Every Saturday for the past four years I have been welcoming people into our yoga studio and exchanging some of the usual comments: “I had to drag myself off the sofa..”, “It's been a while, I need this” or “You again, how many sessions today, 3?”
Over time you start to remember faces, names and personal histories. One of the biggest buzzes a receptionist can achieve is the smile on someone's face when you greet them with their name or start referring to something they were telling you last week. It makes the job so much more personable and fulfilling for me, especially if the person I’ve remembered happens to be a keen home baker...
And it’s so lovely to see so many faces coming through our doors. The studio welcomes such a diverse range of people, all with their own stories to tell, each looking for an hour (or 3) of tranquility or challenge, depending on their inclination.
This social aspect of the job is definitely what I love most about it, not only because it’s fun, but because it’s brought so much value to my life. Connecting with different people, even if it’s those small, surface level connections, has taught me such much about being friendly with everyone I meet, and helped me build empathy and openness in my life.
Over the past year, I can honestly say I miss all the interactions, no matter how big or small; staff and clients alike have become like family to me. Having the social element of my job taken away from it has shed light on how important, how fundamental, this element is.
When we were in the height of lockdown, I often asked myself what had really changed - the studio was still afloat, classes were still going on online, people were still getting their yoga fix. But something had changed, the dynamic had switched and a big part of my job and the studio was missing from my life.
There is something so fundamental and enriching about human interaction, not over screens or phones or other forms of communication, but being right there, in the presence of someone else, chatting away and sharing snippets from your day. No matter how handy or connective technology can seem, nothing feels more validating, provides more of a sense of belonging, than interacting in person with someone else.
The common decency with which people treat each other at Trika has never felt so special. In a society heading towards isolationism, technological dependence and the anxiety they can both produce, this space feels pretty remarkable.
One concern about this post lockdown is whether we will be able to build back what we had before, whether people will feel comfortable communicating with each other in real life again, whether we’ll ever feel comfortable in medium or large sized groups. Sure, the ease of dialogue between people may be a little stunted, it might be a bit awkward at times, but like we adapted last year to this whole situation, I’m confident we can again.
Above all else, I really believe the studio can continue to be a safe place for people, maybe even somewhere that will help us all ease back into our more social selves. Of course it will be different for every individual, with some outpouring pent up social energy and rushing for those long awaited hugs. For others, it will take more time to reemerge and adjust to being around more people and the energy that brings. But me and the team will be here to hold that space for you, wherever you are! :)
For me and many others Trika has never been just about yoga and no matter how you feel about the potential of returning to in-person classes, I look forward to seeing everyone again and reconnecting with the common human spirit that runs through us all!
Hopefully see you soon.