Adapting to the times
Yoga teaching is still in a state of transition in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. By Paula Hines
We’re now two years on since the time when the Covid-19 pandemic had most of us confined to our homes. Where I live, in the UK, we were in the early days of our first full lockdown with mixing between households banned and all but essential businesses ordered to close. Many yoga teachers (myself included) were venturing into something they had never considered before – teaching online. There was little choice but to adapt. Had it not been for technology – and being fortunate to have access to it – I would not have been able to continue teaching.
When studios eventually re-opened I looked forward to returning, but by then I also knew I did not want to leave teaching online behind. There are numerous benefits to being able to offer practices online and for me, as a student it means I am able to practice and study with teachers I otherwise would not have the opportunity to due to geography. That said, teaching in-person is, for me, a different experience altogether and one I certainly missed when the studios were closed. To this day I offer a mix of online and in-person classes and workshops. I’m very grateful indeed that I am currently able to do both.
But the pandemic has changed things. As I type, many yoga studios have closed their doors permanently during the last two years and there are others just about hanging on.
Change is inevitable. Personally, I don’t feel things as they were pre-2020 were sustainable. For all the talk of wanting to ‘get back to normal’, I do feel that the ‘normal’ as we knew it is gone and something different is coming in its place. I say ‘coming’ because the pandemic (and its effects) isn’t over and things are continuing to shift. Also, if we are honest with ourselves, that ‘normal’ was imbalanced and unsustainable.
If we are sharing the practice of yoga in any capacity, I do feel it is important for each of us to keep examining what is sustainable for us, if we want to continue. Speaking for myself, another thing that has changed since pre-2020 is that I teach less, and consciously so, as I continue to pay attention to what is sustainable for me. I have changed since 2020 and it feels like I am still transitioning into a new phase. Being willing to adapt feels necessary.