Lots of people are attending Online Yoga classes these days. The pandemic means that we can’t get together in person as much as we would like. I used to have groups of seven students in my Yoga studio, but now with social distancing I can only accommodate three. Most of my students are now attending my classes online via Zoom.
For some people this can feel like a disappointment. But there are advantages to practising Yoga online too. Here are some hints and tips about how to get the best out of Online Yoga classes.
Sort out your Technology
Check your technology. There is nothing more annoying than booking a live online class and then having trouble joining or staying linked up to the class. It is offputting if your screen is too small or you can’t see the teacher or hear her voice. Worrying about getting the internet to work or anxiety about getting into Zoom can completely wipe out the benefits you hoped to get from the class.
Make sure you have fairly reliable internet. This may mean finding a room in your house with a good signal. If you can, test out the technology first, especially if you are anxious or haven’t used it before. If you are paying for the class the teacher may be happy to chat with you about the platform and how to access it before the class. Send her an email if you want extra support.
Once the teacher has started the class she will not be able to help you join or fix a dropped connection as she will be busy teaching. Try to join the class five to ten minutes before the start time so you can sort out any connection issues.
Create a Cosy Space
Make sure you have a cosy space at home for your Yoga practice. Get together your yoga mat, blankets, cushions and props in a quiet and comfortable room. Make this a sacred space which you associate with calm and relaxation. Maybe you could put a special picture or some flowers here. You can use this space for practice and meditation between classes too.
Create a calming atmosphere. You might like to light a candle or burn some incense to make your Yoga space special. Aromatherapy diffusers are a lovely way to scent the air and create a positive mood. You could try Mandarin oil for happiness, Rosemary for focus or Frankincense for a calming and spiritual ambiance.
Find the Right Time
Try to find a class at a time you will not be disturbed. You don’t want to be interrupted by children fighting or tradesmen at the door. As far as possible, shut out the world so you can get the best from Yoga practice. One of my students does her online Yoga classes in her garage to escape from the demands of her family. It is often best to do your class when there is someone else at home to keep an eye on the children. Or maybe you can do an evening class when they are tucked up in bed.
Commit to a Live Class
Try a live class. There is plenty of online Yoga available in recorded formats, whether Youtube on or specialist subscription yoga websites. Some of these classes are very good, but you don’t get the benefit of being part of a Yoga community. Live Online classes give me accountability. By signing up to a live class I commit to turning up at a specific time to share my Yoga practice with a group of real people, albeit via Zoom. This makes a massive difference. With recorded classes it is all too easy to be full of good intentions, but never actually to get round to doing them. Purchasing live classes means I actually show up and get all the benefits.
Find great teachers – Locally and Worldwide
Find a great teacher. One of the benefits of Online Yoga is that you don’t have to live near the teacher or class. You can join classes anywhere in the world. Having said that, I am hugely grateful to my local students for their continued support through these strange times. My little Yoga business is only surviving thanks to the loyal following of my students. All small businesses need the support of their local communities right now. By supporting your local teachers’ online classes you can make it possible for them to reopen in person when this is allowed.
But why not try some other oportunities too? You can access classes and workshops by famous international teachers more easily now than ever before. I have attended wonderful workshops with Paul Grilley and Donna Farhi during lockdown. I could probably never have experienced their teaching in person. There are so many amazing workshops and inspirational teachers available online right now. Why not try something different for a change?
Listen to Your Body
Don’t overdo it. Your teacher may not be able to see you clearly. More than ever it is your responsibility to make sure you are safe throughout your practice. Don’t attempt challenging poses you have not done before unless you feel certain that it is right for your body today. Listen carefully to the instruction and watch the teacher’s demonstration. Listen to your body too. If anything hurts or feels wrong, stop and take a rest. It is always beneficial to rest in Savasana or take an easier pose. Most good teachers will offer variations and different options for each pose. It’s never a competition. You don’t have to take the hardest variation you can manage. Treat yourself with kindness and respect.
Involve Your Family
Online Yoga is a great is a great opportunity to involve your family. If your partner or children would like to give Yoga a try, why not try an Online class together. Check with your teacher, but most online teachers are happy for other people in your home to join in the class. It could become a whole new family bonding experience.
Most important, enjoy it! You should feel better afterwards. Yoga is a spiritual practice first and foremost. Your Online Yoga class is a chance to take time out of your busy life and nurture yourself. If you are not enjoying the class, think about what could make a difference. Maybe you would benefit from a different style of Yoga now? Or perhaps you can change something in your home environment to make the experience nourishing and refreshing.
Take a little time to relax afterwards. We are all busy, and it is tempting to rush off straight after your class to get on with all your jobs. Try to sit down with a cup of tea after your Yoga and enjoy that calm feeling. Or if you do an evening class you could head off afterwards for a hot bath and an early night snuggled up in bed.
I hope these suggestions have inspired and encouraged you to try Online Yoga. Some people find they actually prefer taking classes online once they give it a try. You don’t have the hassle of leaving home, travelling or looking for a parking space on a rainy night. Get cosy at home and enjoy your Yoga!
Thanks for reading this blog post. I am a Yoga teacher currently teaching both Online and In Person from my little Garden Studio in Essex. I specialise in Yin, Restorative, Pregnancy and Postnatal Yoga classes.
You can learn more about my Yoga classes and Reflexology at my website www.thecalmspace.co.uk