Virtual Yoga: Why I’m not ready to leave my lockdown bubble
As lockdown restrictions start to lift, the majority of people are looking forward to getting back to normal, but I’m afraid I’m not one of them.
With the gyms able to re-open on 25th July, some are counting the days like an Advent calendar, while others can’t imagine anything worse.
I’m one of the cautious ones.
I have to say, I can’t help but feel that with the reported deaths from Covid-19 reaching 79 (at time of writing) we might be being a little too hasty in our efforts to find our new ‘normal’.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware of the horrendous effects lockdown has had on people and businesses alike. We can’t stay in our bubbles forever, I get that. People need their gyms and studios back. These places are a refuge for their members physically and mentally. However, as far as coronavirus is concerned, it hasn’t gone anywhere and with the 25th fast approaching I’m nervous about teaching in person again.
I’m not yet ready to leave my lockdown bubble, and here’s why:
I KNOW HOW CLEAN *I* AM
I know how clean I am, but I don’t know how clean you are. Sorry, but there I said it.
How often do you clean your yoga mat? Do you clean the equipment in the gym every time you use it? Only you know the answers to those questions – you don’t know the answers for everyone else. There are still those who think Covid-19 is ‘just a cold’.
I know how cautious and safe I am. With the daily deaths still higher than when lockdown began, I really don’t think we can be too careful.
It’s all very well putting measures in place, but if we learnt anything from lockdown it’s that quite often, people don’t follow the rules.
Since lockdown easing, I’ve visited supermarkets, the mechanic, the dentist and the hairdresser. Each of these establishments have had different levels of sanitation despite receiving the same guidelines.
Consistency is key…but the reality is it just isn’t possible. Companies are now expecting staff to take on extra cleaning duties above everything else, and I can’t help but feel that this just isn’t sustainable. Longer working hours, extra duties and all for the same salary. You don’t have to have an A Level in Maths to know that there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
ONLINE CLASSES ARE AWESOME
On the plus side, online classes are just awesome.
I miss seeing my students in person, particularly my private clients, but if truth be told teaching online has been a wonderful experience in itself.
It has it’s challenges don’t get me wrong – Zoom compresses sound and video and I’ve had to spend alot of time and money to navigate around these drawbacks. It was important to me to find a way to deliver a high quality product and I invested a lot to get this right. I know other online experiences haven’t been quite so positive, but I am proud of the online classes we offer.
There is more time to interact with students and I have been able to connect with people arguably more so than I have during in-person sessions. I don’t have to rush from class-to-class and I have more time to get feedback, what students find challenging, how they feel, what they want to work on, etc. I’ve seen my regular online students improve massively, so much so that the group classes they were attending won’t be challenging enough going forward. In virtual classes we can’t physically adjust and that’s likely to be the case for in-person sessions anyway, but we do have time to help more – well that’s been my experience anyway.
For me, the connection is still there – in buckets.
I’M A SELECTIVE INTROVERT
What do I mean by selective introvert? Well my interpretation is that I am perfectly happy in my own company. Solitary working suits me. I wouldn’t describe myself as a people person, but people I connect with I love connecting with if that makes sense? My introversion is selective.
Lockdown wasn’t the end of the world for me socially speaking. In fact, I’ve connected with old friends more than I did before. Thanks to Zoom, Skype and such like, virtual quizzes, wine tastings and social get-togethers, my social calendar has actually been busier than it ever has been, and I’ve been able to do it in the comfort of my PJs.
I LOVE WORKING FROM HOME
Tying in with the point above, I work more efficiently when I’m working from home. I know for some people it’s been a living nightmare. Productivity is lower and there there are the constant distractions from kids, the kitchen and the ever beckoning remote control (thank you Disney+).
For me it’s the opposite. I like the freedom of being able to structure my day in a way that suits me. I’m a night owl, so I work better at night. I can sit and plough through a project for hours on end. My working day is within my control. How hard I work is up to me and I love that responsibility. Often I work longer hours but it’s in my own space and I’m more relaxed. I can work until the early hours if I want to, and if a glass of wine calls at 3pm I can do that too.
Aside from that, working from home means there is no commute (I do miss getting through multiple books on Audible though). Take out commuting time, I can teach an online class in one hour and even if I add time for feedback at the end, it still takes me half the time compared to a group class.
Less time in traffic means I have more time in my day. Bonus.
I’M MORE PRODUCTIVE
I’m pretty good at self-motivation. Some people really struggle with this – like a home yoga practice. Going to a class is much easier motivation-wise than rolling out your mat at home. Again, not for me. I admit, in the beginning a home yoga practice was a challenge to keep up. I couldn’t find a group class that suited my needs so I needed to develop a home practice.
My journey on my mat is also personal. A group environment can often be egocentric and competitive and I don’t respond well to that. Finding online group sessions pitched at my level just fits me and my practice. I had to spend a lot of time finding the right online teachers too – it wasn’t without effort. It helps if you are paying for classes if motivation is an issue. You place more value on something when you pay for it and it acts as an extra incentive to roll out your mat. I then like to keep up my teacher training in-person – I like asking lots of questions and love meeting like-minded yogis. That’s the one side of yoga I can’t see me changing to online anytime soon – but on this I remain open to being converted.
My level of self discipline is pretty good. I’m not the type to veg on a sofa for days on end, unless I’m ill. My home office is where I work and my living room is where I relax. I’m able to separate the two and get sh*t done when I need to.
A NEW WAY OF LIFE
If the last few months have taught us anything, it’s that we can adapt to a new way of life. We can press the pause button and slow down.
I know lockdown has been harder for some compared to others. There are people far worse off and you don’t have to look very far to read about someone else’s experience that is enough to move you to tears.
I’ve had my own setbacks just like everyone else, but lockdown wasn’t the worst part of Covid-19 for me. Spending extra time with my partner has been wonderful and we’ve been able to make decisions about our future we would never have had time to do previously. While the divorce rate is higher than ever, for me lockdown has shown me that I really did make the right decision when it came to choosing my life partner (awww mushy).
I have my own garden when I’ve needed some fresh air. I have beautiful walks on my doorstep. I’ve learnt new skills because I always try to make the best out of a bad situation. Lockdown was a rare opportunity to carpe diem. So I started by ticking off my to do list.
I don’t have children I have to home school and most of my family live far away, so Skype catch-ups were not foreign to me. I actively avoid crowds anyway and working from home was something I was doing way before March. Yes I lost a significant part of my business, but I have managed to pick myself up and develop a new way of working I will continue long after this is all over.
We are not in the same boat I know that, but we are all in the same storm.
Lockdown has given me time to reflect – and I’m not sure I’m ready for that to be over just yet.