5 years ago, my husband decided to join the Air Force. This had never been a part of my plan. We had 1 kid and another ready to make his entrance within days or weeks….we weren’t sure, since our first was early.
I taught yoga all over the DC metro area, offering classes and workshops, as well as my own yoga teacher training and annual retreats. I’d grown up in the DC area, living just 3 miles from the house I grew up in.
I was reasonably successful as a yoga teacher, well known within the local yoga community. My personal community was strong, too and I was grateful to have an incredible network of friends with small children so I never felt too isolated or alone in the wilderness of motherhood/.
When Nathan joined the Air Force, everything changed.
Less than 6 months after our son was born, he was off to officer training and I was alone with 2 kids. I had to pack up the house, move in with my folks, and still manage business.
During those final months in Maryland, I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen once I moved. I knew that I wanted to keep teaching but I wasn’t sure how that was going to work once we moved to a place where no one knew me.
I felt too old to “audition” at studios and unwilling to teach for pennies at places that didn’t value my experience or my time.
Eventually I realized the only way this was going to work was if I started teaching online classes. I didn’t want to at first. I was sure that teaching yoga online would be weird and impersonal.
Turns out, I was wrong.
It was a little awkward at first. But as I figured out the tech and how to navigate the small differences between yoga online and yoga offline, I started to love it.
I love being able to connect with students and friends all over the country. Being invited into living rooms, kitchens, kids playrooms, back porches, and even bedrooms is something special. It feels in some ways even more personal than practicing at a studio.
I love watching cats, dogs, kids, and partners wander in or out of the screen, sharing mat space or having an unheard conversation (since everyone except me is muted, I can’t hear them).
And truthfully, I love how convenient teaching yoga online is for me.
There’s no commuting, no traffic, no battling people for parking spaces, no rush to get to class on time.
I can nurse my toddler and put her down for a nap, then go outside onto my porch and teach a class. Or, if she’s super cranky, I can bring her outside with me and nurse her during savasana.
My schedule is so much more flexible since opening my online studio. Since my live classes are shorter (my live classes are all 30-35 minutes long, except one 60-minute class a month), I have a little more time to spend with my family.
Teaching yoga online is also a lot more work. I now have to manage my website, edit videos, and do basic graphic design.
My collection of fancy tech equipment has grown significantly since my first year teaching. I now have a fancy mic, several external hard drives full of yoga videos, and a brand new computer.
The one thing I haven’t upgraded is my “tripod.” I still just prop my iPhone up against a metal can on a yoga block on a stool.
I’ve had to learn a lot more skills and wear a lot more hats than I ever did when I was working for studios.
And at the same time, I’m no longer teaching classes for a painfully low amount of money while also being asked to keep the studio clean or sign in my students before class starts.
But most importantly, in the past 3 years of owning my online studio and teaching yoga online, I’ve realized that this is more than just about teaching yoga.
Teaching yoga online has been an outlet for creativity and connection.
I’ve been able to adapt the studio based on the needs and desires of the members. When I first started, my vision was really big and really complicated.
Over the past few years, I’ve asked my members what they want and need. The studio, as it currently is, has evolved to meet their needs. And it continues to evolve.
I eliminated features that didn’t support my members. And I’ve added a bunch of new features that make it even easier for them to get on their mats.
Teaching yoga online has also made me a better teacher.
I am more clear than ever with my verbal instructions. And because my classes are shorter, my sequencing has become even better. More efficient, more clear, and less fluff.
The past 3 years have also gifted me incredible connections I might not have had otherwise. I’ve built relationships with people I never would have had the opportunity to teach because they live in a different part of the country. And I’ve reconnected with students and friends I couldn’t teach in person for years because they moved away from DC or their schedules changed.
Teaching yoga online has gifted me with some powerful connections that have made my life better in the past few years, especially during the past year of lockdowns, isolation, and uncertainty.
Before teaching my live class today, I spent several minutes chatting with students and friends who live all over the country. They’ve watched my kids grow up, including the youngest, who they first watched grow in my body through our weekly classes on zoom.
We talked about how weird aging is and how wonderful it is. And then we did 30 minutes of strong shoulder work that resulted in a powerful backbend.
After class was over, I reflected on what a gift it was to practice today with these amazing humans. How incredibly lucky I am.
My online studio has become one of the few constants in my life in the past few years, through moves and babies and pandemics.
I look forward to getting online, having great conversations, moving with intention, laughing through challenging poses, and enjoying the sweetness of savasana.
Someday soon, yoga studios will reopen. Lots of people will go back to teaching and taking classes in studios.
But I will stay here online.
Want to join my amazing community? Check out the MOVE studios here.