In UK we’ve been in one sort of lockdown or another for a year now. We have our famous ‘roadmap’ out, but it’s early days. This anniversary, such as it is, prompts retrospection and I’ve had conversations with many others as we look behind us and see how far we’ve come even while we are largely still ‘sheltering in place’.
I set up a zoom anniversary get together for my work colleagues, none of whom I’ve seen in 12 months. We reminisced together. I encouraged everyone who wanted to to contribute some memory or reflection. It was quite sweet hearing them speak of their fears and of the lighter moments, personal discoveries and new skills uncovered. Junior and senior staff brought together in their shared humanity rather than separated by the organisational hierarchy. I received some sweet emails afterwards, people commented on how ‘beautifully’ I managed it, how sensitive I was to include time for discussing grief and loss as well as the easier topics of new hobbies and local walking routes. It felt like the style of interaction I would regularly have with my yoga students rather than office colleagues, facilitating safe sharing of intimate stories or reflections. A strange mixing of roles which felt perfectly right in the moment.
At work it’s also the time of year for annual reviews so I’ve had those kinds of conversations with my colleagues too, this year allowing time for talk of wellbeing and coping strategies as much as evaluation of targets and objectives. A couple of my team commended me on how well I’d looked after them this past year and how positive and calm I always seemed in contrast to their obvious stress. So funny to hear this, when the year has been such a challenge for me. I joked with one that it was my yogic superpowers that enabled me to create such an aura. And, joking apart, it is! I honestly can’t imagine how those without a regular practice (if not yoga specifically, something analogous for them) got through this extraordinary year. For me the yoga practice has been my pressure valve, my creative outlet, my exercise, my screen-free time, my joy.
I guess by spending so much time on my mat and continuing to teach others, I’ve missed out in sharing the common lockdown activities of making banana bread or sourdough, of watching every box set Netflix can offer, of comfort eating, mild alcoholism or other ways of passing the time… I don’t mean to sound smug. I honestly think without this practice I would long ago have sunk into a deep abyss. Sometimes I wonder if I should try not to cling so tightly to yoga, but right now I actually want to strengthen my connection with the practice and see if I can go a little deeper. And if it helps me support others better too, perhaps a hint of smugness can be allowed — just between us! 🙂