Many years ago, before I had kids, I was skeptical of online yoga. To be honest, I wasn’t that interested in virtual yoga. It seemed cold and impersonal. I was sure that the classes wouldn’t feel as good to me as if I’d gone to a studio class instead.
At the same time, a few of my own teachers had started offering online classes. Since I didn’t live even remotely near to them, the only way I could do yoga with them was through their online classes. So I got myself a subscription to YogaGlo and my online yoga education began.
I discovered that with teachers that I already knew and loved, I felt comfortable and at home. And taking class online with teachers I knew and loved felt almost as good as if I was in the same room with them.
I also took classes with other teachers I didn’t know. Some I liked; others I didn’t. I was still always grateful to squeeze a class in, especially once I had my first child.
Years later, I was in a position that required me to take my own yoga classes online. My husband had joined the air force and we had several moves ahead of us, which meant that even if I found local yoga studios that I liked, they probably wouldn’t hire me to teach. Because who wants to hire a yoga teacher who’s only going to be around for a few months or a year?
So I decided to start teaching online yoga classes.
When I first let my students know, the general sentiment was, “well, it was nice knowing you. Good luck!”
Most of my longtime yoga students weren’t interested in online yoga and I couldn’t blame them. Just because I was leaving town didn’t mean that they no longer had great yoga options.
Now here we are, 3 years later, and every yoga teacher has taken their classes online because the studios are closed. Even teachers who said teaching online just wasn’t for them.
Students who once refused online yoga classes are enthusiastically flocking to zoom because we’re all at home, desperate to move our bodies and stay healthy, well, and as sane as possible while we ride this out.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been mentoring my fellow teachers because most of them have been studio-based for years and are uncomfortable with teaching online, but want to continue to connect with and support their students during this crisis.
Some also have mortgages to pay, mouths to feed, and bills that haven’t stopped coming just because we’re all housebound.
It’s been really interesting to share my journey from an “offline teacher” to an “online teacher” as well as the many things I’ve learned along the way.
One of the things I am frequently asked, not by teachers but students, is what to expect when they take an online yoga class.
So I’m going to share all of the things you need to know about taking an online yoga class.
How to Take Online Yoga Classes
1. Have Your Screen Level with Your Body or Lower to the Ground.
This means that when you are taking class, you want your screen to be where you can easily see it. If you know that multiple levels will happen, have your computer lower rather than higher. If you are down on the ground, it can be hard to see UP to the screen. However, if the screen is lower, you can more easily see DOWN or if you are on the ground, see straight across.
2. Place your mat parallel to your screen.
This isn’t like a studio class, where all of the mats face the teacher. Likely, your teacher online will be doing the entire class with you, showing the poses with her body. The easiest way to see will be with your mat parallel to the screen. If you don’t have the space to be parallel, you can try being at a slight angle instead.
3. Create a dedicated yoga space
Having a dedicated yoga space will make you far more likely to do yoga. Make it super easy, too. Have your mat there plus any other props that you need.
This doesn’t mean you need an actual yoga room. But you can keep your yoga things in the room where you’ll practice yoga so that when you are taking a class, you don’t have to go looking for your mat or blankets.
4. Make Your Yoga Time Sacred
What makes practicing at home tricky are all of the distractions. Kids, partners, dogs, hunger pangs, bathroom breaks, package delivery — all of these things and more can distract you from your mat. It’s a little easier to set aside time for live streaming classes vs prerecorded classes, but both have their challenges.
If you are partnered, ask your partner to help you keep your yoga time YOURS.
If you have kids and are solo, ask your kids to respect your time if they’re old enough to understand. I started doing this with my kids when they were babies so it’s been an ongoing education.
Try to set aside this time and limit distractions. Yes, if you have to pee, go pee. But don’t stop at the fridge on the way back
5. Ask Questions, Rewind and Replay
If you’re taking a live streaming class, don’t be afraid to ask questions. not all teachers allow for questions during their classes but I do. I make space for questions during and after class.
If you’re doing a prerecorded class and something doesn’t make sense, rewind and rewatch. Then replay and do it again.
This is actually one of the greatest benefits of online classes. You can redo as much as you want!
6. Make time for rest.
Whether or not the teacher offers savasana or meditation at the end, please make time for yourself.
Your body will need this. Whether your practice is 15 minutes long or 60 minutes long, savasana is important.
If you’re still not sold on online yoga or are struggling to get into the mindset, I wrote a blog a while back about the 10 reasons why online yoga is awesome. It will give you all of the reasons why you can and should embrace online yoga, if even just temporarily.
Also, I have several ways you can practice online with me.
I did a facebook live about it which you can watch here. It’s a pretty great video, even though my baby pukes on me within minutes of me recording. It’s hilarious.
If you don’t want to watch the video, here’s how you can do yoga with me online:
✔ Join me for FREE in my online yoga community, the Conscious Healthy Community. Every Tuesday I do a live yoga class in the group that is 5-10 minutes long.
✔ Join me in my Online Yoga Studio the Conscious Healthy Collective. I share live 30-minute yoga classes twice weekly, plus a monthly yoga bundle of pre-recorded 15-minute yoga classes, a meditation, and a myth. You also get to join a 60-minute live class once monthly. All classes are centered around a theme of the month and a pose of the month. Modifications are offered. The live classes are fun and have the same vibe as studio classes. You get your first 2 weeks free when you join ($28/mo or $18/mo for military families or yoga teachers — ask for code)
If you have been financially impacted by the closures due to Covid-19, please use the code YOGASUPPORT at checkout and receive an additional 30 days free.
✔ Join me in my Online Yoga Studio LITE, which features a monthly yoga bundle of pre-recorded 15-minute yoga classes, a meditation, and a myth. You also get to join a 60-minute live class once monthly. All classes are centered around a theme of the month and a pose of the month.
Join for $18/mo or $8 for military families or yoga teachers — ask for code)
If you have been financially impacted by the closures due to Covid-19, please use the code YOGASUPPORT at checkout and receive your first 30 days free.
✔ Take FREE classes with me online from my YouTube channel. You’ll find a wide range of classes there, including yoga for kids by kids, low back relief, spring equinox yoga, and everything in between.
I look forward to seeing you on the mat soon!