Updated: Jul 6, 2022
With so many unknowns in the world, uncertain of what’s next, it is especially difficult knowing the right next thing to do. I say this with direct reference to the uncertainty of what will happen with the upcoming school year.
I was homeschooling at the beginning of the pandemic, so our experience is different from those who were in the public school system. We had, and continue to have, our own big feelings with social distancing as we were part of groups that met almost every day of the week for various activities from nature hiking to chess club. However, we made the conscious choice to homeschool a number of years ago; we were not suddenly thrown into it. Those circumstances are completely different on so many different levels, and I have deep sympathy for the heaviness this time presents for many families.
At this point in time, I cannot say how I would feel about impending decisions regarding sending my kids back to school or not. I remember toiling over the decision of whether or not to put my older son in school, and where (which we ended up doing, until halfway through 1st grade), and the current situation is beyond comprehension. Within the homeschool community, conversations are beginning regarding what is feasible as we move forward, and there are still many unknowns.
Here is what I do know: We are living with a tremendous amount of stress. We need connection. Both mental and emotional health are closely tied to physical health.
While yoga online is not optimal, it is one way to address all of the above realities. In 2009, I worked as a graphic designer and did my 200-hr yoga teacher training to balance time on the computer with time interacting directly with people – moving my body, and hopefully creating spaces for people to become more empowered, as had been done for me. The irony of my current reality is not lost on me.
I am thankful for the opportunity to continue connecting with kids and families during this time. It gives me purpose and hearing how meaningful it is for students who show up motivates me to continue creating offerings and spaces for connection. One of my motivations for posting this message is to encourage those who are hesitant to try yoga online to give it a shot. I have heard from friends, and read stories, about how stress is becoming visible with their kiddos. Those who may have been steady at the beginning are, understandably, having an increasingly difficult time – whether it shows up as outbursts, trouble sleeping, sleeping too much, or any other out-of-characteristic behavior. I hear you and can fully empathize with the emotional waves and turbulence, as we have plenty of it around here.
The practice of yoga has been an anchor for everyone in my house. We still have bad days and sad days, but we (mostly) allow them to be moments – states, and not traits. When we are able, we each remember tools we have like moving our bodies, observing our emotions, connecting with our breath, and practicing mindful communication with ourselves and one another.
I’m not saying these classes and camps will change the world (though they might)! However, I do know the importance and benefit of anchor points throughout our days and weeks, which these classes can provide. I will also say that the benefit of the community that develops during camps is evident with each child I’ve had the opportunity to teach. They notice when someone is missing, and take care of each other emotionally throughout our time together. The skills we practice are directly relatable to daily life “off the mat” so to speak. One student let me know about a mindfulness exercise she used during a thunderstorm that helped her feel centered and calm. What an empowering moment to recognize that we are powerful creators in how we respond to the world around us! That is something we can learn to rely on.
I want to also recognize that this situation is so much more stressful for some than I can possibly comprehend. All I can speak to within that is that I believe we each have our individual strengths, to be used for the benefit of many. I enjoy working with kids, and have been successful in transitioning to the online format. Currently, I am able to work through the stress I’m experiencing and continue holding space for others. Likely, there will be a time in the future when I will need more space held for me… and I trust that it will be there at just the right moment. We are here to support each other in being the best we can be, to continually fight the good fight with grace, passion, and kindness.