The main benefit of yoga, on a physical level, isn’t flexibility; it’s radiant immunity.
I have been observing the messaging that many yoga studios have been sending out this week in light of the Coronavirus scare, and one of the recurring themes is something along the lines of “we care greatly about our community and are doing everything we can to sanitize our facilities so as to ensure your safety.” Now obviously I agree with that sentiment, but each time I hear it I can’t help but think of a particular parable that I first learned about from my favorite philosopher, Alan Watts. The story goes something like this:
A long time ago, a Chinese emperor decided to take a walk outside of his castle walls so that he could get some fresh air and observe the lives of local villagers, from whom he was feeling a bit detached. He was accompanied by a slew of armed guards, as well as the Minister of the Household, who was in charge of overseeing such excursions. Not long into the walk, the emperor tripped on a cobblestone and nearly fell. Trying to suppress the embarrassment he felt at tripping and the pain that he felt in his foot, the emperor lashed out, “Let it be known that from this day forward my entire realm shall be covered in leather so that nothing like this ever happens again.” All of the villagers who had witnessed this event and heard the decree froze in fear. All of the guards stood still and bowed their heads. It was only the Minister of the Household who dared to speak. In a deferential, yet rational voice he was able to say, “But Your Majesty, might it not be simpler to just cover your own two feet in leather?”
Have I been taking precautions such as wiping down props, surfaces, light switches, and door handles with disinfectant? Yes! But. I am not even going to pretend that it is in the realm of possibilities for me to wipe down every square inch of the studio every single time someone comes in here. I refuse to uphold the illusion that I can keep you or anyone else completely safe. I think it would be far simpler for us each to take personal responsibility by following these common sense guidelines:
*Do not come to class if you have a cold or cough, or if anyone that you are living with is sick
*Wash your hands both before and after class for at least 20 seconds
*Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
*Bring your own mat to class (I have ordered a bunch of Jade mats that will be available for sale next week)
In the meantime, please know that I am monitoring the whole situation carefully. We will keep our normal classes, lessons, and workshops rolling along for as long as we can. Our yoga practices are more relevant now than ever. We need equanimity and radiant immunity in order to get through this. So let’s stay together in spirit even if we need to be temporarily apart in space. Stay centered, stay sane, and I hope to see you soon!