Spring 2020 – Embracing the New Normal

I have to admit, this is not how I imagined ending the term.  Spring is in the air, and I should have been looking forward to a relaxing few days in Aviemore with my girls, followed by spending time with family, theatre trips, yoga workshops and days out in the sunshine.  I had a moment last week as I crossed everything out of my diary when I felt very miserable indeed.

Still, we are where we are, and there is no point clinging to should haves or what ifs.

This is when the real yoga practice begins.  Not making shapes with our bodies, but changing our state of mind.  It’s time to let go of the things we have no control over, and instead focus on what we can do to make a difference in ourselves.  We can take care of ourselves and our families by trying to stay positive, and equally by admitting that it is okay to not be upbeat all the time.  We can acknowledge all the emotions that come to visit us, and know that these feeling will pass and other ones will take their place.  A teacher once told me that practicing yoga means things will make a deep impression, but that impression will not last.  We strive to live fully in the moment, allowing each moment to affect us deeply, but letting each moment pass as we move into the next.

Many of you will know that I love delving into yoga philosophy as much as I enjoy the physical aspects of the practice.  I’ve been drawn to the Yoga Sutras over the past week.  Rereading my favourite translation (Nischala Joy Devi’s from The Secret Power of Yoga) and reflecting on what these have to teach us in our present situation.

‘Acknowledging abundance (Aparigraha), we recognise the blessings in everything and gain insights into the purpose of our worldly existence’

Maybe we can appreciate what the current situation has given us rather than what it has taken away.  It may be incredibly difficult trying to navigate a full time job from home with two children also in that home, but I have the pleasure of seeing my girls so much more.  They are missing their activities, and missing their friends, but now we have a little more freedom in what we can do and when.  The last few weeks have been crazily busy, but I am managing to get on my own mat every morning, and even connect more often with my own teacher as she is closer through a screen than in real life.

‘To preserve openness of heart and calmness of mind, nurture these attitudes:

Kindness to those who are happy

Compassion for those who are less fortunate

Honour for those who embody noble qualities

Equanimity to those whose actions oppose your values’

I think this says it all.  If we act through kindness and compassion, and don’t let others bring us down, we can find peace and happiness within ourselves.

It has been a rollercoaster of emotions over the past few weeks.  First the uncertainty about what was going to happen.  Then relief and elation as I managed to teach online and connect to you all though my screen.  Then sadness as I came down from my high and realised how much I missed the in person connections from my work.  More uncertainty as I tried to work out how I could realistically continue to teach without depriving my girls of the support and love they need at the moment.  And now, I suppose the best word to describe where I am is hope.  I am hopeful that I can continue to share my love of yoga, even if it is through a screen.  I am hopeful that this practice can help you through these challenging times as much as it helps me.  I am hopeful that from this, I can learn (about myself, my family, the world).  I am hopeful that I can continue to act from a place of love and compassion.

Next week I am not teaching any classes, to give myself a chance to recharge and connect fully with my family.

From Monday April 13th I’m back online with a slightly altered timetable of classes (see the end of this message).  I would love it if you could continue to support me through this time.  Whether that is by signing up for a class for yourself, your child, or simply spreading the word.  The benefit of online classes is that I can connect to a much wider audience.

If finances are an obstacle to continuing classes at the moment, I am offering a 50% discount on all classes to those who’s income has been reduced due to COVID-19.  You can choose which price to pay when booking classes.  If you would like to attend a class and it is still out of your budget please contact me, without embarrassment or hesitation.

And remember to breathe deep, smile and notice the good times.

May I be happy and healthy

May I be safe and loved

May I be kind and caring

May I know that all is well

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

With love Sarah