Until something missing or lost is recovered, we often don’t even know that we are missing it.
I had a profound moment of insight recently as I stepped back into teaching yoga in person, at a studio, for the first time since March of 2020.
Yes, I had been consistently teaching online and even offered some outdoor classes this summer, but I had not taught a real live class in roughly 19 months. I honestly had no idea how this would affect me or what a big deal this was to my whole self.
As I drove down Route 100, on a sparkling cool autumn morning, I was nervous and excited. I was headed to the lovely Mountain Rose Integrated Wellness Center in Waitsfield to re-enter a world in which I’ve been deeply embedded for the past 20-plus years.
When the world shut down in March of 2020, in-person fitness and yoga classes did as well, and we all had to quickly adjust. Part of that adjustment was moving to 100-percent virtual classes.
Yoga and other fitness professionals had to become tech-savvy literally overnight, or risk being completely out of work. This transition hit hard and fast, and many of us had never taught an online class. Ever. Luckily, I was already familiar with Zoom and had been seeing my coaching clients on this platform for some time. I felt at least a tiny step ahead of the curve.
The big leap for me came in purchasing an online class registration platform and scheduling system, upgrading my website, and then learning how the heck to use all these new technologies.
In addition, I had to figure out how to teach classes in my 310-square-foot apartment (no small feat!). My little space became a multi-purpose yoga studio, coaching center, cafe, planning space and hangout zone, all in one.
Just like that, my entire business (and life) changed overnight. As I suspect is the case for many of us, there were both pros and cons to this wildfire of change.
On the one hand, I felt super grateful to be able to keep teaching and supporting my clients and students online during an incredibly difficult time. On the other hand, not everyone wanted to be in front of a screen doing yoga or participating in a workshop, so there were losses too.
Some expenses increased and others decreased. The overall trajectory began strong, but then seemed to wane as we became a culture of Zoom-fatigued home-bound humans.
So, as I recently pulled into the parking lot at Mountain Rose, it’s fair to say I was both eager and apprehensive. Besides some COVID-19 fears, there was also a loud committee in my head barraging me with doubts about my own capabilities to step back in skillfully: Who would show up? What would happen? Do I even want to be doing this anymore? Am I ready?
What happened that morning actually surprised me: I taught a great class to a full house, I loved being back in actual human proximity, and I felt deeply supported by the students, the studio, and the human connection. I felt renewed, recharged, and “at home” again.
Here’s the part that feels important: Later that morning, in the loving arms of my partner, I burst into tears. It was as though 19 months of continual effort to keep my life and biz afloat had finally caught up with me and I felt safe to release.
I didn’t even know how isolated I sometimes felt — or how hard I was trying to keep the fabric of my life glued together — during a global pandemic. It wasn’t until I stepped back into the warm space of community and connection that I realized what was missing. My tears were tears of joy, relief, and reunion.
To be an entrepreneur, you have to be a kind of shape-shifter. It goes with the territory. You have to be willing to let go, adapt, dismantle, change, create, and evolve, over and over again. If this is you, I see you and I understand. And, whoever you are, whatever you are going through, I hope you find small moments of homecoming during a time when it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one holding it all together.