of our own.  

If we approach our teaching as a unifying force and connection to each other, then we radiate and make the connections our global community needs in times of uncertainty.  We learn from each other. We rise to the occasion of community, much as our health care leaders, service workers, and members of the community are rising for the global fight now. Creating divisions, accusing others, xenophobia, and fear, is not the message of our practice.  And our world will not survive in such an environment.

As the globe goes into lockdown, we as people and practitioners are called to respect the needs of our communities.  It can be challenging, as most yoga students these days practice in studios with many people, in a physical, tangible, way.  But what the world needs right now, is for people to stay home, and to find creative ways to connect beyond the restrictions put in place by our global leadership.

As we suffer on a global scale, we are also privileged with the opportunity to connect virtually, to exercise online platforms, to practice in solidarity, or in intimate settings.   While social distancing makes yoga practice challenging for some students, the refuge we can instill in ourselves in our community is still as strong as ever. 

If you’re feeling down about your practice, about the isolation and discomfort this global shift is taking, I encourage you to reflect on some of these thoughts:

  • This time offers us the opportunity to reflect on the roots of our own practice. 
  • This time offers us ways to evolve yoga into a modern practice, beyond what it has become in its most recent version
  • This time offers us to realize our suffering and find the light in between
  • This time offers us space for self reflection
  • This time offers us a place of sharing information and selfless, country-less, unity
  • This time offers us the reminder that our own practice is always with us, wherever we go. 

And remember, this too shall pass.