Today is May 13 and I’ve pretty much been living in self isolation due to the Covid 19 pandemic for two months now. Businesses around the city, province and the country started closing around March 15th. Many people have lost their jobs and may or may not ever return. Luckily my main job of teaching English moved on, so I’m able to continue work, just in a new form of learning to delivery my classes online. The yoga studio I was working for closed around the same time and I lost the opportunity to teach yoga and connect with my community with no information on what the future of boutique fitness, or fitness delivery in general will look like in the future.
This is my truth. While there are many more details that go in to my situation, and how I’m surviving, these are the basics of my situation during this time. It has taken me awhile to feel comfortable enough to write again. It has taken me even longer to feel the desire to practice yoga. The stress of the unknown is real, and although I have many skills to help me get through this situation, I too have struggled adjusting to my new normal.
It’s a weird time where you know the majority of people are all going though a traumatic time, and it is common to ask people if they still have a job and not be surprised to learn that someone has lost their job. The mental toll of consuming information has been overwhelming to say the least. It takes energy that I never expected. Even though I can feel completely fine one day, it’s often followed by extreme exhaustion just because of the mental energy that it takes to process everything that is going on around me. I find that I have very good days, but then they are often followed by the lowest of the lows. Now… these are my highs and lows, not to be compared or measured to anyone else’s.
It’s funny how when a person gets in to a difficult situation they seem to want their issues to be worse or more difficult than others… Oh that’s fine that you’re struggling Nicole, but YOU still have a job, it can’t be THAT bad. And for the most part this is true. I am not struggling financially and therefore this must mean that I am ok. To an extent this is true, but I live alone and go through moments of frustration wondering when I’ll ever get to have any physical contact with another person. Living alone has it’s own struggles and while I’m good at keeping them balanced, I’m also human and crave human interaction a hug, a hand shake, a wink or a nod, a physical energy in the room of anyone other than just my cat. I’m actually really tired of treating everyone that I meat like they are a walking virus. I’m also frustrated by not knowing when I’ll ever have a chance to get a hug from a person without feeling like I’m doing something illegal.
We are built to need and desire human interaction, so it is no wonder that so many people are desiring the ability to return to “normal” life. The question remains though, what will “normal” look like once this passes? Will it ever really pass? Are we destined to live 6 feet apart for the foreseeable future? Will we ever really feel comfortable in group settings again? Is the future of public fitness to have to wear a mask while practicing/teaching?
This brings me to the differences that we are facing and how I am incorporating yoga into my daily life during this unpredictable time. Satya is the second Yama in yoga philosophy, and it is basically translated to Truth. I remember when I first started to study the Yamas and learned about this Yama in specific. I remember being very new to yoga philosophy so much of the philosophies seemed to be overly analyzed and I often questioned the truth in the meaning of a literal translation but also in the potential intended meaning of the origin of the passage. I think my though process here comes from growing up in a Catholic school system and knowing that the Bible has been translated in to so many different languages and still is interpreted in many different ways. One text with so many iterations.
I bet right about now you’re wondering why I’m rambling on about the translations of the Bible and talking about yoga philosophy during the middle of a world wide pandemic? Oddly enough all of this comes together in a very clear way in my mind.
Let me explain. Going back to my study of yoga philosophy and where this specific Yama came in to my life. Satya basically translated means truth. Seems simple enough, but what is the truth? This is not so simple. While the overall intent of this philosophy urges us all to live and speak our truth, it is so clear that so many of us don’t know what the truth is. We also often think that there is only one truth, and of course we often perceive “our truth” as the right truth. We see information and process it, and we choose what we want to believe as our truth.
I clearly remember a discussion in that philosophy group around this topic and coming to an understanding that my truth is not ultimate, and not only that…. that other people have truths that they do think are the ultimate truth but they can’t see that there are other truths. I know…. Mind Blowing Right!?
I have a magnet on my fridge that says “Common Sense Is Not So Common”, but what common sense are they referring to? Of course we all have understood and agreed truths like the sky is blue and water is wet, but these are learned truths and typically ones that are taught at a very young age. What if we think of something a little bit more abstract like people shouldn’t get divorced or men are more powerful than women? These statements start to bring in a sense of opinion and questioning. We all have our own brain and we process information the way that works best from us, from the information that we have learned over our lives on who and what to trust. There is a reason that when a crime occurs and observers are questioned, people who were there at the time of the incident often share different details. Some exclude some details completely, some distort some by what their brain fills in because they can’t remember everything, and some focus on specific details so clearly that didn’t even notice other things around them.
This is why Satya keeps coming to my mind lately. When I look around at the state of the pandemic and the different situations that people experiencing, it is no wonder that there are so many different opinions of what the government should and should not be doing. Many people start comments by saying “I just think that ………” They also often finish it by saying what someone or what the government “should” do as a basis of what they think is the truth. There is nothing wrong with this. This is how we express our own Satya. However…….. There needs to be an understanding that there is more than one truth and what “you” believe might be good for you, but it also might not be good for everyone. We need to remember other people’s situations give them different truths. While one thing might be good for one person or province, it might be very different for someone else.When a person lives alone and is living in isolation with only the interaction of
Yoga suggests that we live our truth. It’s not easy to walk a truthful path at all times and to understand that others’ have to work their own path, especially while respecting Ahimsa which is the first Yama. Since Ahimsa asks us to not cause harm to another, we need to remember when practicing Satya to not harm another by disrespecting their truth. Living with Satya or Truth requires respect, honor, and integrity and it provides the clarity to see the higher truths of the yogic path.
During this time of stress and panic during a time in history where we are ALL struggling a universal truth while also experiencing our own individual truths, take a moment to understand those around you and know that what they are going through is just as True as what you are going through. Your Truth is yours, but their truth is also theirs to own.
Trust that the Universe has your back.