Teaching yoga online has been an opportunity to learn and grow. My style of teaching is not demo centered. I prefer not to do the whole class in front of a camera, but to observe my students so that I might be truly present with them, hold space for them, and guide them. I want to see them.
Rather than relying on using my body to show, (which I’ve never done too much of, it’s not how I learned) I am relying on my ability to cue more clearly. If I am doing the practice with my students, I am not really there for them 100%. Example, I can’t see their down dogs, if I’m in down dog too.
This is just personal preference. There is no right or wrong way to do yoga, or to teach yoga. There are those that might argue demo is the way to go.
Teaching online was really confusing at first. Each person in their own little Zoom box is facing a different direction. Some of the cameras flip the screen so it is mirrored. Everyone isn’t moving in unison. Ack!
There are usually one or two yoga teachers in each class I teach. At first, I attempted to cheat and watch them, to get my bearings, my lefts and my rights correct. I figured they knew what they were doing. But here’s the thing about yoga teachers. They do their own thing. They are the least likely ones in class to be doing what you tell them. So that backfired. lol
Better to watch the students more closely as you find your way.
About two weeks into online teaching I realized I was getting really anxious after classes. Really doubtful about whether the class was good. Whether the students were happy. Had I done something wrong? Said something wrong? I didn’t understand, because I never feel like that after teaching live classes.
The next day, I told a joke, and the dead silence of my students (who are on mute to avoid clashing background noises) hit me. That’s it! I am not getting feedback from the students. It is hard to read the room when you can’t hear them. When you can’t necessarily see all their faces.
I’d been teaching this group for years, and I knew they’d think what I’d said was funny. (Trust me, I’m hilarious). So I did a pivot in my mind, and decided to think,
“They laughed. They totally laughed.”
And it really helped.
This incident gave me insight into what it must be like for my daughter who is on the autism spectrum, to never know how what you said landed. To not be able to rely on social cues for feedback. It cracked my heart open a little more.
A couple of months in, I’ve got the hang of it now. I am enjoying teaching from my bedroom, seeing all the dogs and cats, the living rooms and guests rooms and patios of my students. It’s strangely intimate, at a distance.
We un-mute at the beginning and at the end of classes for that real-time, if not in-person connection.
I look forward to the day we can all be in the same physical room. I look forward to a day when it is okay to hug again.
This world has gone mad, but we have the yoga practice to sustain us. We find our way back to ourselves on our mats, over and over again. It is my great honor to be able to guide students in this way, and I’m so glad that for now we can do it online.
Mercy to the humans.
This breath in.
This breath out.
My current online schedule:
Tuesday: Gentle Flow 4PM EST
Thursday: Full-Soul-Ahead, prayer infused Vinyasa (more vigorous) 9:30AM EST
Sunday: 1PM EST Flow Writer, Self-expression through yoga & writing
*Photo is my of my sister, in her Zoom box. She was practicing with me from her attic loft. I’d mentioned our late grandmother in the class, and how she always said,
“Go in the Light that is given you.”
One thought on “What it’s like to teach online, from a yoga teacher’s perspective”
You’re a great virtual yoga teacher–maybe the best ever. TYSK