Our world is vastly different than it was in February. I spent nearly three weeks in blissful unawareness of any threat in Thailand only to have the Covid-19 situation break new heights of concern just prior to traveling home. When I got back we were in the throes of chaos, and under a week the yoga studio was closed by the Governor. Truth, he never said "yoga studios," but I did determine that when he said "fitness centers and gyms" that we were lumped in to that. Besides, on Monday we had 10 people in class, by Wednesday 4, Thursday 2 and then closed. So, who was coming in to the studio anyway?!
And then, in the blink of an eye, everything went digital and virtual. I didn't even have a computer at the studio. But, I did have some foresight to set up a Zoom account months ago in preparation for an upcoming training, and for someone who really tried to stay away from digital energy, I had unknowingly set myself up for virtual classes to come.
Initially we tried a Facebook account for yoga class pass holders. It was good for about a week until everyone went on Facebook and then Facebook started deleting my own videos on my own private group as spam (P.S. they have yet to get back to me about that).
So, a week later the format was moved to Zoom, where the classroom has been for two months.
Has it been an easy two months?
First of all, where to put the camera is a whole ordeal. Determining the best angle for all poses is difficult. I have tried putting the computer high on stools and chairs and low to the ground. I am still working on it. Each have their own good points and difficulties.
I am always astounded by the grace of the Universe that puts me into these unique experiences. Like, who knew my degree in Radio/TV/Film would come in handy so much because of Covid!?
Not being able to see everyone and their practice is a challenge for me since proper alignment and safety is high on my teacher list. Not being able to offer assists and help people improve on their practice is also quite limited with Zoom. There are many facets to teaching that are difficult in the digital format. That, and the fact that nobody knew what they were doing in the beginning ether - so many times there was NO video on at all, or I was looking at someone's ceiling. All good. I am not judging. Just relating the challenges to it all. And we've certainly come a long way since then!
And then there are my dogs: my best friends, partners in crime, and unconditional loving pups. They follow me EVERYWHERE. Now that I am home so much they've gotten even MORE attached to me. They are always nearby when I teach. Sometimes Bodhi is snoring and you can hear him. Other times Kali is on my mat in my way. And then there are the times when they are either both on my mat, vomiting just off screen, crying to go outside, and lying on the computer. Your honor, may I please submit for evidence the following:
I ask you, how am I supposed to teach with these cute distractions! My students have no idea what I do for them. It's time you all knew! HAHA
And let's talk about my amazing students. Oh my goodness. Thanks to the many folks who wanted to continue to do their yoga practice. Many said that they feel it is the only thing keeping them going. I have been so grateful to practice with you all each day. When I log into the classroom and several people are already there waiting, I get really excited! I can't wait to see who jumps in the class each day and what distractions of your own that you have going on. And yes, I've seen it all. Mostly I love your pets bothering you. But its also pretty funny when your husband walks through the room, unaware or your children decide to make lunch in the kitchen where you are practicing. Luckily we have the "mute" button! If it were not for those of you who continue to come to regular classes and support the studio, we would not have a studio to come back to. I am forever, grateful to so many of you that words cannot amply express how I feel.
I found the virtual background option and have used that a few times for us. It feels nice to sit on the beach with moving waves, but sometimes my body just disappears. Other times, I am floating on the water. Kind of cool, but more distracting I think. So I started only using the backgrounds for meditations and am finding them to be quite effective for those.
The picture above is from the High Light Resonance Booster Attunement I did virtually. It actually worked quite well.
I also have done several Angel Card readings virtually which have been very on-point and quite powerful for people. I really need thought that I would be able to convey those messages through this format, but instead they are coming through even louder and stronger.
Another fun thing we did for a couple of weeks was an adult coloring meet-up. It was fun and I miss it. I think I spent all of March coloring on Saturday nights! But with so much on-line it was starting to feel like more work and it was time to take a break. But, I am down for inviting it again soon if anyone is interested. Check out some of our art:
In the beginning I taught 11 classes for the One Yoga students. Although it doesn't sound like too much, I also had 2-3 other classes that I taught for on-site clients who wanted me to go virtual, in addition to the Special Olympics classes that I did for them virtually. Each vendor has a different virtual set-up, so learning their systems, logging in early to work out the bugs, and downloading the various software setups was a lot of time and effort. In fact, all of the set ups ate away many hours on the back end that body really saw. I made sure that when it was time for class, I was ready. But really there was a lot to do that nobody else was aware of. So what may have been 13 classes a week turned into countless hours of preparation and setup. But, I pushed through!
May came in, ushering our second month of virtual classes. I tweaked the schedule bit based on feedback that I was given. I hope this helps people to get the most out of their class experience, but also to give me a little better schedule. It is not easy without a day off. Right now I have one day off: Fridays. Before, I had no days off because we also offers the community yoga for free on Facebook every Friday night. And although I really do think this might be the better night to hold it, I just needed one day not on Zoom! I truly apologize to anyone that this schedule does not work for. But I needed to honor myself so that I could be there more for my students when it was time. I am still evaluating the schedule and if things go into June, I may done more tweaking.
One thing is for sure, I will definitely be doing virtual classes moving forward. We have people joining from Florida and North Jersey, and now Canada! Another one of the benefits of the virtual classroom is being able to connect or reconnect with students who have moved away! And, this takes One Yoga classes international so that's pretty cool too!
And when you don't see me in front of the camera teaching, I am always behind the scenes. The amazing Elina Hernandez look back her Monday evening class at 6 pm. She logs on, I check everyone in and then turn the class over to her. I am so grateful to Elina for offering this class to the community.
I also have my yoga teacher trainees: Karuna, Marilyn, Amanda, Katie and Sarah, who teach the Community yoga classes. They teach and I watch and take notes, then we talk after. Again, I may not be in front of you but I am still working and there with you.
To say that the last two months have been a blur is an understatement. Now you see why. Every time someone tells me what they accomplished, cleaned or learned in their time off I do feel a pang of jealousy. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful to be busy and working, but I do need some down time. All work and no play makes Tracey a dull girl...
She started out as a snapchat filter joke one night when I was feeling silly. My mother loved it so much that I did another one to make her laugh. She started looking forward to her daily dose of Connie just to laugh, so I continued them.
And then she got her own Facebook page because more people told me how cute it was and made them smile. Soon Connie became a reminder to remain positive and hopeful. If you haven't checked her out, seek her on Facebook "Connie the Bunny."
I've tried to share her with Ellen Degeneres. Maybe Connie will make me famous! My step-daughter hopes so. Connie hopes so too!
And that brings us almost up to date.
In addition to all this virtual classroom business I also took over control of my website and reydisnged it myself. I moved the domain name, created the content and continue to work to enhance it. For the past nearly 20 years I've had someone else do my website and had limited ability to work with it and add features. Now, I can change things on a dime and I love it! So the girl who didn't even want a computer at the yoga studio is a web designer and television producer!
The yoga studio is also in the process of a complete overhaul. I moved things around - again. I cleaned. I stocked up on new supplies for the Natural Healer Shop. And I go there now twice a week to imbibe positive energy into the space. The studio misses us! The plants miss us! The Chakra porch misses us!
So, as I write this blog it is May 13th. My birthday is exactly 11 days away. Anyone that knows me knows that is an important number to me. So, I want to leave with a prayer that by my Birthday we have good news on the front about this quarantine and the virus. That we can begin reopening, cautiously, and yes, I am praying for a miracle that erases this virus from the earth. I believe that anything is possible. I don't want a vaccine. I just want it gone...or irrelevant. That is my birthday wish. Pray it with me and I will see you soon at One Yoga Center!
In love, service and wisdom,
Tracey (a.k.a. Connie the Bunny)