Like many of us, there are moments these days when I’m in mourning for the yoga world that was. As retreat season here in Quebec rolls around, memories of past events popped up on my feed this week. With places around the world slowly opening up, teachers have reached out to me with questions about how, when and where they will go back to giving in-person classes. There are so many questions and very few clear-cut answers.
As I’ve seen some big-name, corporate studios close their doors, I admit that on one hand I’m relieved to see that the unsustainable bubble of studio chains and teacher-training machines finally might be bursting for good. At the same time, my heart goes out to small, local studios who are struggling. As a former neighborhood studio-owner myself, I know first-hand the commitment and sacrifice that goes into supporting an in-person community, and the tremendous value you bring to the lives of your students.
Yes, the yoga world is in an undeniable freefall, like so much else in our society and possibly in our lives. But in some ways, I also see this as yoga’s perfect moment.
Because if yoga teaches us anything, it’s that we can change, we can evolve, we can shift, and we can emerge from our challenges triumphant. I believe we can all come out stronger, more committed to and inspired in our yoga on the other side of all of this, whatever that looks like.
But it requires that we turn within. We will need to go deep.
Now’s the time for us to observe what’s going on within us and around us. It’s a time to give ourselves permission to question, to explore what’s calling out to us, to feel where we’re being drawn to serve. It’s a time to get in touch with the meaning yoga brings to our own lives, and to allow it to serve us. It’s a time to clarify our needs and values, to reconnect with the power of our heartfelt intention and stand strong in what we envision for ourselves and those we serve.
It’s a time to get clear on what we want to create, how we want to rise from the ashes, both individually and collectively.
I think of the many friends who have shared with me how their practices are helping them to weather these months. Like the teacher who found herself shaken to the core upon receiving news of a loved one’s death from Covid-19. She instinctively went to her cushion, as she had been doing for decades, and started practicing alternate nostril breathing. Within moments, her state shifted, and she was able to attend to the needs of the moment. And the student in my recent Bhagavad Gita course who found a lifeline in the practice of remembering beauty and goodness to find hope and to ground and steady an anxious mind.
While the future of the yoga industry is far from certain, what is certain is that there will be a future for yoga, for the practices and understandings that must be brought to bear on the healing that’s so direly needed in our world. And that future begins with us, our own resolve, our own commitment, our own dedication, our own intention, our own vision.
Yes, a new paradigm for yoga will emerge and it will begin with each of us. Yogis, we have our work cut out for us.
Our free, online bonus content is designed to complement and enrich your experience of Evolving Your Yoga. Resources like video pose tutorials, downloadable journaling prompts, breathwork, guided visualizations, and more will support your exploration of each of the Ten Principles for Enlightened Practice.