As a yoga teacher, I must admit I have never been as busy as I am right now, in quarantine from COVID-19. This has been a time of great transformation for many of us, as we are forced to live in a completely different way than we have in the past. And, I truly believe we are at the very beginnings of how this virus will change and impact our society for years to come.
Before the outbreak of COVID-19, I was teaching online - a private session here and there, or a teacher coaching session. But now, teaching yoga online has become my main way to connect with students and teachers instead of an every once in a while event. And, I love it. It’s forced me be creative in a new way, as I create further offerings for the students already involved and the ongoing community that is, Meet Me on Your Mat.
That’s the way it’s changed my life, but that will not be the only thing that changes. The entire landscape of the yoga communities you frequent will never be the same. And, that is not a bad thing. Yes, we will lose some minor things, but it’s only in the name of reaching for something better.
I know that seems super positive of me to say, but if you know me or have read my writing for some time now, you know that’s how I roll. I like to move forward and think about how I can serve in the moment, instead of focusing on the past.
So, here are some of the ways your yoga practice will forever be changed since the outbreak of COVID-19:
- Virtual classes are here to stay. We have seen a surge in online yoga classes and offerings during this time. And, once more and more yoga students and teachers use this forum, they are going to want to continue to access its power to connect you with the teachers you love. Now, if you move across the country, have weird office hours, or can’t take time away from your family, you still have an opportunity to work with your favorite teacher. Kind of cool, right?
- The studio or yoga spaces where we gather are going to have to lift up to a new level of clean. You can’t even debate this topic. I know over my time on the mat, I’ve practiced in less than ideal conditions when out of town, visiting various studios. There were some that could have been a little cleaner. There were corners and spaces I turned a blind eye to, in order for me not to be a little grossed out. That will no longer be tolerated after this international incident. The students that frequent yoga studios, or truly any fitness center, will expect the highest level of sanitary conditions.
- Hands on corrections and assists will be a thing of the past. Yoga teachers are going to have to learn new ways to assist their students. I am not a big fan of hands on corrections or assists, though I will use them when working with students I have a long relationship with if it's necessary to wake them up to something new. Hands on assists have been controversial for a long time now. As a yoga teacher, it's time to think about whether these types of corrections are actually needed or effective when we're living in a society that current says, "stay away from each other."
- You will always know how to set yourself up for home practice. You are being taught how possible a home yoga practice is for your wherever you live. Gone is the excuse you couldn’t make it to the studio. And, I believe that home practice is the real deal. My home practice is way more intense than when I go to the studio. Why? I can always try a posture again, or take longer with the posture I’m working on. You can explore, and create, and move your body where it needs to be moved that day. Home practice opens you up to a world of possibilities for your practice. And, now you have that for yourself no matter where you are. Awesome.
- You will own your own mat, block, strap, etc. Gone are the days of rental mats and community props. But, maybe that’s for the best anyway. Have your own tools. Take care of them properly and they will last your lifetime. Invest in your practice. These things are not overly expensive, especially if you purchase quality brands that have a reputation of lasting for a good long while.
So, that’s not too scary, is it? In fact, it will raise the yoga industry to a new level of professionalism that it’s been heading towards anyway. And, it’s all in the name of keeping your yoga practice going and keeping you safe.
A yoga practice is here to keep you healthy and vital. These might be uncertain times, but keeping up your practice is not only possible, it’s more important than ever. And, studios and the yoga instructors you love, are working hard to help you during this uber weird time in human history. Know that they've got your back.
Keep going. Figure out what you need to figure out to keep your yoga practice in your life. And, know that though things will be different, that doesn't mean that they won't be better.
Tori Hicks-Glogowski is an online yoga instructor and yoga business coach and mentor for yoga teachers. She is the author of the book, "Views from the Podium: The Life & Times of a Hot Yogi," and has been writing and sharing her yoga experience for the past seven years. Find out more about Tori now.