Zooming in

I am missing my teachers.

When life is chugging along just fine and my practice is flowing and groovy, I can almost convince myself I’m OK alone, that I don’t need a teacher, that I know all I need to already. My teachers would tell me that’s exactly how it is! But back on Planet Earth they’d also acknowledge that until I realise it fully, it’s not quite so true… I might have had a steady home practice for years, but it’s propped up by regular contact with my teachers more than I like to acknowledge.

So in this time of social distancing and with all gyms and studios now closed in UK, I was super-excited that one of my teachers offered a zoom class. The normal-life me would have run a million miles away from online classes, even if they were hosted live, and with a teacher I know and respect. But life is not normal now. I’m feeling too much an island. Even with my natural tendencies towards independence and withdrawal, I realise I am craving connection.

I was on my mat so early waiting for my teacher to ‘arrive’, wanting to see her face and hear her voice, wanting to be guided through a practice, to rely on someone else rather than drawing deep on my own resources. She was fab! Yes, clearly feeling her way in this new medium, but so present for us, taking care to name check every student more than once during class, alternating demoing on her mat and then looking close to see how we were doing and calling out individual cues or encouragement based on what she observed.

As we settled into Śavāsana, pulling on socks and sweaters, I rolled my head and looked sideways and there was my teacher sitting in Sukhāsana on my iPad screen, looking over us, protecting us in the vulnerability of our Śavāsana. That’s how it felt, even though we were dispersed across the globe and all in our own homes.

After class I cried with relief. I felt how much tension I’ve been holding in my body and how just a little of it had ebbed away. I would never have thought an online class could feel so profound, how being seen by one’s teacher could be potent on screen almost as much as in person.

Nothing is as it once was.

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