One thing is for sure, if you work in the fitness industry then you should be familiar with change. But COVID-19 brought us real, lasting permanent change and especially for those that hadn’t yet made the full leap into hyper space.
Being a technologist for the last 20+ years, you would think I saw this coming. With platforms like Peloton and Tonal, and heck – I like to take my share of online training, so why was I so far behind this curve?
After being on the other side of computer screen for so long, when I began my yoga teaching career 6 years ago it was refreshing to interact with humans again. I found myself rediscovering and reconnecting with neural pathways and creativity that I wasn’t using in my tech career. I felt so secure that I had found my post retirement career and that I had the next 10 or so years to build my clientele and yes, I guess I would have to address the online aspect of this new business venture.
I am fortunate, I had my own dedicated yoga space in my home. Just seven months prior to the onset of the pandemic my husband and I repainted and repurposed a room that had been the center of play for our sons when they were growing up. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was functional and with a new coat of paint and lots of elbow grease, it would serve well for my private clients and small workshops that I was excited about teaching.
Overnight, the welcoming studio space that I worked hard to create became a graveyard littered with tripods, lap tops, cords, and various levels of makeshift platforms made out of yoga props of different heights. Days of frustrating trials of platforms and applications and then the reality that I’m not 40 years old anymore. What I may have acquired in terms of wisdom, I sometimes fail in being able to find the right words to share any of that! I hated myself in front of the camera and the laptop, it wasn’t me coming through that lens.
One day I would be excited about my online Zoom classes, the next day I would have the urge to gather all the crap jumbled in my studio, load it into my car and drive it to the nearest cliff. I imagined myself screaming as I hurled each piece into the air, watching it smash and roll down to the unseen depth.
I had used Skype and Zoom for distance learning before, but this all seemed so different and foreign, no longer an option that I could offer, more permanent and necessary.
Even now as we begin the process to reopen, when I speak with my students and clients there still seems to be a shift. They got used to their yoga on demand, they have found the space they never had before at home. Some of the “closed due to COVID-19 signs” are being replaced by “permanently closed”, my much beloved yoga studio was one of those.
The procedures now needed in gyms and yoga studies to keep everyone “safe” are overwhelming. I have made the decision to only return to one of my outside teaching jobs, but details still remain to be worked out there too.
Have we reached a tipping point here? Where does this leave those of us that crave the community aspect of teaching and learning. Am I going to be allowed to train my student athletes on a team level again? It seems the further we venture out to put our toes in the water, the more questions we end up with.
Three months later, it still feels like yoga, sports, fitness and life have changed forever.