Putting on Earrings for an Online Yoga Class
October 7, 2020
Online yoga classes are a lifeline through the COVID-19 quarantine experience. Bodhi Tree Yoga has been where I have practiced for several years. This beautiful little studio, run by two women teachers with a mostly female membership, has been a supportive home for my yoga practice, which I started by watching a PBS yoga show just after my first baby was born over 36 years ago. The teachers quickly pivoted to an online format and I signed right up. A room in our basement has variously served as an office, bedroom, and storage space. I converted it to a combination yoga studio, martial arts dojo, and art workshop once the shutdown hit.
During the first anxiety filled weeks of quarantine, yoga classes were a dependable haven of relaxation and physical care. Monday and Friday mornings were my studio routine, but once my computer became a portal to the outside world, this expanded to nearly every day. Seeing my teachers and the other students on Zoom was a vital connection to the normal flow of my previous life, the life where I went outside of my house, got in the car and drove to the studio or the store or the coffee shop. As these outings ceased and options shrank, yoga came to me. Getting dressed for yoga gives shape to the day, even though there’s no audience for my outfits except myself. More than ever before, yoga clothes are all-day clothes, comfortable and flexible for whatever activities come along. Sometimes, I find myself wondering whether to add the usual earrings, without which I never feel “fully” dressed. It seems silly; no one is going to see you, I think to myself, but when I put them on, I feel a little lift of the spirit. A little spark of normalcy twinkles in the light of this tiny finishing touch. I do it for me, to touch that space of enjoyment of a small adornment. It’s kind of like yoga itself, a practice with one’s own body, a way of caring for oneself and gently turning within. It’s a way of bringing a sense of normalcy to these crazy repetitive days.
Less outside activity revealed how much of what I was doing was unnecessary, just a way of using time and being out in the world. I found that I do not need to chase these distractions and that I have more than enough right here in my own home. The imaginary audience of the outside world recedes and when I put on my earrings and yoga clothes, or when I change into some of my favorite outfits to stay at home. Now, it’s for myself, for the enjoyment that this little experience gives me, reflecting back to myself what I like, what I value and who I am, despite the uncertainty. We do not know what lies ahead, how long the threat of COVID-19 will persist, or how much our lives are permanently changed. What we can do is be present to this moment, this day, and these choices that we are making, supporting each other as we go.