fitness · yoga

Last yoga studio class (for the time being)

This week has marked a shift from business as almost-usual to an awareness of the need to shut down our social and work life to reduce transmission of the coronavirus. From school to church to local museums to yoga studios, I’ve gotten a series of emails, culminating in a flurry of Friday afternoon messages:

  • We’re closing for the time being.
  • We care about all of us, which is why we’re closing.
  • Here are some ways to stay in touch with us and what we do together.

It may strike you as odd, but I am warmed by these messages. Businesses large and small, and institutions of all sorts– educational, religious, governmental, etc.– are taking steps to promote the common good. Yes, the reasons for closure vary, and not all motivations are noble. But it is happening, and that is good.

Friday night I went to the last yoga class at Artemis, my local yoga studio, before they closed for awhile. My friend Norah met me there. We brought our own mats, blocks, bolsters, blankets, straps– the works. There were about 8 or so students in a large studio, so there was plenty of room. Liz R, my favorite yoga instructor of all time, helped us get spread out.

The Friday night class is a special one. Liz R greets us gently and cheerfully, inviting us to settle into the transition from the work week to the weekend. Her restorative class begins with gentle movement (partial sun salutations, twists, some balances, some easy stretches), in preparation for a nice, satisfying yoga nidra. We make ourselves comfortable on our mats for the next 20–25 minutes while she takes us through a body scan and mindfulness narrative. I like to put my legs up the wall with my butt on a bolster, which is super-relaxing (to me, YMMV). Invariably, someone falls asleep (it is Friday night, after all), and we’re aware of (hopefully) gentle snoring off in the background.

This Friday, Liz R did not pummel us with information or warnings, or in fact say much at all. She just greeted each person and offered verbal help to get them set up so everyone felt comfortable. And we did. I don’t think I’ve ever relaxed more in a yoga class. It wasn’t that I forgot about my worries and uncertainty. It wasn’t that I become more reassured or confident about the duration or intensity of the outbreak. I just sunk into being there, at that moment, feeling the comfort of others and the sound of Liz’s voice, moving us through postures and then guiding us through yoga nidra. She’s planning on recording it and posting it on the Artemis website. It’s not up yet, but should be sometime this week (I’ll post an update in the comments when it’s there).

When class was over, we quietly rolled up our mats and gathered our things. Liz said, “I won’t see you next Friday night, but hope to see you all some Friday night soon”. Yes, that’s what we know, and that’s how we feel.

I do a lot of yoga at home, but I will really miss that Friday night class. I’ll miss all my group in-person yoga classes and other group physical activities, too. Can I safely take a walk in the woods with another person? Maybe so, we’ll see. What about yoga at my house with one other person (in a good-sized space)? Again, we don’t know.

For now, I’m practicing at home, walking in the woods, being in the moment, and taking it day by day.

Dear readers, what are you doing at home or in your neighborhoods, with gyms and yoga studios and other places closing? I’d love to hear from you. And I’ll post Liz’s yoga nidra in the comments when it comes out.

6 thoughts on “Last yoga studio class (for the time being)

  1. I’m feeling anxious about the spread of the virus, and even more anxious about my government’s response to the virus (I’m in the US), but thankful that I do work that can easily be done from home. As for exercise, I plan to keep on running outside, unless I or my partner develops symptoms or quarantine/isolation measures in my area become extreme. I also hope to do some bodyweight strength and core exercises by myself, in my apartment, but I’m less motivated to do those when I’m not in a class. Indoor bouldering and weightlifting are out, for now!

    1. Thanks for posting– I’m anxious too. It’s hard to settle down on actually living and doing what I would normally do at home. Hopefully we can settle down in the next bit of time to help ourselves and everyone ride this out. Take care and stay tuned!

  2. I’m still going to yoga, but will stop leaving my mat there. We have no confirmed cases and 54 negative tests in my city, so it seems too soon to me to take this away from myself. I wash my hands when I arrive, before I pull out my mat, and again when I get home. Also it’s a very large space so we can be quite distant from each other. I actually worry more about one of the instructors who is immunologically compromised.

    1. HI Cate– glad your area is still spared. We’ve got 71 cases in my county, with 164 in Massachusetts (and they’ve only tested 800). Yoga is certainly a must for stability and calmness; enjoy the studio!

      1. Wow! That’s frightening.
        Well, I’m more worried now that I hear Ontario is running low on tests. I expect that I’ll stop going soon.

  3. Thank you Catherine, we will miss you but I know we will see you online soon. We have online classes happening this week, a limited schedule this week and then more next. Liz is working on her Yoga Nidra recording and we will share that hopefully later this week.

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