Space to Breathe

I’ve been teaching yoga outdoors for two years now, renting the patio and back yard of a friend’s Airbnb property on weekdays. Hot yoga in the summer, windy vata yoga in the spring with weights anchoring my mat, blissful perfect-weather yoga in the fall, and slightly chilly yoga in the winter. It’s not bad at midday as long as we’re in the sun. Bees still hum in the ice plants, low-growing succulents that bloom year-round.

I’ve come to appreciate the spaciousness of being under the sky and hearing the sounds of the world around us. Not only the bees, but the birds fluttering in a tree next door and for some reason occasionally whacking into the metal fence. Neighborhood noises such as a passing car or a barking dog. Life surrounding us. I don’t miss being in a studio. Where I teach now, people who see my yoga website or get a referral from someone in town have to ask for directions, and I get to know them on the phone before they come to class. I can check with them privately about health concerns.

Of course, it’s the pandemic that moved my teaching outdoors, and not all my former students have wanted to do an outdoor class. I have to accept that. Will I ever teach indoors again? Will they take my classes again? Perhaps. But I don’t fantasize going back to everything the way it used to be.

I heard an interview with a man who volunteers to help at disaster sites like the recent tornadoes in Kentucky. He said people often tell him, “Nothing will ever be the same.” He doesn’t deny it. But he also says, “That doesn’t mean it will be bad.”