What you need to know about Online Yoga Classes

Though it’s hard to live up to an in-person class, Zoom yoga classes aren’t all bad.

Focusing at home is hard. While there are great online classes and you can learn a lot from watching videos on YouTube, but if you’re used to practicing in the studio, it’s pretty tough to practice at home. It’s my biggest weakness in yoga. Yet since everything closed in my state back in March to prevent the spread of Covid-19, I’ve been trying to find ways to make the best of online yoga classes.

In the studio, I can get my head in the game and have a yoga session that benefits both my mind and my body. Having a teacher’s guidance is instrumental for me to concentrate on movement and breath. It was hard for me to even get close to the tranquility of the studio when I took part in Zoom classes and practiced in my rather loud apartment.

However, there are a few different techniques my teachers implemented that made it easier. Teaching on Zoom isn’t easy and a lot of participants might not find it as enjoyable. But Covid-19 is completely under control, practicing at home is better than not practicing at all. If your area is like mine and there’s no reopening date in sight for gyms and yoga studios, there are some essentials that make an online yoga class more enjoyable.

The lighter the instructor is on the equipment, the better.

One of the ramifications of several months of quarantine that I didn’t see coming is how expensive or completely unavailable that fitness equipment is. It makes perfect sense — everybody and their mother who regularly goes to the gym needs to do something at home — but it’s incredibly expensive to buy equipment right now.

I got my yoga mat for nearly half price between a holiday sale and some coupon code wizardry. I also got my blocks and some yoga tune-up balls for a decent price on sale. Even though alll of these things are still available, there are barely any sales right now. The vast majority of sales that are happening are so minute that it’s hardly worth mentioning. I hoped to get my partner to practice with me, but there’s no way to get a decent deal on a mat for him to use. I’m a miserly yogi.

Subsequently, the lighter your instructor is on the prompts, the easier it is to practice. Though there are a lot of great poses that utilize straps, bolsters, or blocks, not everyone is going to have the money to invest in that much home equipment. Plus, even if they can afford it, they might not have much of a home practice and not want to invest just to have the equipment collect dust once quarantine is over.

An extra focus on centering and ignoring distractions can be helpful.

This may not be the case for everyone, but for many of us, the studio is a lot quieter and more peaceful than your home is. It helps when the yoga teacher regularly encourages students to try and turn in on themselves and let the noises of the world pass by without a thought. These types of cues might feel repetitive for some, but if you have a loud home, it’s helpful to get reminded.

For me, I have a neighbor to the side of me running an illegal auto shop out of his backyard that is filled with at least six cars on any given day. Above me, I have an astoundingly heavy-footed three-year-old running around at most hours of the day. As I type this, the little fellow ran right above my head with such thunderously loud footsteps, it’s hard to believe how small he is. This is a case in point of how yoga at home can be tricky. That’s not even getting into how much my beloved cats will get involved. It’s tricky to focus and let all that noise happen, but it’s a little easier with encouragement.

Good cues for every pose are essential.

Even for familiar poses and routines, clear cues are essential. No one wants to spend their entire yoga class awkwardly craning their neck toward a computer screen because they missed a word or didn’t understand something. Clear instructions and detailed, helpful cues are ten times as vital in an online class.

When you’re in person, even if you’re in the back of the room, the instructor is going to be a lot bigger and more present than they will be on the screen of your computer. The more you can follow without needing to look at the screen, the more enjoyable your class will be. This might seem at odds with the goal of learning more refinement and alignment from your instructor but trying to follow a sequence, but with the right cues, you can spend more time focusing on how your body is moving.

Online yoga may not be quite as immersive as the studio experience, but if things are still closed where you live, the right instructors can still make Zoom yoga classes enjoyable. Plus, if you practice a little bit now, you can avoid losing any of the progress you’ve made with your practice.

Thanks to Leigh Fisher

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