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A New Era: Reshaping Iyengar Yoga Charlotte as a Virtual Studio

When I started practicing yoga nearly 40 years ago, I was looking for stress reduction and I felt relief with my first class. Through my practice, over time I began to feel the physical benefits as my body began to open up. I felt flexible and then strong as I learned a wide variety of poses. Still later I began to feel the mental effects of being more more focused and relaxed. And finally I began to explore the philosophy behind this practice that was slowly and systematically changing my life. Yoga has helped me traverse some difficult patches in my life. Perhaps your journey has followed a similar path of transformation.

When I began teaching, my first classes were in the East Meck high school library and another in a friend’s living room. I began to want a place where I could store some mats, blankets and belts (our only props). Eventually The Yoga Center was born on McClintock in a duplex. When Laney and I threw in together in 2001 we landed at 8th Street and it seemed that perfection had been attained. When Erin and William became teachers it felt like it was time to finally name what we had become some time ago, Iyengar Yoga Charlotte. My intention was to continue in our beautiful space for many years to come.

When COVID 19 arrived full force in the US and we began our LIVE STREAM classes I thought this was a temporary circumstance. As the infections and deaths rose, I began to feel that the future would have to change in order to be sustainable and safe. During the time that the humans of the world stayed home, the earth has begun to recover from the onslaught of human development and encroachment. We see blue skies over Dehli, Paris and right here in Charlotte the skies are clearer and quieter. I believe I owe it to the earth to do my best to support the ongoing healing of the earth that I feel is vital to the continuation of life. Not as we currently know life, but as it could be.

I am finding my time during the Stay at Home order to be a great opportunity to deepen my practice and study; and every night I have tried to imagine life on the other side of our current dilemma. But I am failing miserably and my imagination generally serves me pretty well. For the health of the world and our community of yogis I feel that it is time for another transformation. This transformation is not going to happen without some pain and sorrow but is nevertheless what I feel is the right path moving forward.

And so, Iyengar Yoga Charlotte is transitioning to something more sustainable for the future. Going forward, all classes will be offered virtually and I am letting go of the 8th Street Studio space. I know that this may be sad news, but I hope you have begun to see some of the advantages that LIVE STREAM classes offer in the development of your home practice. Many of you have begun to attend additional classes each week, students from all over the world can be in class with us and all of us are able to minimize our travel time. The distractions that we all feel sometimes when we are in class together are minimized and we can develop our personal sensitivity.

This has been a difficult decision for me and there have and continue to be more than a few tears. If in the future we can safely be together in class, I will be looking for a new space to do that. But for the foreseeable future or until there is a vaccine, our practice has to be something that we do at home.

Those of you who have classes remaining on your cards can exchange them for on line classes. Please let me know and I will get the transfer set up.

by Phyllis Rollins
May 24, 2020