‘Interconnection is the key. Science shows us this. Economics shows us this. Environmental consciousness certainly shows us this. Epidemiology shows us this. What happens over there doesn’t necessarily stay there, it ripples out over here. What we do, what we care about, what we devote ourselves to, it matters. All of that will ripple out along these strands of interconnection.’
–from ‘Mindfulness@Home with Sharon Salzberg
Having joined the world of yogis and yoga has meant I’ve enjoyed the advantages of community for most of my adult life. I’ve befriended and been involved with members of various yoga communities starting in the seventies: Satyananda, Oki, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Desikachar, IYTA. And nowadays, there are so many more circles of yoga: Synergy, Power Vinyasa, Purna Yoga, all the styles named after their creators, and all the ones named after geographic locations or Hindu gods or goddesses.
My friend, Collyn, came up with the term non-denominational yoga, and I believe that’s the kind I teach. That makes me unaffiliated, except for my membership in the Yoga Australia association, which is a nationwide community.
While I lived and taught in Sydney, I started a beautiful community ritual where teachers from different traditions came together once a week to practice. It was very democratic; each week a different member of the group would lead our practice and share from their own experience their skills and knowledge. Afterwards, we would go out for breakfast and coffee, share our gossip and get to know each other better.
When I moved to Mitchells Island, little by little, I got to meet a completely new group of teachers. Fortunately, we were able to create a new community of once-a-month yoga teacher practitioners. This group has been meeting for several years now. Sometimes we are a bigger cohort of say, 16, and sometimes just 4 or 5. We rotate the venue so each teacher who leads can be on their ‘home turf’. During the lockdown in 2020, we tried to do zoom connections but it was just too hard.
Lately, I’ve been saddened by the approach to COVID-19 that some yoga teachers in my local community and in wider communities have taken regarding wearing masks and getting vaccinated. In an on-line BBC article, I read about the contingent of teachers who are anti-masks, anti-vax and even subscribe to QAnon conspiracy theories.
In my studio, The Yoga Shed, the students and I wear masks and subscribe to social distancing. I encourage anyone to get the ‘jab’ as soon as possible for the sake of all of us.
There have always been factions in the yoga world, but the divisiveness that I see now is not about soft yoga vs. hard yoga or hatha yoga vs. raja yoga or your guru vs. my guru. It may amount to a choice between life and death. It looks to me more about sacrificing righteous and patently unscientific views for the good of the community.
The following are the Australian Government Department website’s benefits of getting vaccinated.
- Vaccinations are proven to be the most effective way to protect against infectious diseases.
- Vaccines strengthen your immune system by training it to recognise and fight against viruses.
- When you get vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and helping to protect the whole community.
I know some of my friends and colleagues are still on the fence, ostensibly waiting for the vaccines to be proven safe. If you are waiting, as my husband wrote in a recent ‘Yoga Suits Her’ post, just do it! The time is past for waiting. As of today 15% of the world population has been fully vaccinated, well over a billion people.
I would ask you to get the ‘jab’ for my sake, yours and ours.