Calling all first-time streamers:
Let’s face it; starting something new can be scary. These strange times are invoking strange new technologies, and getting to grips with online Yoga classes has felt a bit like learning a new language. So you’re definitely not alone if you’ve felt a little resistance to embracing our new online format! Yes, as we’ve been finding our feet teaching with the online classes we’ve learned:
- It’s extremely intimidating doing Yoga in front of a camera.
- Asking people how they’re doing and getting a thumbs up in response is the “new normal”.
- As the technology we’re using is only interested in finding the loudest sound input, there’s no way of achieving the wonderment of a deep resonant Om.
- There is no guarantee that those without their cameras on are still practising and haven’t wandered off to put the kettle on.
- Questioning your choice of career during a time of crisis is not helpful to anyone.
But there is some comfort in the certainty that we’re all in it together. It’s natural to want to avoid sticky situations and resistance to change is a common thread to the human psyche, and yet we all take comfort in a shared experience. For example, think about how your Yoga practice has changed since practising at home as opposed to the studio. Have there been postures that you’ve skipped because no one can see? When a new sequence is introduced and you’re not sure what’s coming next, do you push through or do you take a break and watch the screen? Be honest!
Some handy hints to improve your home Yoga practice:
Space: With furniture and other objects around you may feel a bit cramped. In the same way you would have space around your Yoga mat at the studio, if at all possible try to create the same amount of space around your mat at home. Having plenty of space around you while you move will make your practice feel quite different to when you keep bumping into the coffee table! This article has some tips to ‘feng shui’ your home Yoga space, worth a read!
Camera: By practising at home you miss out on the joy of practising with others so switch your camera on if you can to share your practice, even if you switch it off again after the sun salutations it’ll enhance the feeling of everyone moving and breathing together.
Deep breaths: Ujjayi breathing if it’s familiar to you or long deep breaths help you to relax and maintain your postures for longer. Focus on your breath to stretch further and find a restful place in each pose.
Remember the teacher can’t see you: In a class environment the teacher will see what you’re doing and be prompted either to give a general alignment tip to the whole group or sometimes individually – every body is different but generally throughout the practice you want to focus on:
Feet – weight spread evenly
Legs – strong but knees soft
Abdomen – gently pulling in
Back – maintaining natural curves
Tips of the shoulders – back and relaxed
Shoulderblades – drawing away from and down along your spine
Neck – lengthening upwards with chin just slightly drawn in
Everyone has their own unique body and practice! Read how One for All’s Jesse and Lucy manage to maintain and move through their Yoga journey:
- How long have you been practising Yoga?
I have had a regular Yoga practice for 18 years now – Lucy
For me, it’s been 10 years – Jesse
- What is your favourite thing about Yoga?
I like the fact that physical Yoga strengthens and tones my body. I know that sounds superficial but I don’t really enjoy any other forms of exercise. Yoga is often regarded as a fitness/wellness craze. But I’ve been doing it for half my lifetime and it works for me! Of course it has affected my mind as well as my body, and there’s always more to discover in that area, there’s a constant peeling back of the layers of the ego, and for me that begins with the very tangible relationship to my physical body! – Lucy
Apart from simply doing my own practice I love teaching Yoga and I love meditating in the morning with my wife – Jesse
- How did you choose your Yoga method? Practice + style.
I think like most people you just fall into a style or lineage at first and through time, experience and lots of practise you start to build your own picture of what your own method and approach needs to be to suit whatever your present is – Jesse
For me, taking on board new ways of doing things has always been challenging. Turning up to practise a style of Yoga that is unfamiliar to me is always the hardest. Once it has time to sink in, for me to assess what feels good or bad in my mind and my body, I can drop anything I feel is unnecessary. But in the end it is always worth it to try new things out. – Lucy
- How long did it take to feel like you were making progress in your practice?
I’m not sure of the timing. Maybe a year or so but the thing that really made the difference was committing to my practice and increasing from a couple of times a week here and there to 3 or 4 times a week. – Jesse
Same as Jesse, and for me it can still be a challenge at times. I can get through the postures alright, but I’m often stuck in the mindset of making comparisons rather than being present. That’s a big learning curve for me at the moment. To not compare how I’m practising now to how to how I’ve practised in the past. I’m still learning that each day being in my body is a different and unique experience. And not to let my likes and dislikes (which are formed by the ego) get in the way of my practice. – Lucy
- What advice can you offer for novices to enjoy and gain from their online practice?
Turn your camera on! Before we understood how teaching online was going to work we asked our students to turn their cameras off but actually being able to see everyone is way better and gives the much better feeling of community. Also grab your partner, housemate, cat or whoever and get them to practise alongside you. It’s heaps more fun! – Jesse
The practice is still about you, so listen to the instructions but respect your body. As human beings we often strive to follow instructions to the precise tee. Try to remember that this is not what Yoga’s about. Set an intention at the start of the class such as ‘I am as I am’, ‘I dedicate this hour to myself’ or ‘I am balanced in mind and body’ or anything that will bring you peace, happiness and joy in your practice. – Lucy
As Yoga Sutra 1.14 states: Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness.