"Online Yoga? Really?" This was my response when it was suggested to me that I join the crowd of my fellow Yoga teacher buddies and start to teach online. Yikes!
Don't get me wrong...I've enjoyed some select Yoga DVDS (young people are this) and Youtubers for many years, and have always loved the convenience and anonymity. But I had never attended an online 'live' class, actually I think that most people could say the same. Then Covid 19 happened and the whole world took to Zoom. All I could think was why on earth would anybody pay for an online class when there is a wealth of free videos at your fingertips?!
It eventually became apparent that my choices were, sadly, very limited. At first I swore to myself that I would stoically wait it out, wait for the village halls and community centres to reopen, rather than sell my soul to the internet. Some kind friends pointed out that I could afford to be a little more open minded, but still I resisted.
Then my teacher training centre began to run their classes online, and I tried out a few, discovering that I found some comfort in engaging with Yogis in real life. I liked the chit chat before the class began - it was just like the gentle hubub of walking into a local class. There was a sense of community that I didn't think could be re created online. I decided to try it our for myself and roped a few friends into coming along to some Zoom classes of my own. There was a lot of initial frustration on my part over the challenges of setting the camera up perfectly, getting the lighting right and trying to create a decent looking teaching space in my front room (kicking kids toys out of sight). However, unless they were being extremely gentle with my feelings, nobody seemed to mind the glitches and cock ups.
It has been a huge learning curve. In fact, here's a list of exactly what I have learned;
It doesn't matter if my home studio looks like my front room - it clearly is my front room so what else would it look like?
In general, folk are just kind and forgiving.
Attending a paid class offers accountability - it will not go unnoticed if you do not turn up because you lose the motivation, and you've paid for it, right?
Zoom kicks everybody out of meetings now and then
If I stumble over words or my lefts and rights, it is not because I'm teaching online, it is because that's what happens sometimes when I'm teaching ANY class
Coming to a Yoga class in your pajamas is awesome
Falling into bed after a Yoga class is awesome
Connecting with other human beings when we are all so isolated these days is so important
Yoga doesn't mind what you look like, where you teach, or whether or not you are wearing a bra
A quick example of these points...
Earlier in the week, I was on a bit of a low, feeling the pressure of staying at home and having next to no adult contact. I also felt physically up tight and to my relief I saw that one of my previous tutors was teaching a class that night. I knew that I always enjoyed her classes and her style, so I booked myself in. I immediately felt relieved and somehow empowered. I also knew that I was not in the mood for, and did not have the energy to scroll through Youtube videos. Ultimately? I wanted to connect. I wanted to see her face and say hi and feel secure and cared for. And it totally worked. I hope she doesn't read this bit, and please don't laugh, but at the end of the class I put the laptop right alongside my mat and it felt as if she was right there talking me through the meditation and relaxation.
And yes. I was in my pajamas without a bra on. I am an online Yoga convert.