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Going Viral: Unprecedented action in the face of uncertainty

This is Karen Kirkness, owner and founding teacher of Meadowlark. I want to take this opportunity to speak to our community about the evolving circumstances around COVID-19. This is a personal message, as I take stock of the situation. It seems things are escalating very quickly, from nonchalantly dropping "use the hand gel" signs around the studio to seriously considering business survival strategies. And, as of now, we can't even get hand gel of any kind at all and it is becoming a source of real angst for people.

Truly, these are mercurial times even by my own change-happy standards. I only just started spelling 'coronavirus' correctly on Monday, now I'm researching live streaming platforms for our class timetable?! Many of us are dealing with a collective freak-out as we face up to the immediate economic realities that threaten to derail small businesses like ours. Panic-demic.

Meadowlark Yoga is a not-for-profit business built around the core idea that a group of yoga practitioners should be able to make a living sharing the practice in various forms. So far, those forms have been limited to the in-person variety. I'm marvelling as I flit amongst browser windows and devices: how did this all happen so fast?

All of a sudden, I'm charging camera batteries and learning how to use wireless microphones. We are setting up Zoom meetings to train our staff on getting teachers mic'd up for streaming their classes live from the studio. This was not something I ever could have foreseen, but for such challenges Yoga prepares us.

Do not panic. Meet challenges early. Embrace the sh1t sandwich. Make lemonade. Did I mention do not panic?? I enjoy developing creative strategies, so I have to be honest here and say that part of me does enjoy the buzz of "create or die" times. My hope is that we'll come through this stronger and more resilient for the adaptations we're being forced to make faster than we are reasonably equipped to make them.

I want to take a moment to thank all the people who have been in touch with insight, insider info, and advice about where the virus situation is likely going in terms of government action. My small team (husband Simon, Elise, Kirsty, fellow practitioners and incredible yoga teacher-friends) are circling in the wagons and consolidating strategy in a proactive way. My aim is to stay ahead of the closures and to deal with this rapidly intensifying pressure as an opportunity to hurry up our evolution as a community. 

No doubt, compressed evolution is going to be painful in ways I can't quantify right now. I don't have any actual answers. However, I do have this google doc: http://bit.ly/MeadowlarkCOVIDprotocol

The above is a live document that I'm using to guide protocol for the next two months. I invite my team, fellow teachers, students, and anyone from the wider yoga community looking for ideas to please engage with it. If you have comments or insight, I welcome all productive discourse in the form of comments here in the Disqus. 

This blog post is intended to give the Meadowlark Yoga community some insight regarding evolving plans in the spirit of transparency and solidarity. I also wanted everyone to know where to look for advice on what is happening with the business. That google doc is where Elise and I will put all the updated information about the business strategy timeline. This blog is where we will continue to post individual updates. We've even powered up the Meadowlark Twitter (@meadowlarkyoga) to help get our blog posts out there and to engage with the larger conversation.

This is no doubt a tricky time for everyone in many ways, and I'm lucky to have yoga as a technique for managing stress. It is my continuing intention to share yoga in ways that best suit the current circumstances. Who knows, we may even end up better off for having to develop unprecedented methods (for us) of sharing the practice. Whatever happens, we'll be factoring in the needs of staff and students as best we can over the coming weeks and months, and ask our community to engage with our updates and feedback ways we can improve. 

A message to fellow studios and teachers out there: stay strong and focus on your health. It is a time for us all to come together where we can to offer support and insight to each other as we are all reinventing ourselves to get on the other side of this! Roll on, summer!

With all my thanks,

Karen

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