COVID-19, Lockdowns & the Yoga Community

As I continue to grow, learn and expand my consciousness for healing and helping I need to be honest with shifts that are occurring out of my control. I have spent years wrangling thoughts in my head, on these sometimes-heavy topics, with the objective to organize and articulate my perspective with care and compassion.

I started to dabble in Meditation before jumping into the ‘western’ yoga we Americans are familiar with. This came from lots of pain internally I had from a poor upbringing and a complete detachment from my Soul and who I was. I wasn’t aware of my potential or desires at the time, I was just suffering with emptiness and longing for self-fulfillment. Without knowing it, I was setting a foundation of trust, truth and internal work that would be critically important for future me. After visiting about half dozen ashrams and smalls meditation gatherings, some regularly, I starting incorporating asana/yoga for the physical inclusion (asana in Sanskrit means ‘seat’ or physical posture, however the practice of asana is often referred to just as yoga*). I recognized a difference in asana vs a Spiritual practice of going within, which to me was done each time I Meditated in a room of strangers or in front of a claimed to be Guru. But for most Americans, a simple asana practice can be deeply Spiritual, by just feeling good in their body and not going within. This is beautiful in its own sense. And I admired how Yoga brought us all together. I mean it does stand for Unity.

COVID-19 and the lockdowns brought an immediate challenge to the Yoga Community and there was a clear fork in the road us practitioners, students and seekers alike needed to take. My decision came instantly, even before the major fork was upon us, not only did my intuition guide me but that foundation of truth and trust I set in the early days of Meditation allowed me to trust that intuition. From the beginning I trusted my nose to purify the air around me, I trusted my slightly weakened immune system, my connection to Mother Earth’s healing abilities, the Sun and most importantly I trusted Love. Love being the antonym of fear I knew, if nothing else from surviving my adolescence, that I needed to be fearless possibly the most fearless I’ve been yet. Love, freedom, choice, natural ways of living, community, togetherness, transparency and many more, all of these were now on the line. I could not lie to myself. But around me I saw others caving into fear, conformity and viciously attacking anyone who thought different. I was confused when even leaders were towing this line and it made me have to dive deep within and figure out how I felt about it, what it meant to me and how I was going to continue helping people different from the path of fear. It came to me as Yoga being expressive vs fundamental. Just because one practices Yoga doesn’t mean they are automatically righteous with the clearest vision. This mistake I often compare to serial sinners who go to Church on Sundays thinking they can bypass real self-work. In the Yoga community we called this Spiritual bypassing. I’ve met teachers who stated they think there should be blood and war before final peace and love, who have alienated their students based on personal beliefs while speaking on inclusion and even masters who have advocated for people to inject an unknown substance but also say eating meat limits your Spiritual connection. The radicalism we face on a daily basis has leaked into people’s behaviors. Yoga should be a form of expression for who you are and a tool to help you get closer to your Soul and not be a label of enlightenment status.

So where do we go from here? This question is still open for me, but one thing I am sure of is that it will take a few years for the community to sort out the friction between fear and Love. I have continued to build and share practices for what is helping me, I am still connecting and helping individuals by suggesting any form of healing tools and I want to continue being a positive lighthouse for those of us who wish to live graciously in the midst of fire. I encourage anyone who feels lost, confused or in shock from any or all revelations you may just be seeing, to reach out to someone and talk about how you feel. Anyone you can trust to just let you speak those fears and begin to release them. There will be a process to deprograming and it will not be easy, but it will be so rewarding! Let Love guide you.

Below is a card I created using a common but powerful breathing technique. I send these to deployed female soldier’s so they have an option to be comforted any time they may need it. This is a beautiful breath to gently flow between grace and fear. Holding the breath out alkalizes the blood among many other health benefits and this breathing practice overall has some amazing affects you can feel including decreased inflammation, increased energy and regulating the nervous system. I share this with an open Heart!

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