Dear students of Yoga,
we have been running online classes now for more than one month, and have seen some of you showing a lot of commitment to the practice, and very regular participation. This has been beautiful to witness.

Following are my thoughts on online teaching and hopefully some answers to some of your queries: like why we have chosen to pre-record the led Ashtanga Yoga Flow classes instead of live streaming, and why do we teach a student in our online classes?

Mysore classes

Due to the nature of the practice, Mysore classes are live, which so far has been a very good experience. It has been fascinating to watch everyone‘s practice from a different view-point, and has helped to identify and address new aspects of each individual’s practice.

Why our led classes are pre-recorded

Live classes are prone to technical glitches, at both our and your end. You may suddenly have to attend to sorting your internet connection, or some other tech problem. Soon enough the teacher is already half way through the class. Whereas pre-recorded classes save you from being deprived of a lovely and very focused yoga practice. Also, you can pause and rewind to gain more clarification, and work around your practice needs.

Flexible class times

You have 24 hours available to access the recording. This allows for more flexibility as to when you would like to practice. If you wish, you could then start your practice a little earlier or later than the scheduled class time.

The pros and cons of online teaching

In pre-Corona times online classes were never an option for me, because of the importance of ensuring the student’s correct alignment. There is also a lot to be said for being exposed to an experienced teacher’s insight and energy.

Online teaching during Corona

Obviously, we currently have to compromise on these aspects, and make the best possible of the situation. We are ever so grateful for the technology available, which enables us to offer you a continued practice with which you are receiving guidance. It is a perfectly valid reason for me to switch to online learning, if it results in you feeling supported in maintaining a regular practice during these times.

Why do we invite a Yoga student to each online class?

There are a couple of reasons for why we are inviting a student to practice for you while we teach them:

The teacher teaching a student resembles a real classroom situation. Students have certain physical limitations we need to address and take into account. It reflects the true fact that there is no perfect practice, and each of us can only do our best at any given time. And having a Yoga student being taught in the classroom, gives the recording a very real air of authenticity.

Also, when teaching Yoga postures it is best for a teacher to minimise the number of demonstrations given, as the breath/movement integrity can easily be compromised when speaking.

How to get the most benefit from online classes

Prepare yourself – have some off-time

Take a moment to settle in before you start watching the class: close the door behind you, switch your mobile phone off, you might even like to put a ‘do not disturb’ sign up, and have your Yoga mat and needed props ready.

Be mindful of when it is safe to turn your head to look at the screen

When practicing with the recording, rely mostly on listening. Avoid turning your head or the whole body at an awkward angle to look at the screen. If you are not clear about a part of the class, you’re better to rewind, watch again, rewind again, and then practice with the recording, having more fully understood the content. This applies particularly to postures in which you bear weight on your shoulders, like the simple backbend – bridge – or shoulder stand. But even in the standing postures when your neck and head are at an angle, it is safer to be mindful.

Remember the purpose of your practice

Remember that you are practising for no one else other than yourself, disregarding if someone is watching you or not. Be accountable and display the discipline required to do the best you can on the day: – equally, challenge yourself and back off when needed, don’t deceive yourself. Apply yourself fully to receive all the beautiful benefits the practice has to offer.

Let’s keep in mind the true purpose of the yoga practice: – through the gaining of optimum health we like to reach emotional stability, mental equilibrium and clarity, and over-all strength with which we can face almost any challenge. This is about our own spiritual path leading us to independence from external stimuli and happenings; finding freedom within and without.

OM Shanti, Angelika

P.s. don’t you just love being woken from your Shavasana by Lisa’s lovely voice!