Creating a Yoga Community in Pandemic Times

Photo by Ana Pinto

Have you ever felt that you have grown far beyond what you thought possible? It happened to me this year 2020, with the desire to create a Yoga community in a small region of the Alentejo (Portugal). I could have started in a city, looking for a space where there were already students or people with a strong interest and experience in practicing Yoga. But the dream was to create a community where Yoga was free from addictions, beliefs or demands. While planning to open the studio in Viana do Alentejo, there was a phrase that caught my attention: “If you build it, they will come”. And then I took the first step!

For 6 months I planned to carry out this project, ThinkYoga, and then the pandemic hit us and we all had to stay at home in mandatory confinement. What soothes me is that I quickly accepted what was happening and made some changes for the opening of the studio in September. So I had the opportunity to dedicate myself entirely to the production of the image and the website, the creation of the blog and my professional training in yoga, graphic design, digital marketing and how to create my own business. The first Yoga class I shared was on September 12th, 2020. It was a brilliant day and despite the current state of the country, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, I had a full room, at least according to the sanitary limitations. I was as generous as possible with the latent expectations inside me, and I believed that if I had 3 registrations by the end of the year it would be a good start. The truth is that I reached the end of the year with 15 registrations, and I couldn’t be more grateful!

Photo by Ana Pinto

Four months after the opening of the studio, the pandemic has made its impact in a space that is open to receive people. Constant changes in routines, restrictions and quarantines. And adding to all of this are our own personal limitations that often prevent us from starting something new, from taking the first step, from believing that we deserve to have that time just for us, to balance ourselves internally.

With my humble experience as a Yoga Teacher, I learned that it is with patience, resilience and dedication that the community grows. That everything worth doing takes time, and if we ourselves don’t believe in the project, nobody else will. That when we dedicate ourselves to having an open studio, 30% of our time should be dedicated to the service and 70% of it should be dedicated to our students, to the creation and planning of classes, to our own practice, evolution and training, and to the promotion of our space.

For those who believe in their dreams and projects, know that a pandemic is just another stone in one’s path. Always be honest and humble and carry out each task with your heart, without any kind of emotional tension or judgment. Know that it takes patience and wisdom to ask for help. And if every step you take is always conscious, you will know that you have made the right decision.

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