Dear Yogis,

I am having such fun with zoom (yes it is me!)… I just want to get better and better, learn more and more BECAUSE, I think this is going to be with us until way after the “emergency” is over.

The Black Death was a devastating medieval epidemic during which 50-60% of the people in Europe. This illustration depicts the diseased: Skeletons are rising from the dead for the dance of death.

Illustration from Liber chronicarum, 1. CCLXIIII; Skeletons are rising from the dead for the dance of death.
(Image: © Anton Koberger, 1493/Public domain)

I would imagine that I am not the only one doing this kind of reading.  It is not about being morbid, it is about learning how small pockets of the population survived various plagues (Pandemics)..   I am curious.  I thought there was only one plague – THE BLACK PLAGUE.  Not so.  They are a recurring feature of populations, and not confined to cities.  All you need is ships (and “airships” planes) and commerce bringing virus to your shores, travellers taking the virus throughout the land, and the populations by their activities spreading it.  To control the pandemic we have to break the chain.

The FIRST Plague (Pandemic) was between the 6th and 8th centuries.  It was different from the following plagues, and scientists now think it may have been ebola.

The SECOND Plague (Pandemic) between the 14th and 18th century (recurring) was the one we call The Black Death which killed 50% and 60% of the population of Europe.  They didn’t really know what caused it, and because of the thriving trade with the world in the 1660’s it hit London.  Thank goodness for the “Fire of London”.  The distinctive feature of this plague were the large lumps on the body (buboes – hence “bubonic plague”) corresponding to the lymph glands especially it seems under the arms and in the groin, and the large numbers of rats dying – “heaping up in the streets” as reported. This was the plague caused by the fleas carrying the virus body to body.  Then there was a THIRD plague (Pandemic) in France between 1720 and 1721 which was brought  under control.

During the Black Death, the most catastrophic of the plagues (pandemics), The monasteries and rudimentary “hospitals” with enlightened monks nuns and nursing staff did what we are doing today.  Keeping in mind science had no answers, they experimented, and learned what worked.  They used linen strips as masks to protect against droplets in the air,  and vinegar to cleanse their hands and surfaces often, so much so that it was reported that their hands became dry and painful..  They advised the population to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary to venture out, and speak to no-one other than direct family already in the house.  Mostly, the population chose to ignore the advice, or didn’t understand it.   Fields became barren, houses fell down, crime waves rose, and generally the population retreated.  Survival was the only consideration. Towns and cities became ghost towns. There was no assistance from the Church, the Councils or the Government.

Then of course we had the SPANISH FLU (Pandemic) which killed more people than did the Great War.

We have progressed in many ways, but many still do not understand that we have to bring the infection rate down by doing exactly what they did in the plagues above.  Wear masks, cleanse often (hopefully not with vinegar), and stay away from anyone, anything, or anywhere that is not necessary.


Some people just can’t cope, and this is where yoga teachers can help, and why I got onto zoom.  We must support our communities.  Help them understand what is happening, and show them how to live within the boundaries, knowing that if we don’t the virus will keep re-appearing.  It will anyway, but if we do the right thing it will be in decreasing severity until like the flu we learn to live with it.

I have an increasing number of classes.  I try to have them be more social, happy classes – light, encouraging, uplifting.  Not about getting the asanas RIGHT.  The Tibetan gongs are a key feature….Plus we are having a weekly “coffee morning” where we just talk.  I am also doing workshops and lectures where we can learn new sills and understand old skills.

This is the time where yoga teachers are needed and wanted.  Use the skills you have, learn new skills, bring those skills to your communities, stay positive.. and stay within the boundaries.  It really is the only way.  We can support each other and by doing this support our various communities and extended families.  

The last few weeks will be harder because we will think we have succeeded…. this is not the case.  We must STAY THE COURSE.