In the Before Times, I posted to this space every single month. We all know what the year 2020 did to our routines, our ability to do the things that we believed to be “normal” and “easy”. My last recap was in January of this year, so we’ve made nearly an entire turn around the sun since I felt able to drop some words on a blank page.
For so many of us, March 2020 was pure tumult. Yoga studios closed left and right, some permanently, and I was sure I had lost a home for teaching. I was sure this path of yoga teacher that I had fought so hard to trace had evaporated in a matter of days. I was in an absolute, heart-clenching, gut-wrenching panic about my finances. I berated myself for all the career decisions I’d ever made, which quickly spiraled into berating myself for every decision I’d ever made. I can’t tell how how I wept, or how badly my body ached during those first few weeks. Months.
Still, on March 19, I hosted my first virtual class. I made a lot of guesses about technology and format. I sucked wind trying both to demonstrate the sequence and direct my voice audibly to camera. I felt silly trying to do a thing I’d only ever done in person. I cringed to set a suggested payment, finding it nearly impossible to believe what I did had value.
But you came. You came! A big, boisterous, 21 students to that very first virtual Thursday evening Intermediate Vinyasa class. And again I wept, but with relief and gratitude. And other students showed up the next day for a Friday Power Hour. Attendance went up and down, but you showed up. Maybe once or twice, maybe many times. Maybe several times a week. And you have set my heart afire.
Teaching (almost exclusively now) for myself has meant spending more time on administrative details like juggling registrations and tracking class packs and sending calendar invites. And it’s put me in direct contact with my students’ money. Each Venmo or PayPal payment sputters into my phone and before my eyes, and oh! how it was making me sweat at the start to confront the transactional nature of the yoga practice. But now, I see a registration roll in or hear a ping when someone purchases a class pack and I think, “ah! this yogi just covered my groceries for the week” or “thanks for the coffee!”. Sometimes you’ve paid more than the suggested rate, sometime you paid less, sometimes you can’t pay at all, and all of that is good..
You have supported me in countless ways this year. I know for myself the power and importance of having a yoga practice, and I’m honored that you’ve invited me in as a periodic guide in your own practice. I say, with utmost sincerity, it is a privilege and a joy to practice with you.
Back when I wrote monthly recaps, I always included some sweet comments and funny bits of feedback from students. Here’s a whole slew from ten months of pandemic teaching. I’m crying some more reading these again. It still gets my stomach up in knots to even say my prices aloud sometimes, but I have begun to believe the work has meaning, because you’ve told me so:
- Came for the “tender” of Tender Tuesday, stayed for the tenderizer. I’m sore!
- I’m so thankful for you, the practice you lead our virtual community in, and all the thought and preparation you put into class variation.
- I’m so pleased because I had a great view of under my dresser while my face was really close tot he floor during revolved koundinyasana and I found a pillowcase I’ve been missing for months and thought was lost forever. Hooray for virtual yoga solving problems of both social isolation and missing bedding!
- I like when we do the hard stuff.
- I love, love, love your classes. To me, you’re known for challenging, thoughtful sequences that build upon each other. Your flow has a great rhythm (so I don’t feel like I’m just doing separate poses). I love your focus on a specific part of the body, as well as your energy and your compassion!
- You’re a bargain at twice the price, and I don’t know what I’d do without you. Thank you for keeping me sane through all of this.
- I was feeling last Tuesday’s class at least through Friday! It was the best sore/strong feeling. I’m hooked.
- Love how simultaneously energetic and calm I feel afterwards.
- Have you ever yelled at someone? Just wondering if it’s in your tool kit. Everything you say is so soothing.
- I just wanted to let you know that the Thursday class has been one of the highlights of my week for this whole socially distant time. I wake up Thursday morning so excited the day has come. I so appreciate the work you put into every routine, and I feel like I am getting stronger and learning new yoga skills each class. I hope it never ends!
- I really look forward to the Sunday morning class. It’s sets the tone for my entire week.
- It felt like the first time that day I could breathe deeply.
- I love the way you guide and explain how to safely practice, the pace and your poses.
- Thank you for a wonderful, relaxing restorative class. Now I know why my daughter raves about you.
- The classes I took with you prior to my knee surgery has made a huge difference in my recovery. I’ve always known having a strong body was important but it’s become even more clear now that I’m temporarily physically challenged how important it is mentally.
- I had a bad yoga experience a few years ago and was so nervous about doing it again. You are great and I LOVE doing your class! I’m finally excited I can practice again and feel comfortable doing it.
- I don’t think I understood my body at all before yoga. I never paid attention to it. You’ve completely changed my mind about the practice.
- That hip stuff was liiiiiiiife changing!
- I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you. You put so much into class and I always feel physically and emotionally stronger and more grounded afterwards. I hope you’re receiving as much as you’re giving in your classes, and that your new year is full of moments of joy and adventure!
- What you are providing is so meaningful to me, and I can only assume everyone else in your classes. You are generous with your spirit and heart. Please know what you do is worthwhile. I would say it is life changing, if not life saving. Definitely nourishing. I wish I could lift you up as much as you do me, but I take that strength to keep fighting, so that’s something. Thank you!
- Yoga with you is always a good use of my time. Full stop.
Thank you. Sending wishes to you for a year of abundant love and light.