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  • Writer's picturemarielysbm

To teach or not to teach -during Covid-19 #quarantine?; the yogini dilemma...

Updated: May 10, 2021

The civic called to #quarantine was made a couple of days after I arrived in NYC. I was coming back from South America, more specifically Perú, Uruguay, and Argentina where I spent a month and a half traveling-. I spent the last days of my trip in Montevideo where life was simple & home like - some may use the word “domestic”-. I spent my days enjoying the company of a friendsister and her new baby, allowing myself time to do little and to breathe away from the rough NYC cold weather.

I already had a teaching plan laid out for my return and was eager to see students again and hear how they have taken care of themselves during the winter. Maybe also sharing some spiritual insights and stories of my travels. That did not happen! Instead we were summoned to a call to explore a transition to online teaching.

I have never considered online Yoga teaching, actually I have been very reluctant to remote learning in general -that is just not my "style"-. As a somatic practitioner I have a high appreciation toward live, embodied learning experiences -as my own Caribbean self I prefer closeness-. There is so much one can do at a distance, has been my recurrent thought before this historic moment. I realized how important it was to continue supporting one another and being “present” for our students -a.k.a. clients- and glided into online teaching with equal joy and skepticism.

Transitioning to online learning was easier than I could have imagined. I already have a practice space in my living room with all my Yoga, physical therapy & dance conditioning “props”. My roommate is very "tech savvy" and setting up his gamer camera and my computer was a piece of -vegan- cake. We -my home studio- kicked off online classes almost at the same time as the massive WAVE of free online content crowded the internet: sound healing baths, IG live meditation classes, zoom meetings and dance lessons, online conferences, workshops, conversations, concerts, you name it. We ran from bumping each other in the city of New York, to surfing the highways of distant communication, everyone at once... overwhelming and exciting. The force was with us!!

What were our motivations? I like to think that most of us wanted to be together, to respond to the call for collective caring, to support each other, to…. Ahh!! big breath in... big breath out + sigh!!! To not be alone in the midst of uncertainty!!? As for me, I was rested, I was ready, I was eager to be back in NYC and to be honest, I needed to continue generating an income -meaning: I was also scared-. Am I the only one on this boat? I do not think so. Are we being honest with ourselves and everyone else into what our motivations are to continue teaching? Maybe. Are we completely aware of what are implications of online teaching and remote learning -economic, social, physical, etc.? How is this impacting teachers and students alike? Is online teaching-learning a “sustainable model” that could enable us to take care of one another? I do not have all the answers to these questions, if you do, please share.

To teach or not in a time where collective physical and mental health is at a stake is a dilemma, at least for me. This is not a simple question to answer, there is no easy way to go around this. What I perceive is the opportunity to continue practicing self-awareness and compassion, and move accordingly. This may look like an endless spontaneous dance… or maybe like teaching a Yoga class without a lesson plan, can we trust the practice to unravel itself?

Can I let life unravel itself? .... I can certainly try to make "effortless" moves as I go along in this dance. Today, that looks like taking a teaching break to care for my mental health and body. While this may mean to let go the -low- income I was making through online teaching, it also means letting go of the hustling paradigm and all the learned capitalistic belief: high productivity = value. It means giving myself space to REST, and reflect on what kind of economy I am participating in and how it aligns -or not- with the equitable and caring future that I imagine for us.

We deserve to rest and this will continue to be my conscious practice!!

in power and love,


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