Coping with Change – May 2020

It’s been 5 weeks since Queenslanders were forced into a COVID19 lockdown and 4 weeks teaching Live Yoga Online. And the most interesting aspects of the COVID19 lockdown for me as a yoga teacher is how people have responded to this total change in lifestyle. Some have embraced the changed life: loving the time at home, the slow pace, the intimacy with their families and the joy from mundane tasks like cooking. Some have hated it and have coped as best they can, distracting themselves with work, with social media and longing for the day when we can all return to “normal”.

In our yoga world this has been graphically illustrated by the response from my students on how to practice yoga. There have been 4 distinct responders to moving from live classes to online classes. The first group to hop online were the Innovators. Innovators are by nature risk takers and are excited by the possibilities of new ideas and new ways of doing things. They wanted to keep doing what their loved, joined online and didn’t look back. The second wave of students to come online are called the Early Adopters. They watched and they did bit of research before they embraced online yoga. Then we got the Late Majority. More sceptical about product or technology adoption than the first 2 groups, they like tried and tested solutions only and are risk-averse. They are still trickling in. Then finally we have the Laggards. Actually the Laggards have still not come online and probably won’t. Laggards are last to arrive at the adoption party and their arrival is typically a sign that a product is entering decline. Laggards value traditional methods of doing things and highly averse to change and risk.

So what does this mean and who cares? Well it’s an interesting analogy of society and all of us are a mix of these adopter styles. It’s what makes us interesting and human. There were many times in my life where I was a Laggard. I did not like change and tried and tested was the way to go. And this rigidity was stressful because one thing yoga teaches us is that change is inevitable. Once you learn to embrace the concept of impermanence a lot of that control and that resistance to the unknown falls away. Embracing change, the possibilities are endless. Accepting impermanence allowed me to drop the Laggard and become more of an Innovator.

Everything made of parts, eventually falls apart. We humans struggle to accept impermanence, hang onto rigid rules and beliefs and so cause ourselves the endless suffering known as samsara. However, when we learn to embrace impermanence it’s the gate to the path of enlightenment. Embracing the unknown we discover courage, accepting loss we discover love, accepting impermanence we become free.

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