202: Yoga and Masks with Clare Kelley

One of the things we’ve had to adapt to recently in our yoga businesses is the COVID-19 pandemic. As public spaces like our yoga studios open up again and we transition back into in-person yoga classes, you may be wondering about how to approach using masks in your classes. Clare Kelley shares her expertise in this area and clears up some of the doubts and confusion around using masks in yoga, as well as how public health relates to yoga from a broader perspective.

Clare Kelley is the Founder and Director of Wild Wisdom, a platform that exists at the intersection of science, movement, nature, and lived experience. Clare has completed her graduate studies in both public health and health research and program design, monitoring, and evaluation, and has over 8 years of experience working as a health consultant. Clare’s work is helping people connect to their nature and the nature around them for the health of both. Via her Patreon, Clare shares live movement classes and nature therapy walks, meditations and visualizations, movement and relaxation videos, public health explainers, essays, and more.

Clare addresses the confusion about wearing masks at the start of the pandemic and explains why best practices have evolved over time. She also shares insights about mask usage and safe distancing in yoga classes, and four types of risks involved. Clare tackles some misconceptions about mask-wearing, transmission of the virus and gives us some tips about how we can reduce risk as yoga teachers.

This episode is a useful resource to give you the information you need on this topic so that you can be empowered to make the right choices for you, your yoga business, and your yoga students.

Key Takeaways:

[6:31] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Clare Kelley.

[8:11] What does Clare do and who does she do it for? How does public health and masks fit into her scope of work?

[10:08] Clare explains how public health differs from medicine, and how it ties to individual efforts and actions such as wearing a mask.

“Our own individual efforts protect us, but also how we look at health individually affects the community.” ~ Clare Kelley

[13:05] What is health science? 

[16:29] There have been different messages around masks and best practices in relation to the pandemic. Clare explains why information has been constantly changing.

[21:40] Clare explains more about how the virus spreads and how mask-wearing can help reduce transmission.

“No death is better than some death. Less death is better than more death. Less illness is better than more illness.” ~ Clare Kelley

[28:46] How important is mask-wearing in a yoga class? Clare explains the risk factors at play.

“This is a time to err on the side of caution. The masks are only one aspect of the mitigation of the risk. They’re not perfect.” ~ Clare Kelley

[33:00] Is it dangerous to wear a mask all the time because it limits oxygen to the brain?

[37:35] What is the distance we should be maintained with other people?

[40:16] Clare shares more about the Swiss cheese model.

[44:57] What is Clare opting to do for her yoga classes?

[49:17] Clare talks about four concepts of risk.

[51:45] What do we say to people who are denying the pandemic?

[55:02] What is aerosol spread?

[58:19] Clare explains why it is important to create a sense of collaborative community.

[59:32] What are Clare’s recommendations for yoga classes with regard to safe distancing measures and mask-wearing?

[1:06:45] Find out more about Clare’s work via Patreon.

[1:08:37] Clare addresses a question from The Connected Yoga Teacher Group – Why am I still getting sick if I took all the precautions?

[1:11:12] What will 2021 look like?

[1:18:04] Shannon shares some of her biggest takeaways from this interview with Clare, and gives a personal update.


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