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Stepping out of the studio and into the online world

Lockdown hit, the studio closed and I was faced with the prospect of teaching yoga online. Prior to the pandemic I enjoyed teaching in a small, cosy studio where I could comfortably wander round and observe clients. I had always practiced yoga online to develop my own technique so had a good understanding of how to present to an online audience. So I made a Youtube channel and began filming short, fitness yoga based classes that could fit in with lockdown lifestyle (home educating kids, disruptive pets and working from home!). Filming for Youtube helped me practice the skill of teaching to myself! At first it is very strange to have no one in front of you, no one to giggle at my poor effort of a joke or getting my left and right the wrong way round. Yes, it happens to the best of us! After a while I got used to the process and even began cringing less when it came to editing the footage. Let's face it, who really enjoys watching themselves back on film? But there was one thing missing. I missed the yoga class community, I missed seeing my regular students, hearing about their week or having a moan together about the weather! I had used Zoom having participated in a few virtual quizzes and karate classes so decided this was going to be the best way of gaining that studio feel online. To launch I offered the first couple of classes free of charge. This was only fair as I was testing the process and I also wanted to give something back to the clients who see me regularly in class. The first two sessions did not go as planned! Firstly, my internet connection was dreadful and then my mini dachshund Matilda decided that a squeaky toy would be a good choice for play. (She never plays with it at any other time!) Most of the participants were left hearing every third word with a background of squeaks! My first thought was no one is going to come back to class after this experience! Luckily, my clients saw the funny side of this and patiently continued to attend. I knew I could not continue in this way, so arranged for my home internet to be urgently upgraded. And Matilda is now sadly banned from class! Sorry to those of you who are doggy fans but you may still be lucky enough to get a glimpse of my two cats!

Classes are now running smoothly and I feel I am building a yoga community online. Little things like the chats before and after class make all the difference and I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying the online experience. It has some significant advantages: no travelling, I have the time to plan my classes, my teaching technique and style has also developed. Although many of my clients have mentioned they miss the studio, they also like the fact they can roll out their mat at home, create their own private yoga environment, and are not comparing themselves with anyone else. So yes, the shift to teaching Zoom classes was a learning curve but I have enjoyed every part of the process and even when I can return to the studio, I still plan to continue teaching my online classes.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Namaste!

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