Since I’m not doing much…

…I thought I’d start writing a blog!

Now into our sixth week of lockdown, Covid-19 has pretty much confined us to our homes and, if you’re fortunate enough to have one, our gardens. We have all had to find new ways of working, playing, socialising, and generally occupying ourselves while we work collectively to stop this virus in its tracks.

For me, it escalated quickly. I went from teaching a pretty normal Monday morning class, where there was a sense of mild concern, to that same evening, when it became a major concern. We were being advised to practice ‘social distancing’, and that evening I had students cancelling their classes for the rest of that week (it’s rather difficult to be socially distant in my little studio!) and I was becoming somewhat panicked as to how my little business was to survive a global pandemic!

I’d already had the idle thought at the back of my mind that I could possibly teach online if I absolutely had to – but I didn’t expect the though to become a reality. So, I took a deep yogic breath and started to research various platforms to facilitate online yoga classes. I’m not the most technical of people, and the plethora of possible platforms was rather daunting. Then I saw on Facebook a dear friend of mine from my belly dancing days (also having to make rapid adjustments) had just taught a trial class on Zoom. I called her the next day, which was Tuesday, and thoroughly picked her brains (thanks Anna!), and decided that this was the way to go, and within a couple of hours, I had my first trial class set up with some willing students to try it out! I had my Ipad balanced on top of a pile of blocks and several lamps from around the house to provide enough lighting – of course, my students could see none of that as I stood nervously in my little studio, devoid of any other people other than those on the screen, and taught my first online class. It was weird.

There was much adjusting of devices (at both ends) to get the view just right – for me this involved adding or taking away blocks and a lot of moving around to ensure everyone could see as much of me as possible. And there was a feeling of shock at how quickly this had all come about, and some relief that at least we could still have classes. At that time, we didn’t know how it would all develop and what was to come.

At the end, we said our goodbyes – we missed our customary hugs – and agreed that Zoom had worked well and agreed that it was better than nothing. I gathered my iPad, switch off the lights, went upstairs…and cried ed. The tears were partly a result of the stress of the previous 24 hours, of having to very rapidly go from teaching in my little studio to teaching online; they were also partly the realization of this new reality which had suddenly hit me – I felt genuinely sad at the prospect of not having the physical presence of my lovely students in my studio. And I had no idea how long we would be in this space…

A week later we were in lockdown, a position we remain in today. But during these few weeks, I’ve gone from online class novice to semi-pro! Gone is the pile of blocks, and in their place are two fancy tripods with in-built lights, and my devices are hooked up to a large smart TV, so I can see my lovely students clearly. I’m now used to seeing everyone on screen, and I think they are used to their classes being delivered into their homes (seeing everyone in their home environments still seems weird!). No longer do I feel sad and emotional; instead I feel lucky and grateful that pretty much every single one of my students have come on board with the technology. I feel blessed that they continue to enjoy their yoga classes and support my little business. Being able to continue to teach is keeping me sane in a very weird time. I hope that, in a small way at least, I’m helping to keep my students sane too.

And Zoom has become a big part of my life now, as it has for so many around the world! How grateful I am for it! My husband uses it to see his psychotherapy clients (he’s busier than ever!), my nine year old daughter uses it to talk to her friends and have parties with her uncle and aunts. I wonder if it will feel weird to stop using Zoom (or any other similar platform) and to start actually physically interacting with each other again? A subject for another day…

Before I go, I want to thank each and every one of my students for their love and commitment, and for continuing to support Saraha Yoga. I love you all!

Sarah x

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