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British Columbia

2021 Contributing Writers Pandemic Prose

A Yoga Teacher’s Journey

Written by Sanaz Busink

Due to COVID 19 we are now in lockdown and we have decided to close our yoga studio doors until further notice, however, most of our classes will be transitioning to an online platform.

Stay home and be kind.

Namaste”

This was the email I got one dark cold winter morning from the studio where I had been happily teaching yoga. My bottom lip drew away from my motionless top lip, as I stood there, reading, and rereading the words on my computer screen.

“transitioning to an on-line platform, on-line platform, onnn-linnnne platforrrrrmmmmmm.”

These tiny words on the screen tumbled and turned in my head like a cat watching a front-loading washing machine. Terrified, fascinated, and yet hopeful to be able to play with whatever is in there once the cycle is over and the door opens.

I have always been referred to, as, adaptable and fluid like water…, until March of 2020 when the coronavirus took over the whole world by surprise and my yoga career went from… in-person hugs, smelling coffee breath good morning’s, and fresh oat porridge smell lingering on clothes.

The symphony of inhales and exhales and spontaneous sighs during class, the tastes of lavender tea and dark chocolate shared after practice, and the beautiful, open, sacred yoga studio becoming an online 2-dimensional space.

A vast intangible place and space where energy hits a whirlpool of buzzing noises and cloud storage spaces of chaos zooming in and out.

In the years and months before this devastating virus introduced itself to humankind, I had a habit of spoiling my students. By bringing in little warm face cloths to class, covered in immune-boosting essential oils, handing them out on a silver tray at the end of our practice.

I hugged some of them upon arrival with a smile, as if I was offering to take-off their pain and suffering as a good host would offer to hang her guests’ heavy coat.

So, my world crumbled when I had to transition from teaching yoga in an intimate warm studio space and move into a cold flat world behind a tiny screen.

That is when I realized that I am being tested, the water in me has hit a dam, and if I do not make the right choices I will either turn into a ditch, a swamp, or simply a stagnant body of water and eventually rot, dry and die.

I am mostly talking about my drive to teach yoga, my passion for helping my students find their own unique rhythmic breath.

And in helping them angulate their spine with organic movements, poetic arm and leg explorations.

To give guidance and let them tap into their own intuition and their body’s intelligence during a yoga practice on their mat and off their mat in life.

I help my clients find their path to self-discovery, self-love, and self-healing through guided meditation and yoga, the union of body, breath, mind, soul, and spirit.

Meanwhile, teaching intuitive functional yoga online appeared to be vastly different and difficult for the fluid me. I had to find a way to save myself first, before holding space and offering a helping hand to others.

My first attempt in teaching yoga online failed miserably., The studio internet was weak, so the video would cut in and out, the room was not equipped with proper bright light so it was hard for my students to see me., I could not play music for them as the sound waves appeared weak and muffled on their end, my voice was too soft; I had to basically shout.

I developed a sore throat for the first four months of teaching yoga online which I found out later was the result of my speaking in a higher tone than I had ever used in the last 45 years of my life.

I had to adapt., I needed to take time to investigate and to rethink my steps forward., Creativity became my ally, the world slowing down, and quieting, became a guide. Nature migrating back home as seasons changed from winter to spring and long walks instead of short drives became my daily meditation.

I remembered that as a kid I used to mind read for fun. I used to be able to sit in my room and visualize my best friend in her room and write down what she was thinking about or even doing at that moment. The next day I would ask her about her previous day, and she would confirm that I had time-traveled and mind-read.

So, what’s different now? I asked myself one day as I sat in meditation, crying.

I did not want to read anyone’s mind or sit and meditate on what they are doing at that moment, but I needed to send and spread out my energetic webbing and connect with my students through a little stamp size window on my computer screen. I needed to feel their pain, their sorrow, their joy, and their presence.

But this time just by looking through the computer at their slice of life…corner of the room, or their ceiling fan in their living room, or only getting a glimpse of their knees moving like windshield wipers; at times at their curious cat or mischievous dog checking out the little camera on their computer.

Reciting poems in class changed to prayers. Prayers for one another, and for the entire world.

I eventually picked up on my students’ frequency and let them lead me again while I taught in an empty studio.

Practicing beside a breathing sapphire green plant, a wooden statue of the Buddha and a brass singing bowl that has not been rung for a while. As I teach in this almost empty studio, I hear my own voice echo back against the bare white walls, standing tall in tree pose, keeping me company.

All these years as a yoga teacher I have been teaching people based on their energetic frequencies that they come to class with. They have been leading me and not the other way around.

I realized that I am adaptable, but it takes a bit of time, momentum, and recentering.

I found that I actually don’t like forced change in my stable life, and I resist it with all my body and mind.

I discovered that if I let my heart lead me, then I always find the best path to where I am going.

All I have to do, is, JUST SHOW UP!

I realized that I am actually, a hugger.

I like that extra bit of connection, that extra moment of squeeze you give a loved one to let them know that you care for them and that they are special to you.

I adapted.

I adapted to the ‘voluntold’ universal change. At least I never signed up for this change. I had been happy with the way things were, but with time, the unnormal became the new normal. And we all adapted.

As I have adapted to change in my yogic world, and I feel pride in myself and my students.

There have been few changes in my personal life during this time, and I have learned that having the love of my life work from home and spending every moment of the day with him has been a blessing and I love every minute of it.

The universal slowing down and the fewer hours spent window shopping or spending time and money in local shops and restaurants has opened more space for my practice, for writing, reading, and painting.

And the social distancing has not bothered me one bit as I have always walked through life being mindful of others and taking good care of my mental and physical health.

The big self-discovery was that I love to be loved by people I care for, and these people are my beloved students, my dear family, and friends. I discovered the way I used to show love was by making them something or buying them something and now there is no need for that.

I find that I show my love through kind words and true eye to eye connections and smiles., Through listening and allowing space for silence from behind a breathing mask at and two meters apart…


Sanaz Busink is a Canadian artist living her dream in Penticton BC with her husband, their two rescue dogs and their cat, Han Solo. Her days are filled teaching yoga and meditation, writing poetry and prose, painting, pottery, and embracing nature.