I’ve been writing this story in my head for a couple of years now. Its almost 5 years to the day I started teaching yoga. So, it’s probably quite appropriate to stop teaching on this anniversary. No, not for ever, but for long enough to figure out what I’m doing and till I feel I have something worth sharing again.
Corona virus, Covid 19, Sars Cov 2, Novel Corona virus! A dis-ease with more alias’ than Carlos the Jackal has the whole world upside down. Lockdown has pitched yoga teachers a massive curve ball. All yoga studios and freelance community teachers are now “online” delivering classes via zoom or some other video conferencing type platform. I opted for Facebook live as I figured that it was the simplest medium for my regular students and myself to use. It has its benefits as well as its limitations. Me being the proverbial monkey with a typewriter is not the biggest issue though, the fact is that I just don’t enjoy it!
If you’ve attended my class you will know that I’m a people person, I like to engage and have a laugh too. so, talking to a screen, hoping that my Wi-Fi connection is holding up, that people can hear me, hoping that the human element of sharing yoga can translate in this format? Nah, not for me, Pass.
This very strange situation that we find ourselves in here in the 20/20 lockdown has given me the perfect opportunity to address what is really at the heart of my motivation to press the PAUSE/RESET button.
Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired
For the entire time I have been teaching and talking about the benefits of yoga, my personal health and wellbeing has been on a downward spiral. I’ve gained weight, my personal yoga practice has evaporated, and I wake up every morning, to varying degrees, sore and tired. I go to paint jobs running on empty. I appear to be plagued by a condition with a very unimaginative name, “tense in sleep” told you it was a boring name!
Apparently on the edge of stages 3&4 of the sleep cycle, the zone where repair and maintenance work takes place in the body, including the brain. . . I’m at the cliff edge! Then I’m not. My whole-body tenses for a second or two, then releases. Cliff edge! No, it’s ok, Cliff edge! No, it’s ok. Shit! no wonder I wake up tired, this perpetual, momentary pulsating night terror is obviously taking its toll.
I’m ok, I’m ok, I’m ok!
As you can imagine, trouble with sleep usually stems from unresolved issues in our waking lives. As I write this, I realise that as far back as I have been practicing yoga, about 15 years, I have been telling myself “I’m ok”, when I really am not. Losing close family members, I rationalised it, like I usually do. I’m ok, it’s not my, partner, I’m ok, it’s not my brother, I’m ok It’s not my best mate, I’m ok, It’s not my son. But I really wasn’t, it broke my fuckin heart, but I was ok. . .
I buried my need to feel hurt, lost, devastated, broken. From that first catastrophe fifteen years back, I managed to appear to construct a healthy balanced existence for myself, building a regular yoga practice, cycling and performing well at my day job as a painter on building sites. So much so that I completed a one-year yoga foundation course then immediately followed up with a two-year teacher training. Just as my teacher training came to a close, I lost another family member, again in particularly challenging circumstances. This was the catalyst for my progressive, gradual disintegration. The preceding ten year bled straight through the last five years right to the present day.
With all this as a backdrop, as a shaky foundation, I have somehow managed to build up magpie yoga, and along with others, YoGlasgow! Miraculously, gathering around me some great souls who regularly attend my classes and truly seem to enjoy what I offer, even though I often find myself struggling to get a breath or hold my balance in some postures.
Like most yoga teachers I have students who tell me that the class really helps them with stress and maintaining good mental health. Truly humbling.
20/20 the Great Catharsis
I believe that I’m not the only yoga teacher in meltdown, for one reason or another. I think that yoga attracts broken people, usually subconsciously, looking to heal themselves by healing others. How’s it working out for you guys? I believe that the pace and stresses of modern living pretty much has everyone teetering on the brink of physical and emotional collapse, it truly is endemic and if this great Catharsis of 20/20 is to teach us anything it must be that systematic social changes are not only inevitable now but also absolutely imperative . I’ve been on a mission from the start to revolutionise self-care for others and I will continue this work once I have my own house in order.
The world we know has changed forever, to tell you the truth, I have no idea what it will look like a year from now. What I do know is that once I feel I can justify standing in a room and expect people to listen to my suggestions about how they may improve their breathing or their posture, I will be back at it. so in the meantime, I will be focusing on me. to use and old holistic cliché ” we cant serve from an empty vessel”.
See you on the other side guys, love and respect, Mick.