I haven’t written much during the covid-19 situation. I guess my feelings vacillate from feeling that the situation is too huge to comprehend, the global scale of it, to my own personal experience of it being on such a small, domestic scale as to feel insignificant on this international canvas. What can I add? Much like life itself, the experience of being human, my own limited perspective seems a drop in the vast ocean of existence.
I’m home in UK, self-isolating according to the rather vague rules of this government. My husband is here with me. We love one another. We are both in full-time and fully paid employment, we are so far healthy. We have a roof over our heads with hot water and light, we have sufficient food to nourish us. We are happy enough.
I’m also in a privileged position to be continuing my yoga teaching, with many of my regular students showing up on zoom according to our usual schedule. It is a joy to know that what I offer supports them in their ways of living.
Some days there’s nothing more to say. Life continues.
Yes, there are some things I miss. Sometimes the virtual nature of online contact depresses me. Virtual meaning not quite enough. Although I speak regularly with my parents and see them on screen, I miss the physicality of them. When I chat with my mum, she’s in the dining room of my family home, sitting among familiar objects. It’s almost as though I’m there with her. But I miss the smell of her, how her hands are always so warm and soft, the bird-like frailty of her small skeleton as I wrap her in my arms, the way she would cup her hands around my cheeks as though I was her pudgy five year old little girl again!
And my best friend popped by last weekend, making a detour on her daily exercise outing. She stood in the street as l leaned out from a first floor window. I ached to reach out further…
I miss my teachers too. I also see them regularly on screen, for classes, for a chat. On some level this too is enough. I am truly grateful for these moments. But I find I miss their physical presence too. Before lockdown I was second-guessing everything about physical assists feeling that they can be intrusive as much as they are instructive and wondering how to communicate my ambivalence respectfully… Now the absence of such help of course makes me crave it!
As I practise my imagination feels their hands guiding my body. The lift of the hips in Adho Mukha Svanasana, a foot pressing on mine steadying me in Utthita Parsva Konasana, and finally the warmth of patient hands on my back and a gentle insistence that I fold into myself in closing seating postures.
And now when practising those final postures on my own at home, I consciously draw deeply inward, quietening my imagination as I allow my body to ease forward and settle downwards in the familiar way. I have learned much from my teachers. I am still carrying their lessons with me, reapplying what they have taught me and exploring it for myself. I have time for this now and the blessing of quiet space for my practice. I am in isolation and for now that’s just where I need to be, how life is. In some ways it’s a relief not to have to balance the group experience of yoga class with my own personal experience, the rhetoric and philosophy of togetherness and the ultimate existential loneliness of living and dying.