I wish I were delivering this news in a room packed with every person who has contributed to and been transformed within the four walls in which we’ve made our home on N. West Street for over 13 years. But, as with so many other things right now, it’s just not going to be that way.
I started the process of renegotiating the lease for blue lotus back in February before leaving for India. A week after returning from that trip, we closed the door and shifted to a virtual platform. The negotiation process was never completed, and our lease will end on July 31.
I do not believe that gathering yogis into a room to move and breathe together is a viable, safe, sustainable, business model in the time of COVID19. If we signed a new lease or had multiple years left to finish out, I would be faced with the impossible reconciliation of that belief and a huge financial commitment. I’d be hustling around my truth to find a way to make it work. As impossible as all of this feels, I am grateful that is not the case. The financial impact of multiple months of closure is already overwhelming.
What we miss is being together. A hug at the front desk. Sitting on a friend’s mat before class to catch up. Lingering on a bench in the hallway chatting about life. Breathing, moving, chanting, laughing in a room full of loved ones and friends we’ve not yet met. This is no longer our reality. In person, indoor yoga will be a very different experience for the foreseeable future. Four page waivers. Face masks. Disinfectant protocols. Limited classes. Very limited capacity. Significant price increases. All of that feels to me like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Instead of pouring energy into the past, we must live in the present and look to the future.
There is another way forward. I don’t yet know exactly what it looks like, but I have seen and felt in the past eleven weeks the power of this community, and its ability to transcend miles, time, space and imperfect technology. The community we’ve been building for thirteen years is not going away. The teachings and the teachers are not going away. I believe we have the opportunity to shape the future of yoga. And for now that will be without a permanent brick and mortar space.
What I do know is that we will continue to offer classes online to stay connected, to be in the practice together. We will be re-creating our teacher training program for an online and small group setting. We are envisioning weekend and season-long intensives for non-teachers to deepen their practices in a time when a practice has never been more essential. And when it is safe to do so, we will find outdoor and indoor spaces to gather and practice together in person.
When we find ourselves at the other side of the COVID19 crisis, perhaps there will be another building to call home. But blue lotus is not a building. Our studio community and teachings are transitioning. We are adapting to the reality of this new time in the best and most sustainable way that we can. This is the yoga.
I recognize that the tremendous grief that I am feeling is part of my growth. It is for many of us. And it is putting everything we’ve been practicing to the test about non-attachment, letting go, cultivating non-dual perspective; in short, our capacity to handle what we don’t like, to breathe deeply into fear and discomfort. We cannot live in the past. There is no going back. We must move forward, expand, create, grow, innovate. Growth spurts of any kind are painful. Change is not easy. And yet I know that we will be better for it.
Maybe this news is a surprise to you, maybe it is not. But if you’ve read along this far, it’s likely to have evoked some assortment of emotions. I hope that you will take the time to feel them all, without creating a story around what was and what if. I hope that you will let the storm pass through and clear out what is old and clinging inside of you that you also can let go, expand and open to the curiosity of just where this river will take us. We are being called to adapt and lead. We are answering the call.
I don’t have words to express my gratitude for the years we spent in that most magical space. They represent a huge piece of my life’s work. At the same time, I am grateful for this season of change that is delivering a new series of lessons to guide us closer to the radiant Self that has always been our destination.
I am surrounded by a team of brilliant, powerful, committed, inspiring change-makers and light-keepers. We are walking into the future. We hope that you will join us.