GardeningJune 1, 2020
SHANTI YOGA: The accessible mind-body life path to healing and peaceSeptember 1, 2021
To promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable, our work is about conscious evolution, planetary awakening, and flourishing at every level of life. We have guided clients along their journey towards their health, wellbeing and lifestyle, through yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda for almost half a century.
The pandemic has changed our lives. It has shown us the value of Plan B, and Plan C, and Plan D, as we juggle with multiple scenarios, worst-case and otherwise. Impermanence renders everything and everyone around us worthy of our heart-breaking gratitude.
Among the things we’ve implemented is increased cleaning and hand sanitisation, and we have removed towels, blankets, cushions, straps, and bricks from communal use, as well as limited numbers to ensure safe social distancing for the safety of everyone attending. Loss transfigures our lives into an altar.
As always, the health, safety, and well-being of our community is our top priority. With so much uncertainty recently, and because of that very uncertainty, we have made the difficult decision not to lock in dates for our live chanting workshops, Bollywood dance classes, and other events such as Fellowship Dinners at our Shanti Yoga Centre, in Southport. Every five years, in accord with the rules, our three government-accredited Yoga courses are required to be re-accredited, and our RTO to be audited. We have gone ahead with these, and, as tedious as it is, we welcome the audit process as a vast transformational potential if it allows us to improve our relevance, responsiveness, and quality of training.
While maintaining a ‘sense of crisis’ is a recognised way of driving excellence in some circles of power, it has nevertheless been a relentlessly rough time. Yet, the best way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it and join the dance. In our own humble way, we prioritise what really matters: wellbeing, healing, safety, mental and emotional health, and the planet. Our team-community of practitioners and spiritual friends, at different levels of participation and engagement, focus and embrace their roles, with appreciation, respect, and service.
The planet has to unstress itself if it is to survive. We are still passionate about sustainability and the impact of what we do to the environment, despite COVID, and the increased demands for cleaning, hand washing, not sharing props and equipment, and other changes. Our increased scrutiny about recycling, packaging, managing our wastage and supplies, supports our mission. When we heal the planet, we heal ourselves. When we heal ourselves, we heal the planet.
Being a small, niche business, lends its own advantages in managing change. Our strengths lie in our proximity to our students, patients, clients, and customers, the speed with which we can make decisions, and relationships within the team. We are now collaborating across industry, government, and teaming up with other businesses to solve problems, extend reach, and to give our students, clients, patients, and customers a better experience.
We need to look at the new flexibility after COVID-19, which allows us to support workers and contractors, working from home, and engaging temporary ‘talent on-demand’ for specialised projects and contracts. We need to create a policy which lays out our eligibility criteria, working hours, timekeeping requirements, communication channels, IT support, dress standards etc. As healthcare providers, we need to offer Telehealth as a standard offering, and let people know about it. We need to develop our online shopping services and look at ways to add these to our shopping cart.
Keeping in touch and communicating is vital. Regular email newsletters will be our bloodline, and updating our email lists while reaching out to new market sections, families, tribes, and communities. By not compromising our core values, we retain our customer base and show existing customers they matter,
Our international students have taught us, and gifted us with the insights to cultivate the awareness and behaviour needed for an intentional, comfortable, welcoming, curious, and supportive culture of empathy, diversity, deeper trust, and inclusion. However, the intake of international students has dried up, which has resulted in diminished workloads and expectations. (How many international students, and their agents do we now process?) Nevertheless, in keeping with a higher preference for buying local since the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to make sure people know that we are local, and face-to-face.
We do not act out of self-interest which places productivity and efficiency over human engagement and social impacts. While we plan with the head, we lead with the heart. We must continue to forge genuine human connections, build trust and stick to our purpose.
We’ve taken advantage of the downtime by re-designing the Shanti Yoga Centre. Catherine, Tanya and Sonja have been very happy with the extra treatment room attached to the classroom, and the larger treatment room in the front, the new towel warmers (thank you Hilary), and a new Shirodhara machine. So we are all set to offer more Ayurvedic treatments. The classroom is now more intimate and has been turned around, with better equipment, which has been very comforting to Linda and Hilary. Sonja is so delighted with the lovely new dishwasher and stove in the HIA kitchen, Southport. Dalal’s life should be easier with a newly acquired computer for the front desk, which has freed up an extra computer for Glee. The addition of the new front office built by Steve and Peter has been very supportive for Skype lessons, Ayurvedic consultations, video learning, and sanity. Nirvana has also recently acquired a new lawnmower, chainsaw, electric gates, and extra solar panels.
A crisis is a terrible thing to waste