Zoom Incident

This past Sunday, May 17th I had invited the Ashtanga Yoga Club Durham community to a Virtual Sunday Practice.

No teaching, no touching, just good new fashioned virtual practice support. We are still AYCD so feel free to shout out words of encouragement. Pets, babies, children, spouses etc. are encouraged to make cameos.
PS Nikos or Suzanne may bust out some virtual verbal instruction because when we see you, we miss you and miss teaching you.

This was to be the fourth Virtual Sunday Practice we were to host.

But Zoom broke, and luckily there is nothing like a global pandemic to make the “Zoom Incident” absolutely no big deal. Nikos and I did run around for a few tense minutes trying to fix the problem by re-booting our internet server, and signing in with each of our computers that we were considering to be faulty pieces of good for nothing junk. I was super bummed, and I felt stupid for a few minutes. It seemed I was going to go ahead and start feeling worthless because I had let everyone down, and then one of our students alerted us to the “Zoom Incident.” It was Zoom! It was not user error. The issue was on the Zoom side of things. Fine, even great. Everyone sign off and practice. We can do this. We can practice.

Many of the people I had invited to that big virtual class that never launched, texted me later in the day to report that attempting to join the virtual class did get them on the mat, and they practiced, and it was great. Again, nothing like a global pandemic to put computer issues into perspective, and to remind us that our connection as humans remains strong.

With the virtual practice format I started small, inviting only one person, Mika J. Hunter Twietmeyer to my first try. Afterwards she said it was helpful and it ensured she got on her mat and stayed on her mat. She liked it. Her cats also liked it and came in and participated for the family yoga feeling that virtual yoga makes possible.

The next week I invited a few more AYCD peeps. They liked it, and said it was helpful. Talia’s cat Carmela joined us at the end for a belly rub savasana. And then I invited a few more people. Good yoga was had by all. There were many a cat, dog, baby and sheltering-in-place-partner cameos. Even a diaper-free-potty-training-human-toddler made the scene.

For the day Zoom broke I invited the whole gang. Did I mention Zoom broke?

Please know I am not a big computer person. I was very reluctant to do yoga in a virtual format, but we live in crazy Covid 19 times. The past 2 months I had taken a few virtual mysore classes with my teacher David Garrigues and they were helpful. I got some great instruction, great reminders. It was interesting hearing him instruct in the virtual format. I took a handful of guided classes from my dear friend Kathy Hallen and Nikos did some with Stacy Ingham. These classes got me/us on the mat and it was great hearing their voices and seeing their home yoga studios. Kathy donated all of the monies from the class to a local food pantry! So cool. I have also participated in several of Joanna Darlington’s virtual practice space offerings. No teaching, no fee, just good new fashioned community practicing–a new kind of together. Each of these forums got me on my mat and offered a kind of easing into this new normal of on-line yoga.

I started yoga before the internet was a thing. It was not possible or even fathomable to go on-line and watch a video of someone doing a pose you were working on. All of the teaching and learning was done face to face, mat to mat. That was then, and this is now.

Nothing like a priest with a water pistol having some Easter fun in a face mask observing social distancing while squirting holy water on parishioners to shift my thinking about what is the new normal. VIRTUAL YOGA, BRING IT ON!

Sunday Morning, May 17 2020

North Carolina has entered into Phase 2 of re-opening (restaurants, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, tanning salons operating at 50% capacity, but no bars, nightclubs, gyms or health clubs, yoga studios, movie theaters, bowling alleys or other indoor entertainment venues). But Durham has had a spike in infections in the last week. Our Mayor is continuing the stay-at-home orders and they will remain in effect indefinitely. I am with our Mayor on this, waiting until the science and the facts pave the way for a safe re-opening serves the greater good. But sooner or later Durham will enter Phase 2, and then Phase 3, and then…

We ask you to think about what you envision for the re-opening of AYCD. What new rules and protocols will need to be put in place to make AYCD a safe environment?

Our studio is small, about 650 square feet of yoga space. How many of us can be in there? Will we need to make reservations for a practice space? Will we wear face masks? Will we need to limit each yogi to one or two classes at AYCD per week. What if safety requires students must choose only one day to attend an actual class at AYCD and take the rest of the days on-line, like a hybrid model? For example, you could come either Tuesday or Thursday evening to actual class. Let’s say you choose Tuesday to attend class in person. If you want to take class on Thursday evening you take the on-line class being offered at the same time. Nikos will probably be doing the face mask-to-face mask teaching while I will be doing the on-line teaching from up in our attic.

That hybrid model is just an idea. What are your ideas? I have so many questions about what it will look like for us. We are currently taking ideas, opinions and suggestions for what you are thinking about the re-opening of AYCD.

Until then, we offer our 9AM Saturday led primary via Instagram AYCDurham and a virtual mysore/practice space meet-up type class on Sunday via Zoom, so as long as the internet is not broken, come and join us.