Meanwhile, we have early August 2020 and are still coming to terms with the remnants of a crisis of unprecedented magnitude. At first we noticed, living in Munich, that the city had calmed down considerably and the air had become fresh and crystal clear as never before. Children were happy not having to go to kindergarten or school, instead could spend more time with their parents. Undeniably, there were also advantages in having our society suddenly shut down. Yet, on the other hand, we were aware of pressing demands that needed to be tended to.
In our case, it was setting up an operational online business in the shortest time possible to cover our most urgent costs. Parallel to the demand, our fears were growing, fueled by the media. Fear is a highly effective instrument of power to get people back on track. Those who never before had to grapple with their own fears were now soon reaching their inner limits. Could that be the real challenge of this time: Learning to deal with the dark, unpleasant side of our being having suddenly become so radically conscious to us?
The situation was difficult for me too, in spite of already having gone through several private crises. Foremost helped me, was the decision to turn off the TV, to cut back on media consumption and to resume my meditation practice again, first thing in the morning. Surprisingly, it was no problem, even with a small child. Whenever, I would feel fear and panic creeping up in me, I would turn to my Yogic meditation and practicing techniques and soon feel the calming effect they would have on my autonomic nervous system. In spite of social distancing, I was also grateful for getting closer to some friends, for the enormous regulating effect that our relationships had on body and mind. Another most important lesson we are become aware of. Individually, we may live as we please, yet, we still need each other. If we learn to see ourselves as a strong “Me” integrated into a strong “We”, we shall have made a positive difference in a world that is dependent upon us humans to live according to our best qualities. Perhaps, the crisis is also making us aware of our weakest. Awareness is the key to change.
In retrospect, every crisis I have experienced so far has enriched my life afterwards. This crisis is making me see it. I now have a closer connection to my child. Unsustainable relationships have disappeared from my life, others have deepened and consolidated. I give more of my time for what is really important, what enriches and fulfills me. I realize, I don't need much. In that I have reduced my daily life down to essentials, such as cooking my own food, I tend to go out less and sometimes even have my creative moments again. And, after overcoming initial kick-off difficulties, I can now teach online from home, which is great fun for me and enriching for many who know me and do not live in Munich. I am curious to see where life’s journey shall take me; one important thing remains to be said: My basic inner trust in life is growing with every passing day. I feel upheld and guided by that power called life. And, even if it shouldn't be so, this basic trust is a good choice, as it serves to create a deep sense of peace within me, in spite of (or maybe even because of) external circumstances.
In these times, I have learned that it is most importance to prepare my online classes as best as possible. With online Yoga, it is not possible to create long breaks that are accompanied by music, silence or one's own presence. So, this is why it doesn’t take long for a participant to feel left alone. Helpful would be to fill such moments, in which a position is to be held, with the citation of texts that are both poetically and vividly pictorial in content. For example, there are wonderful poems on "Loving One’s Self" or interviews with teachers of wisdom, as well as practical tips on attaining more self-love in daily life, e.g. naming three gifts received during the day shortly before falling asleep, for which one is grateful.
Additionally, I find it important to train my participants in using the techniques of Energy Management, such as breathing exercises and the art of visualization, to bring them into a relaxed and grounded state at the end of our class, without it being necessary to give them a neck massage or having a personal conversation.
What I appreciate about online Yoga is the importance of giving even more of yourself as a teacher and to forego being recognized for it. Should the participants have benefitted from the online lessons in that it enables them to cope better with their daily challenges, they shall re-connect again. What this means for us teachers, is always having to come up with something new and to be in constant training. But, we didn’t become Yoga instructors for the income, rather it was because we love what we do. I have learned a lot through this new way of teaching and I am indeed thankful for the grand opportunity of giving Yoga classes online from any location, anywhere.
Model and text: Ranja Weis, images: Alina Matis