Zoom into yoga
The impact of coronavirus has meant that we have all had to adapt to a new way of living, working and exercising since March 2020. The popularity of yoga soared as we recognised the need to stay active whilst isolating ourselves at home as much as possible. Yoga was the perfect solution for many due to the ease of being able to practice in isolation, the limited amount of equipment and space needed and not least the positive calming, energising and well-being benefits yoga can bring.
Experienced yogis who regularly practice at home have been able to continue largely unaffected but, for those teaching and attending physical classes, we have had to think again, and quickly.
Teaching online is not something I thought I would ever do but whilst it will never replace teaching face to face for me, I have found it has its place at the moment. The results have been better than I could have hoped, as much for my own benefit to stay connected with my students as for their own yoga development. An added bonus for me has been that with location no longer being an issue I have been able to participate in classes I used to regularly attend.
So what are the dos and don'ts of online yoga....?
Technology - As much as you can within your power whether you are teaching or participating test the technology before the class starts. Whether you are teaching or participating, if you need to invest in a WiFi booster to get a good enough signal, plan it in advance.
Camera angles - As a teacher, make sure you are in full view, that the space is quiet and not subject to background noise. As a student whilst you need to be able to see what the teacher is doing, also keep in mind that to be able to teach effectively the teacher still needs to see you. Don't forget to move the angle of your camera when you move from standing to seated positions etc., a view of your ceiling doesn't allow the teacher much opportunity to correct you.
Space - Make sure you have enough space around your mat. Especially as a teacher, check what is in view on your screen. Try to keep it as clear as you can - you don't want your students getting distracted by your washing up sitting in the sink behind you.
Interruptions - It is not easy teaching or practicing yoga when you share your home with others but try to persuade those around you to keep any disruptions to a minimum. You can always get them to join in if space permits.
Injuries - Don't forget to let the teacher know if you have any injuries or conditions they should know about. If you are not comfortable about saying anything at the start of the class when asked you can always use a direct chat message or contact the teacher prior to the class so they can give you pointers and modifications particular to you. Every yoga class must prioritise safety, it is much harder to monitor when teaching remotely so help your teacher by communicating when necessary.
Know your limits - Beginners in particular, but it applies across the board, always try to work within the limitations of your own body. We are all different and what one person finds easy another will find more difficult . Challenge yourself to progress and develop but don't brutalise yourself in the process. There are modifications and variations of most poses that help you build towards the more advanced. This goes for every class but especially when practicing remotely as it is far more difficult to see and adjust students. Try to let your patient genes overpower your competitive genes, not easy but your body needs time and practice to open.
Energy - There is no substitute for the wonderful energy a physical yoga class generates but try to immerse yourself and keep your focus.
I hope it won't be long before we can get back to physical classes but in the meantime try to find a way to keep practicing. I hope to see you on the mat very soon.