June 2020: Summer solstice reflections & 5 things lockdown taught me
Summer solstice marks the half way point of 2020 and an opportunity to take stock. What a rollercoaster 2020 has been so far! Covid-19 affects everyone physically, mentally and spiritually. Firstly, the physical response with self-isolation, distancing and testing. The wicked nature of the pandemic is slowly starting to unfold requiring a holistic response, no quick fix. Yoga, relaxation techniques and meditation are antidotes for stress, connecting to a strong immune response and re-discovering joy, stability and comfort in a new way in our lives.
Five things lockdown taught me:
- Connection & Community
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. (African Proverb)
Humans are social animals and we need connection. The term social distancing was quickly rephrased to physical distancing given the tools available to stay socially connected with family, friends, colleagues. Social connectedness has become an integral part of society again. Priorities rightly re-adjusted back to basics. Mindsets, attitudes, habits started to shift towards, friendlier, more caring and compassionate ones. Taking the foot of the gas made people realise that their lives are not fulfilled and sustainable. The search for meaning and purpose emerges and continues, requiring effort, self-discovery, and healing.
For the first time in almost 20 years living in the UK, I noticed that social interactions have become more meaningful, less ego-driven and focused on outcome for someone else’s benefit. Kindness and compassion have become drivers of change. Surely, there is still a long way to go but every journey begins with the first step. Building healthier, more balanced and happier communities need to be our legacy for future generations.
- Trust life
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. (Pablo Picasso)
Leaving the rat-race behind felt surreal, scary and unsettling at the beginning – I didn’t have a plan. I suppose those being furloughed right now, facing uncertainty about their future experience similar feelings, an emptiness, void, frustration, anger – mixed emotions difficult to label. In the midst of emotional and mental turmoil trying to make sense of a new situation can awaken the dormant potential and tap into our higher awareness, our most inner Self. What’s the worst that can happen? Resistance to change causes suffering. Having a yoga and mindfulness toolbox at hand has been invaluable to me during lockdown: getting through daily struggles like home-schooling, children entertainment, constrained movement and interactions, feeling fragile, confused and faced with lack of stability and uncertainty. Yet, hope and faith keep us going that everything will turn out ok. We are spiritual beings, part of a bigger picture, unlearning unhelpful patterns to make us feel whole again and find our path and purpose.
- Customer loyalty & support
Look for 3 things in a person: Intelligence, Energy and Integrity. If they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two. (Warren Buffet)
I didn’t set out to teach yoga. It grew and evolved organically, good friends gave me the nudge needed to get over the self-doubt hurdle. I wanted to share with others what helped me through the then-challenging times. Connecting with others comes naturally and effortlessly to me. I grew a regular tribe of diverse, yet like-minded students. The pandemic makes me even more determined to pass on the lessons I learned through my teaching – providing consistency, support, tools and keeping the community-spirit going. The global wellness market is swamped with free offerings and a healthy balance (of giving and taking) needs to be established to make it accessible and affordable.
I am overwhelmed by and incredibly grateful for the loyalty and trust placed in me and my teachings during lockdown. Being authentic, humble, caring, approachable and staying truthful to my own personal, ongoing development, enables me to help others sow the seeds for improved health, overall wellbeing and healing. Honouring yoga’s tradition and sharing the ancient teaching requires life-long learning, curiosity and empathy. Yoga Teachers are agents for change and transformation, empowering people to step into their own light. However, the future of yoga communities should strive to place the emphasis on collaboration over competition.
- Perspective & positivity
Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light (Dan Brown)
So far, 2020 has proved challenging, hurtful, strange – yet, keeping a positive mindset amidst all struggles, fears, despairs, political upheavals and human tragedies is key.
Many of us started to appreciate the little things again, the things we took for granted. More and more people see the silver lining of the pandemic and voices become louder that they don’t want to return to what was considered ‘normal’.
Having the privilege to accompany a number of women on their journey into motherhood during the pandemic is incredibly rewarding. Welcoming new life while the Covid-19 death toll climbed daily brings it home how the circle of life continues. Empowering and equipping women with the right tools and mindset to support them throughout labour and birth in a relaxed home environment is inspirational and fulfilling.
Watching the launch of SpaceX – a long harboured dream of entrepreneur Elon Musk – provided a much-needed reminder that it is vital to have a vision, fail, get up and try again. Hard work, creativity, cooperation, determination, perseverance, resilience and faith are human qualities that demonstrate we all have the potential to create something, if we believe in it. During times of unrest and challenges, this launch has become a sign of hope and inspiration to achieve the impossible.
- Individual responsibility for a more sustainable world
Change the World, Have Fun, Make Money – in that order. (Ethan Berman)
The most inspirational firm ever worked for was RiskMetrics. Its philosophy was ingrained throughout the company and senior management – above quote from the then CEO says it all and has never been truer than today. Climate change, biodiversity, product safety, human and labour rights, corporate behaviour, privacy and data security – buzz words allocated under the umbrella of ESG: Environmental, Social, Governance. It has finally reached every single one of us, not just institutional investors. As ESG Consultant-turned yoga teacher these issues are not new to me. Yoga is a way of living together in harmony with oneself, nature and all beings, not about mastering physical postures. Flexibility and physical strength are by-products and the starting point of a lifelong journey. The world is finally waking up to the detrimental impact of human nature on the environment, to social injustice. Suppressed minorities finally find their voices… We, as individuals, finally start to care, take action and collectively empower those who have been speaking their truth for a long time, yet were not heard or ignored.
2020 will continue to be a year of transformation: dissolving old, static patterns and belief systems and bring new beginnings, opportunities and different perspectives.
Getting through these times with a growth mindset (and letting go of a fixed mindset) is our greatest priority.
What has lockdown taught you?
What do you want to keep and carry into your life going forward?
What changes do you want to make?
My yoga practice and learning has been the base of personal growth. If the above resonated with you and you wish to feel more empowered and take the first step to a more balanced life, I love to hear from you.
Compassion – Connection – Community