Coronavirus,  Uncategorized

Yoga Is Essential

This morning, my husband, read off the list of essential businesses that should stay open during the Shelter in Place order. Liquor stores was one of them and so was places of worship. Why? These places keep people from going crazy. So does Yoga. I have practiced Yoga for 20 years and can say that it has been the rock that got me through all my major setbacks, let downs, break downs, injuries and illnesses. I am not the only one. I know many people who, without hesitation, will say that Yoga is the reason they are alive. It is the reason they beat addiction and eating disorders. It is the reason they recovered from diseases that dispatched others to the afterlife. The science of Yoga is mentally, physically and spiritually essential…or at least as essential as a fifth of Henny or vodka on the rocks.

As my hubby read the list, I thought to myself, “Yoga studios should be considered places of worship”. Not to Ganesha, Siva, or to a God, though that is certainly a part of many Yogic practices around the world but because they should be sacred places of gathering and community.

Yet, when gyms and fitness facilities closed, Yoga studios were a part of that group. Why? We made it that way. For the last 15 years, the Yoga world has desperately fought to gain “work out” status. Owners have frantically convinced people that they can get just a good a work out, especially if weights and pull-ups are added, as they can at a gym.

This happened, not to make Yoga more effective, Yoga worked before it was a “work out”. That is why it is still around and thriving after thousands of years. It happened to make it more palatable and to make more money.

Even though many studios are big enough and have enough windows, doors, cleaning products, and space to comply with CDC specifications, they had to close with the gyms and the workout facilities.

What a shame.

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail