May 25-28, 2020
This blog is specifically for those who are most economically effected by the lockdown. Since the beginning of my teaching, as many of you know, I never wanted money to be what kept people from taking yoga classes with me. That philosophy has been guiding my sharing of yoga practice for most of 3 decades, especially during the last decade of offering donation yoga.
Now with the lockdown of the past two months plus, MANY people are out of work, or severely restricted in their usual jobs, but everyone is still in need of yoga practice and the peace that it can facilitate. In fact, people seem to be in even more desperate need of yoga practice than they had been previously. No matter your situation, this has been a more stressful time for everyone on the planet than any we remember in most of our lifetimes. So I still, of course, continue to offer yoga completely by donation.
Some have contacted me personally and said that they couldn’t contribute for every class, or they have to contribute less, even much less or none, than they had previously. Some have “disappeared” partly as a result, in some cases, of not being able to contribute. This personal contact, or “disappearance,” is very sweet, though ultimately unnecessary from my perspective because I know the Love and Goodness that everyone who takes yoga with me has (and that underlies all human beings, however hidden it may be in some cases). I know that people have been and will continue to share what they are able, AND I HOPE, I EXPECT, that everyone, maybe you reading this, will please please please please feel free to take as much yoga with me as you need/can/want, now or ever, whether you can contribute anything financially or not. If this hope of mine translates for you right now as “Ti is offering free yoga,” then yes, please FREE YOGA HERE!
This is my “bottom line:” it’s not “how much can I make,” but “can I guide/offer a meaningful yoga experience and have people grow in their yoga practice and into their True Selves.” Period. Yes, I do make my living doing this, but again, if that means I’m offering free yoga to those who need it when they need it, then yes, that’s what I’m doing. In a workshop many years ago with Erich Schiffmann, someone had asked him if he was going to keep teaching yoga “forever,” and he said, “I’ll keep teaching yoga as long as I can.” I thought, “Me, too,” and I still feel/think that way.
I don’t know what will happen with the studio in the future, but at this point, the online classes are working for people and are financially sustainable, and I intend and expect them to continue, even if/when in-person classes resume. I can’t express the gratitude I feel for the generosity of everyone during this challenging time and over the years, and here in this moment, I just want everyone to know that if you have a space and time to do yoga, and a way to connect to the internet or even use a dial-up phone (you can even phone in with Zoom!), please show up to the Zoom classes, whether you can donate for them or not. Seriously! I can’t say this strongly enough.
From my point of view, part of what has Covid be the need of the day is that we have built a system based on greed, even exploitative greed, and I hope to offer/be part of an alternative vision. I remember in one of the Star Trek movies when they went back in time, and the people of the past (our future) asked how the people from the future had paid for their ship and everything, and the Star Trek crew said, “Oh, we’ve grown beyond money.” Something like that. For myself, I don’t know HOW that growing beyond money is going to happen, but I hope we as a species can, and I’m open to doing my small part in that direction, even while operating in a system that very much requires me to utilize it.
EVERYTHING has changed, y’all! It was always, always changing, but now it’s just so obvious. We have an opportunity to envision something new: if not that (how the world was), then what??? What do we WANT our future to look like, given some limiting parameters, many of which we were in such desperate need of? We obviously needed to be FORCED to limit the amount of environmental degradation we heap on the Earth so needlessly, whether we were doing it purposely and consciously (e.g. driving when we really should have walked or biked, habitually using single-use plastic, etc.) or unconsciously and simply because we are born in and forced to participate in a bigger system that doesn’t care about anything OTHER than the short-sighted “bottom line” of how much money “they” can make. What if we can make a future WAY better than we could have on the previous trajectory? Why COULDN’T we make a better future than we could have in the previous way?
We are offered here an opportunity to get over any feelings of smallness or fear—in whatever form, wherever it is on the spectrum from “concern” or “cautiousness” to outright “dread” and “terror.” If we can then get to, or work toward, a feeling of genuine gratitude about the current situation, including gratitude for the Corona virus itself (just the messenger!), without closing our eyes or hearts or compassion to those beings who are suffering and dying as a result, we MIGHT be able to actually get and utilize the gifts that this time is so generously and willingly offering us. We can expand our minds and hearts, and we might be able to receive the guidance the Universe/Mother Nature is giving us, both the guidance for us personally and for us collectively.
We can come from, or learn to come from, a bigger and broader mental perspective than we had previously; we can maintain humility and a willingness to learn, to grow, and to get stronger, WHATEVER happens, not needing to know in advance what will happen. We can let go of parts of ourselves and parts of the past that didn’t serve us or Nature or humanity! We can move forward bravely, one step at a time, not knowing where it will lead us, but trusting in the Greater Goodness of which we are an integral part. This is why the teaching in my classes is so strongly on “following the Inner Feeling:” the mat is JUST a place to practice/cultivate it in a simpler context than in Life. But keep “following your Heart, following the Inner Feeling” in Life, too. That’s the one step at a time thing; just do what you can and what you feel called to do in THIS moment. The next moment will then reveal itself and guide you for the next appropriate action then.
For now, among other things, part of our collective “appropriate action” is to stay physically distant from other people, wear a mask for others’ sake when you’ll be around people and unable to maintain at least 6′ distance, and keep washing your hands often and well (the Governor’s 3 W’s). Personally keep doing yoga, breathing deeply, eating a healthy diet and whatever else that helps you maintain (or reconnect with) a positive attitude and helps keep the body strong and vital. And finally, do as much good in the world as you can with the short time you have, and get Self-Realized in THIS lifetime!