Fitness Magazine

Catching Up with Beth Gibbs

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by BethCatching Up with Beth GibbsFor those of you who don’t know me, I’m Beth Gibbs, MA, a certified yoga therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists and a faculty member at the Kripalu School of Integrative Yoga Therapy. I have a masters’ degree in Yoga Therapy and Mind/Body Health from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. After years of working for media, higher education, and non-profit organizations, I’m now ‘free-tired’ and pursuing my passion of helping others (and myself) find clarity, contentment, and resilience in a complicated world. My writing includes newsletters, magazine and blog articles on the benefits of yoga, mindfulness and self-awareness. I’m the author of Ogi Bogi, The Elephant Yogi, a therapeutic yoga book for children and I’ve been writing for Yoga for Healthy Aging since 2015. 

From January through March of 2020, I was busy teaching yoga, writing a book, sending proposals to agent and publishers, and in general keeping busy, visiting friends, going to art openings, reading books, posting online, eating out, hanging with family—you know, normal life. Then BAM! Up popped the pandemic, forcing me to take a ride on the CORONA-coaster. That left me, like many of you, COVER-whelmed, dealing with CORONA-phobia, and adjusting to the three W’s (Wear a mask, Wash your hands, and Watch your distance). All my classes were cancelled. One of the studios where I taught restorative and Yin yoga sadly closed up permanently. I thought I was going to have an extended restful staycation and sabbatical from work and volunteering. Boy, was I wrong!The pandemic hit pretty hard, pretty early in Connecticut, largely because the southern part of the state borders New York, which really got slammed. Because I felt healthy and safe, and because I have a deep interest in making sure everyone has access to basics like food, I gave my government $1,200 relief payment, plus more of my own savings, to World Central Kitchen, No Kid Hungry, Feeding America, and my local Foodshare program. Connecticut, the Nutmeg State, is largely populated by reasonable people who listen to science. In the past seven months, I’ve seen only one or two folks not wearing masks or social distancing. As a result, we are now slowly and safely opening back up, including the schools. Then there is the other pandemic of racial and social injustice that re-appeared in front of our eyes in the news and on our digital devices. I say re-appeared because it has never really gone away. I found myself attending a rally, writing about it, performing a piece in a local theater group’s online presentation, titled Say Our Name. I joined a group of yogis holding weekly Zoom meetings on how best to help with the DEI (Diversity, Equity Inclusion) and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People Of Color) movements. So far, we’ve come up with four pillars to serve as a foundation for whatever we eventually build. The four pillars are:

  1. Improve health outcomes in under-resourced communities.
  2. Have more wellness practitioners serve in under-resourced communities.
  3. Amplify the impact of BIPOC wellness practitioners.
  4. Increase wellness practitioners’ knowledge and understanding of the effects of racialized trauma on themselves and their clientele.

Also, I signed the Yogins United letter to Get Out The Vote, which urges all citizens to actively participate by taking one or more of three important action steps: 
  1. VOTE: Go to to check regularly that you are properly registered to vote, sign up for an absentee ballot, and get three friends to do the same.
  2. VOICE: Go to Vote Forward, Engaged Buddhist, or Dharma Vote and sign up to write letters to voters in swing states. This method of peer-to-peer engagement is proven effective and we prefer letter writing to cold-calling and texting in this election cycle.
  3. VOLUNTEER: Go to All Voting Is Local and sign up to be a poll worker. Help safeguard our electoral process and protect voters in marginalized communities from rampant voter suppression.
Somehow, I got myself drafted to participate in creating material for IAYT’s (International Association of Yoga Therapists) ethics training videos for the accreditation process. The goal is to create four one-hour videos, each one worth 1 CE (Continuing Education credit). Then there is the personal. Definitely it was and still is a strange time, but as an introvert who is sensitive to OPE (other people’s energy), I was just fine with being home alone in spite of the lockdown, shut down, and need to occasionally quarantine. I tried yoga on Zoom but abandoned that pretty quickly for my own yoga and meditation practice. Yoga on Zoom was not for me, but meetings that that moved from in person to virtual were another matter. I actually found myself enjoying them. In social groups it’s hard for an introvert to listen or be heard over the chatter especially when we’re trying to get our own thoughts in order. From the comfort of my couch, (no bra, no shoes, but yes, I wear pants) I know I’m seen and it’s easier to be heard.I wrote like crazy; finished my book, moved past the rejections from the agents and traditional publishers, found a hybrid publisher that I liked and signed a contract. That’s working well and my book Enlighten Up! The Five Layers of Self-Awareness will be released later this fall. It’s a personal growth book that presents a contemporary (and often light-hearted) look at the kosha model of being human. It offers personal stories along with goals and accessible practices that can be done by anyone. Since I had time on my hands, I used some of it to de-clutter and re-organize my spaces. I am a recovering perfectionist; dis-organization and clutter makes my skin crawl. During the process, I discovered boxes filled with stuff I wrote years ago. Honestly, I don’t remember writing a lot of it, but I liked it. I uncovered an unfinished novel and a bunch of short stories. So, I finished the novel, polished the short stories and wrote a few more. As I re-read them and began the job of editing and re-writing, I noticed that they all involved the importance of self-awareness and how that can improve a life, change a habit, and help the characters manage difficult feelings and touchy situations. Yoga, for sure! I look forward to keeping the theme of self-awareness prominent in my upcoming posts and bringing you thought provoking information on how yoga can help us live—and age—in healthy and productive ways.
Beth's self-awareness newsletter is published six times a year. It features informative, inspiring and entertaining tips for finding clarity, contentment, and resilience in a complicated world. For more information and to sign up for the newsletter go to to Yoga for Healthy Aging by Email ° Follow Yoga for Healthy Aging on Facebook ° To order Yoga for Healthy Aging: A Guide to Lifelong Well-Being, go to AmazonShambhalaIndie Boundor your local bookstore.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog