We will be opening the Yoga Path this month beginning Monday, July 6. There’s a widespread sense that the extreme measures many areas took to severely reduce social contact have “flattened the curve,” and we are starting to see the daily count of cases and deaths fall. Presently in Nebraska and Douglas county this seems to be the case. The landscape of the Covid-19 pandemic seems to change everyday and week. Making a decision one day seems undermined by changing conditions the next. Along with this, people seem to have a spectrum of responses as to how they will conduct their social behavior from strict caution to cavalier indifference. Also what’s true for some of the communities hardest hit, may not necessarily be relevant for other communities. In any case, our cultural conversation is turning to how we can best relax shelter-in-place policies in a way to minimize the possible health risk.

It is interesting that this is often couched in the language of “a return to normal.” People are understandably tired of social distancing—the kind of life that we’ve been living in shutdown mode is difficult to sustain, economically, practically, and emotionally. But it’s not a given, that the end of sheltering in place means simply — a “return” to the way things were.

One of yoga’s central teachings is that everything changes. This material world of nature (prakṛti) is impermanent and always changing. We suffer when we remain attached to the way things were, and how we think they should be. So it is important for us as yoga practitioners to question our attachment to how we used to live our lives, our aversion to some of the things we may continue to have to do to mitigate the risk of coronavirus transmission, and our fear of the unknown.
Another central tenet of yoga is non-harming (ahimsa). With this in mind, we should come to class with the intention to keep ourselves and others safe. Keeping this in mind when it comes to being in class, and leaving afterward will be a wonderful opportunity to truly practice mindfulness and compassion in our everyday lives. So with that in mind, here are:

Guidelines for Best Practices while at the Yoga Path for class

  • Don’t come to class if you have any unusual symptoms or simply don’t feel well. The class will be offered simultaneous on Zoom, so you will still have the option to attend virtually.
  • Take your temperature 1 or 2 hours before class. If it is elevated, don’t attend class. You can know your normal baseline temperature if you take it regularly. Normally, temperatures rise with activity and are often highest in the morning and lowest before bedtime. Any rise in temperature out of the ordinary may be a sign of body response to infection.
  • Wear a mask to and from class which you can wear to your station. For the next few weeks while the outbreak seems on the verge of surging, I am asking all who come to class, wear a mask while in class. Designated practice stations will be marked for you to set up to help maintain a safe distance.
  • Class size will be limited. Reserve a time slot and if you are not able to come to a class you have registered for please contact the teacher ASAP so someone else can perhaps take your spot.
  • Keep social distance when entering and setting up. Please do not touch or go near anyone else in the class. 
  • The entrance to the studio has been rearranged for better flow, but if two people are already in the entryway, wait to come in or to go out. 
  • Bring your own mat. If you don’t have a mat, you may have a clean one from the Path, but take it home with you. That will become your mat. If you have 2 blankets, 2 blocks, and a strap bring them with you and take them home. Other props will be used on an as needed basis.
  • Try not bring in water bottles to class unless you absolutely have to because of physical or medical requirements. 
  • You will be asked to clean the wall and ropes around your station after class. Disinfectant spray bottles and clean rags will be furnished. The floor will be mopped after every class. 
  • Hand-wash station will be available in the studio. Use it coming and going. If you need to use the bathroom downstairs, wash your hands before you close the door and prior to coming out of the bathroom to minimize exposure at the doorknob.

The air conditioning will be on, along with fans, and windows will be open to aid in circulation. After class we will be mopping the floor and cleaning high use areas. Put masks on prior to leaving the studio.

We know that the major risk of transmission is via respiratory droplets and aerosols, and that this risk is much higher if we are indoors with someone who is infected for an extended period of time. Maintaining a distance of 6 ft. helps to reduce the risk of coming into contact with these droplets. For this reason class times will be reduced to just over an hour. 

Since the classes will be recorded on Zoom for virtual participation, there won’t be much movement by me while teaching and there will be no physical touching for correction.

There will be no tea at the end of class for now.

Please don’t feel pressured or obligated to come to the studio. All classes will continue to be on Zoom, so you can always attend virtually. 

Again the main intent is to come together mindfully, but take care of one another at the same time. I am so grateful for all the support that has come from the Yoga Path community since our closing in March. This support has been a source of strength and joy for me in my own practice. I’ve missed you all more than I can communicate in this email. If we move cautiously and in the spirit of ahimsa, our collective practice will help stay peaceful and healthy. 

Thanks, Mark