Grab a cup of something and settle down. This was going to brief …
As I come out of lockdown and plunge into Tier 3 I’ve been reflecting on how much I have been able to do even though there is a worldwide pandemic. I have been able to work all year albeit with some restrictions and, with fewer client hours, I have been able to focus on my personal and professional development. My yoga practice has been paramount for my sanity and physical health particularly with respect to abhyasa and vairagya (Yoga Sutras 1.12). This can be summarised as putting the support in place and letting go of the outcome: the discipline of practice and attitude of non-attachment to the fruits of practice.
Here’s a recap:
23.03.20 was the start of the first lockdown and cancellation of all in person appointments. That day I moved online and the Morning Dailies began. Half hour lessons every weekday. The community that has gathered every morning has been incredibly supportive. It highlighted the isolation we were experiencing. In one six week period, there was a weekly telling of bereavement. The daily contact was hugely comforting. Wednesday Term Yoga also moved online.
At this stage, I was lone working at Yanley Court. An odd activity, I felt like the resident ghost. Cars would turn up in the car park and silently leave. The occasional practitioner would arrive and leave, unaware that I was working in my room. Slowly the energy of Yanley Court dissipated and I was increasingly aware that Yanley Court was about people not the building.
From March to July, we met online: yoga, meditations and massage tutorials. Reiki shares also became a thing, embracing the teachings of distant healing; these were a time to hold a space outside of the everyday and come together in silent reflection. I had never considered teaching yoga online but it opened up possibilities which brought the confidence to meet for reiki and for meditation. It really is amazing what can be done online and with an attitude of being open. A true practice of abhyasa and vairagya: commit to the time and place to be present then trust to the moment.
At the end of May, Yanley Court closed. I admit I was ready to leave. The building felt empty and lifeless except for the spiders. I had been glad of the horses for company. I had also had the excuse to walk more than once a day in order to get to and from work. I spent eight years loving the space and building friendships at Yanley but I was ready to create my own space at home and feel more contained.
As a family we were five adults in the house. Food foraging and cooking was the main activity. We had set up a home gym in the garden and sometimes there was snooker in the kitchen or a table tennis in the lounge. My youngest sat his second year undergraduate Physics exams online and managed to complete the year with a First. I am so proud of him.
In mid July, I was able to welcome people to my new workroom. I call it a workroom rather than a therapy room. It is not your cream walled empty space. It is full of colour, books and a piano! The space is filled with massage couch or futon or yoga mat. We had a secure system in place to protect clients from the family and protect the family from clients. At the start of September we managed a few days away in Cornwall. My husband and I hid for five days exploring the coast path, walking the labyrinth and staring at the milky way. It was a much needed break before embracing the quickening of autumn.
I was not happy when the second lockdown was announced. In fact I was particularly grumpy and at that point felt weary from needing to respond and change to the demands of the pandemic on a personal and professional level. I had to trust it was necessary but the rules felt random and none of us were doing it the same way. There was a lot of interpretation with everyone trying their best not to implode. Once I adapted and surrendered to the situation, I was able to find some equilibrium and space to read and develop ideas. The yoga, reiki and meditations continued online.
Over this year I’ve also been able to study a second Reiki Master/Teacher qualification as well as attend a course for Yoga in Pregnancy and Active Childbirth (skilfully rearranged to fall between the two lockdowns – thank you Gail Charlton). I’ve also been able to join some online yoga philosophy sessions with my teachers in Malvern; something I would not have done before due to distance and work commitments.
Another first for me is that I have been talking about Christmas in November. I usually point blank refuse – I don’t want to think about it until mid December. I love the time together but I find the time leading up to the day repellent and overdone. It’s been fun to shock the family with my openness to discuss tinsel and turkey with time to spare! We have now finished the second lockdown and today is Will’s 21st birthday amidst the joy that is Tier 3. I am seeing people face to face from next week.
I have also reviewed my professional supports. Towards the end of the first lockdown, I struggled to find information about how to reopen and what was required. Yanley Court was closed and this was the first time in a while that my therapy space was completely my responsibility. Other therapists were generous with their information and we shared ideas over social media. I was so impressed with their membership bodies that I realised that I needed more support. After a lot of paperwork from over twenty years of practice and having my credentials checked, I am now part of several professional bodies and it feels such a relief to have this resource and community available to me. It seems not all membership bodies are equal and it feels really good to have some welly in my corner! If you’re interested, they include:
- Association of Reflexologists (AoR)
- Massage Training Initiative (MTI (UK))
- Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC)
My yoga body, Associated Yoga Studies (AYS) is a community rather than a regulatory body. They have been working hard to update their online presence and make themselves available. The newsletters are full of wisdom and ideas. You do not have to be a teacher to join. If you enjoy my teaching, I invite you to have a look at their website. There’s a whole community to explore ideas and practice with. Here is a link to the new website with a facebook page: www.ays.org.uk/
I find social media a blessing and a curse. It’s bit like Alice in Wonderland. I open a page up and fall down the rabbit hole. Where does time go? Everyone has something to sell or a video to watch. It’s all inspiring but can also make me feel that its never enough. It’s very easy to feel a need to do more, to be more available, more connected. I’m writing this and saying it out loud because I am assured that saying stuff releases any power it has over you. Managing this relationship can be problematic so I’m not a daily post-er but if you want to like pages/share ideas I’m on the following at some point most weeks!:
- Linkedin: Yvonne Cattermole
- And a website with facebook/instagram pages focusing on the different stages of womanhood:
I’m impressed if you’ve made it to the end. Thanks for sharing in my reflection and more thanks for supporting me this year. You’ve been a lifeline. It’s so much better to feel grateful than grumpy. I’m off to celebrate my baby being 21 and wonder how that happened?
Blessings all, Yvonne x