Ironically during the most disconnected time of my life, my yoga teacher has turned this weeks intention to focus on connection. Today marks the 14th and final day of my travel-related self isolation.
Self isolation is described on the Government of Manitoba web site as avoiding situations where you could infect other people. DO NOT attend activities or gatherings where you may come in close contact with other people. This includes work, school and university, public transport (plane/bus/taxi/carpool), health-care facilities, faith-based facilities (church), grocery stores or restaurants, shopping malls, sporting events, concerts and birthday parties. Unfortunately in my little town, the definition has been interpreted to mean don’t leave your yard. I haven’t gone for a walk for 14 days. People are watching me, to make sure. To say that’s unsettling would be an understatement.
The practice of yoga can be much more than a physical workout, more than poses and stretches. I have used these 14 days of self-isolation to explore, with the help of my friend and teacher Beth Fehr and her new COVID inspired on-line company Elizabeth Now, the deeper possibilities of the practice of yoga.
With nothing to do and no where to go, the timing seemed perfect to embark on an extensive yoga practice. It’s turned out to be incredibly difficult. I was concerned about this homecoming, but it’s been unexpectedly harder than even I thought it would be.
It is not the isolation, I could enjoy 14 days alone. It’s not boredom, I have a large garden to plant. It’s been fun to make creative meals from food that’s been taking up freezer and shelf space for years. There’s something else unsettling here.
What I feel disconnected to is reality, surrounded by hypocrisy. Fear, as it turns out is an ugly emotion. My connection with people feels splintered and strange. So my practice of exploring interconnection has turned inward. Do I have power to affect my emotions, my thoughts, even my immunology? This is my practice this week.
Left to my own yoga practice yesterday I made an occasion of it. With the yoga channel on Sirius radio piped through my best Bose speaker, and patchouli incense lit I began to explore the power within. There was no danger of a visitor, you all are afraid of me now. Ninety minutes later I reluctantly returned to the real world, and yes it did seem just a tad nicer.
Tending the Garden
My yoga practice has been guided by gardening metaphors, fitting for the season. As I weed and plant the physical garden in my yard, I look within to what’s planted inside myself, what to nurture and what to toss away. I do more than that, though. When I bend to work with the soil I do a little yoga stretch. While my hands are in the dirt I dwell on my connection to the earth. The practice is all encompassing.
Tomorrow is freedom day and I’m surprised what I missed most. The first thing I’ll do is take Tucker for a walk, a very long walk and then I will surround myself with the closest friends I have. A meal and beverage on a busy Winnipeg patio might restore a little normalcy too.