Yoga on Zoom !?! 6 months ago it would have been considered ridiculous, almost heretical to suggest that a Yoga teacher should offer classes live on any video platform. Traditional Yoga classes work with the energy of the group as much as the energy from the individual yogis in a studio. It is one of the reasons that it is so much easier to stretch well in a class but struggle with the motivation at home. Online videos have been popular for years but only a few have longevity. You need a powerful expression of energy that transcends the video/home barrier to inspire students to not only watch your video but keep coming back for more.The pandemic has changed all that. The prospect of a foreseeable future without any classes or contact with Yogic energy was enough to have us all rushing to buy webcams, camlinks, tripods and camera equipment with a zest normally only expressed for glorious, colourful yoga mats and bags. But Zoom seems to have divided students into 2 camps. The do’s and the dont’s. I agree with both of them, or do I ?. The dont’s have clear reasons for not wishing to even think about Yoga on Zoom. They often refer to themselves as technology dinosaurs; people who are reluctant to engage with computers and smartphones unless they absolutely have to. Here are some of the reasons I have been given for not wanting to continue with their pre-lockdown yoga classes.
- Too much screen time: Why would anyone want to finish a day’s work, then leave the laptop on for another round of Zoom (or similar) meetings ?. Zoom is a valuable work tool but it does seem to have produced a tremendous number of time wasting meetings, promoted by people keen to justify their home working time. Many people are keen to switch the computer off, have some dinner and move to the couch for some screen time with the TV.
- No Space : So many homes struggle with sufficient room to accommodate the normal living stuff, without adding in the home working equipment and then needing room enough for a yoga mat and space to spread the arms out. It is true that Yoga teachers have needed to modify some poses to allow for a smaller usable space. Students have been seen in kitchens, bedroom floor(with the bed pushed to one side) and corridors. It’s amazing what can be found when it is just for 1 hour.
- No Kit: A lot of people rely on the kit provided by the Yoga studio. Yoga mats are a cost but generally you can pick one up for £15 (or less). The Yoga teacher might also be prepared to loan one to you. It’s always worth asking 🙂
- Too many people in my house: Noise from other family members (including pets) is tricky. Learning to “allow” background noise is a yogic practice in its own right. Life is full of noisy distractions that take us away from the real work of listening to our own body and our own voice. Fortunately the tutor has a mute button In my opinion it would be a sad state of affairs if the others in your family could not allow 1 hour of quiet activity as a respectful gesture to your health. Toddlers and pets simply make the session more joyful. I have seen lurchers helping with downward dog, Babies giggling at a wonky wind blown tree pose and a cat showing how to do hand to foot pose with enviable skill. Those classes are classics in my memory.
- Untidy house: Zoom video showing everyone your living space. Also tricky, unless you pin up a fabric backdrop or use a phone to access the session. Phones cut out a lot of the surroundings. Or you could use one of their built in backgrounds and end up looking like you are on a bridge or in a jungle. Might be fun to play with that ?
- Camera Fear: There are many who think that using a web camera means that hackers on the web might be able to see what you are doing. Some put pieces of paper over their built in cameras and only take it off when it is needed. Others buy cheap portable webcams and only connect them when needed.
- Social Life: Attending a yoga class can be part of a social life. The chance to catch up with others before and after the class. I always open up my video class 15 minutes before start time and let people in so that they can chat online while I get bits and pieces ready.
- The teacher can’t adjust my position: Yoga classes online allow the teacher to see what you are doing and supply verbal advice. No, its not as good as being able to physically adjust but it does allow you to start to self correct as you learn to focus in on your own physical imbalance. Yoga helps us to listen to our bodies and as teachers it IS our role to encourage and facilitate independence.
- I cant see what the teacher is doing: Anyone demonstrating a moving activity needs to have more than just a webcam so that the students can see the seated as well as the standing. Getting the cameras in the right place is necessary for both student and teacher.
- It just doesn’t feel right : No, it doesn’t ! When you are used to working with group energy it feels all wrong to interact with a screen and distant people. But….its been 4 months now since the classes stopped. 4 months of home-work, PPE, shielding, don’t cough, don’t touch, don’t go out, just don’t……. all of which end up with stress, physical, mental and spiritual stress. What works best for all 3 ? Yoga !!!. Beautiful, amazing, peaceful and relaxing yoga. Better to have it online than not at all.