I’m on the mailing list for a few studios where I’ve taken class. So in the past couple of weeks I’ve read a bunch of different emails and newsletters as they reach out to their students in the face of the corona virus pandemic. As a teacher I also got sent advice from YAP about how to look after myself professionally. These responses to the corona virus are broadly the same: reminding everyone of the various health benefits of a regular yoga practice, the need to look after ourselves and others, and the necessity of good hygiene practices.
The advice has changed a little over time, I think, shifting away from rather defensive lists of what the studios themselves are doing and more towards slightly nannying (though no doubt necessary) advice to the students themselves about disposing of tissues carefully, not sharing water bottles and so on.
More recently I’ve seen that studios I know in Athens have closed. In UK I’ve not encountered such measures (yet) but studios are increasingly removing props and asking students to bring their own mats, mat-towels, and anything else they might need.
I went to class earlier in the week at my regular, local place. They have been ramping up their cleaning regime, offering hand sanitiser to students, and the teachers no longer offer hands on assists. I think I irritated my teacher by bringing my own block, on my own initiative, in addition to my usual personal mat. The studio has always been above the average, for example in properly cleaning the studio mats after each use (but then they do charge for them), and I think he resented the implication that I didn’t think their efforts were sufficient. Are they? I don’t know. Was he serious about the natural antiseptic properties of cork? I wasn’t wholly reassured. It sounded about as convincing as the advice I read elsewhere that pranayama should now be practised with greater emphasis on the exhale — as though this is meant to blow the virus out of your respiratory tract?
I think yoga is awesome in many ways and can be a very healing practice. But however much you’ve boosted your immune system through regular asana practice, lowered your stress levels through meditation and done that cleansing pranayama, that’s probably not going to stop you getting sick from Covid-19.
May you be well and protected.
May the leaders of this land make wise decisions.
May the earth be abundant for those who know the land as sacred.
May all beings, without exception, know ease.
Peace, peace, peace.