It was March 15, 2020 when I closed the studio due to the virus. This was a few days before Ohio issued the mandate that would have closed us and many other businesses down, and I initially planned to stay closed for two weeks. I had only been open for business for 3 1/2 months at that point, and I remember being really worried about shutting down for two weeks.
Now it’s a year later, and over half a million Americans have died from Covid. That’s more Americans than died on the battlefields of WWI, WWII, and Vietnam combined. My heart breaks for all those who have lost loved ones.
In addition to the staggering loss of life, the pandemic has brought many other kinds of loss and has affected all of us in many different ways — emotionally, financially, mentally, and physically. And while all of humanity may be in the same metaphorical storm of this pandemic, we are most definitely not all in the same boat. The pandemic has taken a much greater toll on some than others and has both illuminated and exacerbated the inequities of our society. It has shown us clearly where the work of evolving our society lies.
Like the old song says, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” As members of humanity, we need to develop compassion, kindness, and true understanding of our interconnectedness. If we can start to lay down our judgement, our self-righteousness, and our narrow, fixed views, we can start thinking and acting in terms of “we” instead of “me.” Our inner transformation will spread outward to benefit others. Thankfully, we have our yoga practices to help us with this inner work.
As Anja Kuehnel discusses in the March Jivamukti Yoga Focus-of-the-Month, Self-inquiry (with a capital S) is a critical aspect of yoga practice and leads to compassion. Yoga practices help us to realize or remember our true Self, which is as Anja writes ”…the pure Consciousness that is the same in everyone and that pervades everything equally, as space pervades everything existing in it.” She continues, “This understanding will naturally lead to compassion and love for all of life. It will be the end of divisions and conflicts. This is the aim of all Yoga and all yogis: true Union.”