The virtual yoga revolution

The current world crisis has changed a lot in our routine, habits, interaction model… and among other tragic developments, it has also put my yoga studio adventures on hold 🙂 In this “new normal”, I see the world adapting its ways, and me and my yoga practice are also jumping on the bandwagon.

As most yoga studios and teachers (including yours truly) have transitioned to an online / live stream / virtual offering, I wanted to spare a few words on my observations and experiences. To date, I have successfully taught 3 virtual live stream yoga classes from the comfort of my home, on average with 8 participants each, in a nice mix of regulars, new students and remotely located friends. 

I’m prepping the 4th class now, and reflecting on the journey up to this stage.

Class no.1: Figured I should’ve muted people upon entering (in case there’s late joiners), forgot to start the recording (for ex-post quality checks), and realized my bluetooth speaker can’t function as a mic and a speaker at the same time. Got very constructive and positive student feedback though, followed by sign-ups for the next class – yay!

Class no.2: Used my tablet mic, turned on the recording but it captured only the tablet screen (useless for image checks), muted everyone by default, and shared a class playlist upfront. Got mixed reviews on the sound quality, but still many “see you next week”s 🙂

Class no.3: Got new airpods, wore one throughout the class like a news correspondent’s earpiece and felt really professional. Did the right video recording, and could do some quality control afterwards (see photos as proof ;)). Felt a bit nervous about some recent changes in the Zoom meeting settings, but all turned out well. Started planning my next class almost right afterwards … powered by “teacher’s high”!

There’s certainly many differences between virtual and in-person yoga practive, but I’d like to also share some reflections on why virtual classes could be one of the most revolutionary experiences for students and teachers alike.

Advantages for students:

  • Practice from the comfort of your own home… without the commute and maybe with the option to extend that shavasana 😉
  • Use your own mat and props, If you don’t have that, take that as a good motivation to invest into your home practice. If you don’t want to spend the money, you can get creative with alternatives (e.g. sturdy books as blocks, rolled-up blanket as bolster etc.) – proof that there’s no real showstoppers to your practice…
  • Get inspired to develop or enhance your home practice, even by deciding where to lay your mat and take your class – maybe that space will become your “yoga corner”
  • Stay focused on your own body and mind, and not distracted by other students’ performances, sighs, aches, or maybe intruding arms or legs
  • Channel your attention on verbal cues and not visual expectations – “you do you”: follow the guidance to get into your interpretation of the pose today

Opportunities for teachers:

  • First and foremost: WALK THE TALK! We preach flexibility in mind and body, kindness, compassion, support – this online challenge is the best opportunity to live and apply the principles of yoga, at a time when it’s needed the most
  • Secondly: GROW! We can learn how to work with more precise verbal cues, spelling out everything, from the most basic foundations, to the most subtle tweaks, to the most common adjustments, to the most accessible variations
  • Thirdly: EXPAND! We have a chance to reach an almost unlimited audience with this virtual offering, to share yoga beyond the boundaries of a yoga studio, city, country, continent, with yogis, friends and family around the world

This upcoming virtual class will not be my last one, not just because we’re in lockdown for another few weeks, but also because I see how this model can enhance my teaching experience and help me make yoga accessible to even more people.

Near or far, newbie or pro, you’re welcome to practice yoga with me every Monday at 18:30 CET and to share your energy and feedback.
Namaste ♥

 

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