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How We Survived & Thrived in 2020

December 29, 2020
How We Survived Thrived in 2020

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Years from now, what will you say if a young person asks, “What was it like during the pandemic of 2020?” Will you talk about how you survived, or will you share the ways that you worked to support the people you cared about?

At Body & Brain, we’ll have many stories to share about the challenges we faced and how we responded. From neighborhood donation drives to nation-wide online events, with the support of people like you, we found ways to reach out more than ever before.

We started 2020 talking about a new campaign called, “Get Bright.” This was before COVID-19 reached the U.S. – little did we know how significant that positive mantra would become! “Get Bright” began as a fun greeting, reminding us to share healthy, positive energy with each other.

After the pandemic became more serious in the United States, “Get Bright” came to describe the online classes, events, and resources we shared with those who were suddenly facing a quarantine. “Get Bright” became more than just a campaign – it represented the compassionate individual efforts of every Body & Brain region, center, their members.

Here are just a few examples of how our Body & Brain community mobilized to share health, happiness, and peace during 2020.

Spreading Compassion in Our Neighborhoods

As you might imagine, the sudden transition from in-studio to 100% online classes was a big undertaking. Even while that was going on, our local instructors and members spontaneously found ways to help their local communities.

In March, Body & Brain centers in the Los Angeles area, led by Emma Hwanhee Choi, provided 3 weeks of free online “Friends & Family” yoga and tai chi classes to the public. The response was so positive that we adopted the 3-weeks-of-free-classes offer as a nationwide “Get Bright” community service. The popular program continued across the country for nearly 6 months, benefitting many people who had been suddenly unemployed or unable to participate in their normal self-care activities.

Los Angeles - South Region Group Photo

In order to reach more people who could benefit from our “Get Bright” campaign, many Body & Brain centers made extra efforts to connect with media influencers and community leaders. Together, we spread the word about free online classes and webinars through local TV and radio stations, community and business organizations, and county health services listings.


Reaching Out to Support Children and Families

Some Body & Brain centers found creative new ways to reach out to children, families, and the elderly despite the quarantine restrictions across the country. These included online art and family classes. In addition to being more appropriate for certain age groups, these classes highlighted some of the talents of our amazing members and instructors.

Get Bright rainbow at home Get Bright pink rainbow

Painted shells Get Bright single painted shell

Members at the Body & Brain centers in East Meadow and Rockville, New York, along with their children, decorated their centers and homes with “Get Bright”-themed artwork! Can’t you feel the energy of care and hope in their work?

To help relieve the stress of stay-at-home living, many Body & Brain centers began offering online kids’ and family classes. In some areas, Body & Brain partnered with local libraries and neighborhood centers to provide safe classes for kids; in other areas, family classes were hosted online via social media so that families could join from home. These family yoga sessions incorporated fun movement, breathing, and meditation exercises along with interactive Brain Education games and lessons.

One of the most popular new classes was started by Cherie Clark-Moore of Body & Brain in Conroe, Texas along with her two daughters. Cherie taught a weekly YouTube Live class for 3 months over the summer. Since the original classes were posted, more than 500 people have viewed and practiced along with each of the videos.


Some centers also addressed the need for online yoga for seniors .In the San Francisco Bay Area, Body & Brain assistant regional manager Michelle Gavin added a special chair yoga class to the region’s weekly online class schedule. These new chair yoga classes provided hope, care and connection to older individuals who might have been more severely isolated due to pandemic restrictions. One 92-year-old student shared, “I love the body tapping! The only time my hands and feet are warm is when I take chair yoga class.”

To further support families as they navigated new challenges and routines, Body & Brain offered free family-oriented “Get Bright” webinars like “Thriving & Surviving as a Family during Challenging Times” and “Body & Brain Celebrates Family”.

Supporting Our First Responders

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic when Personal Protective Equipment was scarce, Body & Brain center instructors and members made and donated masks to local hospitals and charities. Some also contributed to fundraising campaigns for First Responders’ equipment. The April 2020 "Masks for NY Heroes” project raised $6150 and resulted in a donation of over 2000 masks to 5 hospitals in New York.

Body & Brain centers also contacted local hospitals directly to offer free classes for stressed-out and exhausted healthcare workers. In response to classes offered by the Body & Brain center in Montecito, Nevada, the University Medical Center sent a heartfelt thank-you letter saying, “Your altruism and thoughtful generosity have boosted the morale of our hospital’s frontline workers.”

Continuing Care, Hope and Connection into 2021

Were you aware of all the ways that the Body & Brain community took action to share health, happiness, and hope in 2020? Did you participate in some of these projects we’ve highlighted? Maybe you invited your family, friends or neighbors to our free classes and workshops, to support them with their self-care? Or perhaps you bought a “Get Bright” t-shirt, which contributed funds to the Red Cross pandemic relief effort?

If you activated your “Get Bright” spirit over the past year, either through these Body & Brain outreach initiatives or in any other way, please accept our heartfelt thanks.

Thank you for joining us in working to create a healthier, happier, and more peaceful world. This mission is traditionally known as ‘hongik’, or being ‘widely beneficial’. It’s the spirit upon which Body & Brain was founded, and we’ll continue with that mission in 2021 and beyond.

We wish you a healthy and happy new year!

Author’s notes:
1. Free Body & Brain mini-classes are available any time at https://youtube.com/c/bodynbrain

2. For current webinar announcements and helpful tips for self-care, sign up for our e-newsletter at https://newsletter.bodynbrain.com
Written by Susan Henry
Susan Henry is a certified health coach, yoga and tai chi-qigong instructor who leads a team of Body & Brain Foundation volunteers in San Diego County. A former federal chief information officer, she decided to re-focus on integrative health practices as a way of paying forward the benefits she had received through Body & Brain training.