The year started with Support Group Presentations on the schedule; Kathy in Taiwan for a Continuing Education training; at least five other teacher trainings scheduled across the world - to include Toronto, Canada and Belgium.; and our yearly scheduled presentations at The Scleroderma National Conference in Seattle, Washington.
In January and February our presentations in Arizona were canceled because I was experiencing issues that didn't allow me to travel and immediately upon Kathy's return from Taiwan, the world essentially went into lockdown for COVID.
We rescheduled trainings. We prepared for alternate outdoor, cleaner air trainings. We planned contingencies galore. I bought a camper in order to facilitate staying "quarantined" to travel and resume when things cleared up. Kathy followed suit and has a camper, too!
We were hopeful that COVID was just going to be another seasonal flu variant and we'd be back in business in no time. We were hopeful and optimistic that we'd at least be traveling by June. With all the precautions and not one foot stepped in an airport, of course.
Clearly, that did not happen. The rescheduling got pushed out to 2021.
Admittedly, we felt a little lost. For Kathy and I, this travel and these offerings had become our jobs. This was our way to support the Scleroderma Community - by helping patients directly and by training new crops of teachers interested in doing the same.
We tried to take this time to learn and listen to what "The Universe" (if you will) was telling us. We ALL learned to slow down. We learned to enjoy our homes more. Kathy gardened like she's always wanted to. I used the entire year to focus on healing physical traumas resulting from Scleroderma. Our other team members were able to spend much needed time with their nuclear families and adjusting their business practices to fit a new mold.
That's what we first did, personally - for ourselves. This, in turn, allowed us to do what we do best - figure out new ways to support this community. Yoga for Scleroderma at its core is about just that - supporting the Scleroderma Community through offering yoga with props and variations that allow the practice to be accessible to each individual, with safety and comfort. In 2020 we took it all virtual and joined the Zoom community, offering weekly guided relaxations, meditations, and breath-work At a time when folks are stuck at home and unable to live life the way they're used to, keeping the mind calm is key! Keeping stress down is IMPERATIVE for anyone with a chronic illness as stress can be a trigger. 2020 could be seen as trigger, after trigger, after trigger keeping us all in a state of constant stress. These sessions were how we would serve the community in 2020.
One weekly session soon turned into two weekly sessions, one held for folks in the far-East - members of Scleroderma India. This sessions continues to be well attended and continues to grow. Those two sessions spawned the creation of a weekly podcast - offering a downloadable session for folks unable to attend either of the scheduled sessions. We released our first episode in September and by New Year's Eve we reached 1000 downloads - more than we had anticipated. And now, I have a new job, or added skill for my toolbox - I'm the "props and variations on-the-fly" AND "relaxations & meditations lady".
Additionally, as a result of joining the virtual yoga world, we are still able to offer some "live" instruction (as we deem safe) by attending support groups and offering virtual presentations to chapters both here in the U.S. and for folks abroad.
2020 wasn't we had planned in any way, shape, or form. Nobody was ready for what it threw at us. Yet, we did what we do and we figured out how to make it work. We got through. We were more successful and reached more people than we ever expected under the circumstances.
Stay tuned to see what's up for 2021 ...