Well Christmas and Hogmanay are nearly with us, and what a year 2020 has been. Many of us have had new, sometimes difficult social, emotional and health challenges. No-one’s life remains unchanged. From a personal perspective, it could be argued that this wasn’t the most auspicious time to cut ties with the “day job”, but I still have faith that teaching yoga is what I was meant to do.
When the pandemic hit in March, I reluctantly moved classes onto Zoom and aimed to find a way of teaching online that worked for the students and that felt not too impersonal from my perspective. For me that meant live, interactive classes. This new way of working has been testing. It has been harder, but not impossible, to see and feel student’s emotional states and changes in their breathing. This is important as I use this vital feedback to help guide and adapt the class in real-time according to who is there, and how they are.
In other ways, online working has brought unexpected bonuses. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but students know they will never be exposed to the virus coming to a Zoom class. Being at home means having control over temperature and ambience. At home there are props at hand, should they be needed. Chairs and sofas are perfect for raising legs to release lower backs. Cushions can pad or prop where needed. Slippers and warm blankets are right there too.
To feel connected to everyone during meditation and relaxation, I bring my laptop nearer so I can come closer to the mic as I verbally guide. By doing this, I aim to “hold” the class as much as is possible online and invite a sense of us all practicing together, softening, releasing and connecting – unbound by time and space.
Online, classes can be longer. No travel time is needed, and this bonus time can be used to include more philosophy and longer meditations and relaxations. Chanting – like singing – is not allowed yet in shared spaces. Online we can all chant with as much gusto as we wish!
Eventually, we will all move our yoga back into halls and venues, but I’ve a feeling that online teaching will continue to have its place.