Lessons from the Mat, from the Page, from the Living Room

By Felicia Tomasko

So I’ll start out by saying that I’m a yoga teacher and yoga practitioner as well as a writer, journalist, magazine editor. Quarantine has been an interesting time. I already do some of my work from home, so the whole WFH, setting up for video, and dressing for the videoconference call—that’s familiar to me. The challenges for me have come in the interactions with the outer world, including wearing a mask, pulling away from other people, and dealing with the realities of being in the media business in the midst of Covid-19 shutdowns, with nearly every advertiser for LA YOGA Magazine pulling out to the point that we can’t financially produce an issue.

So….with that in mind, here are some of my experiences as a yogi-writer-editor-small business owner during the Covid-19 HFH. Hustle from Home:

  1. Watching yoga videos is not the same as actually practicing yoga.

So in pre-Covid-19 life, I would do yoga out in the world. In the gym. In the yoga studio. I’d arrange to meet friends in a positive peer pressure mode. Now…yoga at home involves putting on a video and getting distracted by thoughts like the following. “I really need to sweep under the couch.” “Why does my dog scatter her kibble all around the living room.” “My entire house is smaller than the main room at the yoga studio.” “I need more coffee.” The video is over and I only did one pose.

2. My very social dog wants to know where her fan club has gone.

In pre-Covid-19 life, my dog Lulu has a more active social life than I do. She thinks everyone who comes over to my home office is really there to see her. And of course they are. So now she runs around the house barking at me every two hours because she wants to go outside and make a loop around the block in order to recruit new members of her fan club.

3. There are a lot of creative uses for a bag of produce—especially the veggies.

Shopping trips have become even more intentional and less frequent. So I’ve been looking a lot more carefully at what I have and finding creative ways to use all of it. For example: radish leaves are edible and make a spicy and really delicious pesto when combined with olive oil, sunflower seeds, parsley, and garlic. Cilantro stems are part of the base of a traditional Thai sauce marinade along with garlic, peppercorns, and a bit of soy sauce. The cilantro stems provide a bit of a zing that’s hard to identify, so it’s a secret ingredient for the tempeh marinade. When bread starts to get a bit stale, it makes the best French toast. And when I’ve run out of 1/2 & 1/2 before the next shopping trip, a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a cup of brewed coffee isn’t quite the best Italian affrogato, but it will satisfy.

4. There is a real difference between daytime pajamas and nighttime pajamas.

It just doesn’t seem to make sense to wear my best clothes to hustle from home on my couch or at my corner desk. But wearing pajamas all day isn’t the right mindset either. I’ve collected a pile of easy to wear work from home outfits that support pretending to do yoga, write as much as I can, pitch, and post, and produce, and wash in hot water for the greatest degree of sanitation. Still, at the end of the day, there is a value to changing clothes and making the transition to actual pajamas.

5. It feels auspicious when the name of the person on the other end of the credit card support chat is named Lakshmi, for the goddess of prosperity in India.

During an hour-long IM chat session with a credit card company to negotiate a new payment strategy, I had to smile when the moniker Lakshmi appeared. That had to be a good sign.

6. Maintaining optimism with 50 cents in the corporate checking account.

Squeezing by with the most minimal cash flow while needing to make obligations to other people and keep things moving has been one of the greatest tests of my optimism. What keeps me going? Continuing to think about the obligations and responsibilities to the members of my team or to the vendors we pay.

7. Gratitude lists with my family.

Each day, my sister living in NYC, and I are concerned about our parents, and each other. In the midst of her leaving food at the door of her ER nurse neighbor who was diagnosed with Covid-19 and her working at a job where she is now running multiple Zoom calls daily, we check in with our parents. To assuage fear and concern, we share gratitude lists of the day’s meaningful moments.

8. With Zoom, I’ve entered an alternate universe of the Brady Bunch opening.

Not an original comparison, I’m sure, but each time I’m faced with the grid of the gallery of faces, I think of the opening of the syndicated 70s sitcom. What alternate reality have I entered? The reality of presentations and PowerPoints and chat sessions and brainstorming and raising a glass to a screen.

9. Speaking of those screens, how about a dance party?

I don’t think I’ve ever danced so often by myself in the narrow space of hardwood floor between couches and desks and in my living room. DJ nights, my sister’s virtual worldwide birthday party, and an early morning dance off. Ways to blow off steam and get into the body that are quarantine-friendly.

10. WFH….Not just Home, but Hope

Whatever happens, however, I—and everyone else—will continue to navigate from the present through to the future, I’ve come to appreciate the power of hope.

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