It’s not wrong to need or want a break from the virtual life. Here we capture how and why some BollyX members pursued required or chosen breaks. 

Many of us have been fully absorbed into virtual school, work, classes, hangouts, birthdays, and weddings over the last 9 months of this new pandemic world. Some of us are still going strong, enjoying the social contact and live-work from home in PJ’s culture while others are waning from the screen time, being around kids 24-7 and home life. Whichever camp you fall into right now, there is no right way to feel. This is all new, overwhelming, and the changing rules and guidelines on what we can and cannot do as a society are challenging for anybody to deal with. You might have read articles about the benefits of taking breaks from the screen and devices and they are no doubt valid.

Since March, BollyX has been at the cusp of empowering our instructors to continue teaching, keeping everyone engaged and healthy in mind and body. For many instructors, online classes are new territory and so I was curious and wanted to explore if taking breaks has been valuable for members in our community. There were a diverse array of reasons instructors were taking breaks and here are a few examples:

Required break due to illness:

It was in 2017 November I succumbed to chronic pain disorder and got bed ridden for 7 months. The Doctor’s diagnosis was I will never ever dance again and to use a wheelchair. With that true passion inside me to dance and teach, to travel and live my life, after a few months of dark life inside four walls I tried to focus more on what I can do and how I can build myself back up. For I didn’t want to give up and sit in a chair for the rest of my life. I did hundreds of dance choreographies in my mind, calmed myself and improved my peace of mind by focusing on meditation, strengthening exercise and painting. Thank god I was blessed to be back on my legs and teach and inspire. If only you lose the sight of your eyes you know the value of your eyes right likewise this break did teach me the value of having a healthy life, a life you can use well to inspire and live good. I still fight with my invisible illness, but I am not giving up. I am blessed.

Aruna, Community Mentor, India

Required break due to physical exhaustion:

Because it is so easy to set up classes via Zoom, I had scheduled too many weekly classes and collaborations. At some point I lost all the joy that I usually get from dancing. I was so focused on keeping my little BollyX group engaged and happy I didn’t notice my physical exhaustion, only when the mental signs showed up I realized something was wrong. I shrunk my schedule down to 3 classes per week and made more time for myself to rest. I started writing a blog about my experiences and feelings that came up throughout the lockdown and how I dealt with them. I can’t motivate and inspire others when I’m down. This was a valuable reminder for me to slow down, take time to listen to my body and put my wellbeing first. Overall, I feel that teaching the classes via zoom was not as energetically rewarding as teaching in person and therefore it was a lot more draining to teach a class virtually.

Cordula, Community Mentor, England

Required break due to injury:

From time to time I do a ‘social media detox’ to limit time spent on digital devices. As a yoga instructor, I encourage my clients to allow this digital-free time to feel a sense of peace, clarity and avoid not only information overload but shift the energy and let the mind and body reset. I recently had back surgery, and during recovery when I thought I would rest and be scrolling on my phone to stay connected online, I instead read more, got creative and cooked more, sketched, painted, practiced BollyX choreography in my head and spoke with friends on the phone to actually hear their voice. I did a lot more ‘live living’ with my device-free time. It’s a very freeing experience. 

Dolly, Brand Ambassador, Canada

Chosen break from teaching due to varying virtual experiences:

I would say, I am very happy that I am able to participate in other BollyX instructors who do teach on Zoom. Everyone is unique in their own style of dance. Teaching a couple of classes on Zoom, I did not feel the same way as I do in person classes. I don’t feel as enthusiastic, energetic and since everyone uses Wi-Fi and it has a lot of glitches which annoyed me so much. I really enjoy interacting with people in person because I share my energy, while teaching, to the fullest.

Gina, Brand Ambassador, Southern California

Chosen break due to increased virtual social contact:

I did take a break from teaching, and the WhatsApp instructor groups for a bit during the pandemic. The barrage of messages in the groups, and the pressure to attend classes was really overwhelming! Coupled with isolation from the pandemic, it really made me feel burnt out. And of course, as an instructor, it really broke my heart the first couple of times I taught virtually, because it was hard for me to feel that sense of community that in person classes have.

Taking a break allowed me to recharge and regroup. I had to learn how to set boundaries, so that I could continue to be part of a community (which is so helpful when we are in isolation due to the pandemic) but still not be overwhelmed. To me, the boundaries come in the form of muting chats, so that I can read the messages on my own terms rather than feeling pressured to read and respond to it right away. But also giving myself grace for not making it to every class, and sending instructors encouraging messages as a way of showing support if I’m not able to make it to their classes.

Manisha, Brand Ambassador, Northern California

[Richa] My experience has been that breaks, however short, are rejuvenating for my spirit so that I return to teaching with more energy and offer an opportunity for clarity of my mind so that I am more centered. My shortest break was in September of this year where I took 2 days of a forced but much needed vacation from teaching online classes and being housebound due to lockdown. My longest break was 3.5 months, when I took time to enjoy motherhood, recover from postpartum depression and got my body ready to teach again. 

Hopefully, like me, you are inspired by the diverse reasons members in our community have needed a break and how normal it is to need one. The ‘take care of yourself before you take care of others’ is a beautiful mantra to help empower and enable you to give a little love to yourself. 

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