The Unexpected Joys of Teaching Yoga Online

by | Aug 28, 2021 | Ashtanga Yoga, Community, Health & Wellbeing, Wisdom

Reflections During Lockdown

As much as one feels detached from the students when teaching Yoga online, there are certainly hilarious, uplifting and sometimes heartwarming moments to experience, when watching everyone practice. One morning when K started her first sun-salutation, her newly acquired puppy Ella, found observing K moving around the floor at dog-height, was most exciting! K raised her arms, which prompted Ella to crawl up the back of her legs; when folding forward, K’s face was dangerously close to the floor just right for an extensive lick! By the time K had jumped back into chaturanga – the push-up position – Ella had jumped onto her bent arm, then up onto her shoulders, making her way down her back and legs; and in downward-facing dogpose ended up perched on K’s bottom. I haven’t laughed so much at 6 am in the morning!

Online classes for our community

As someone who loves the social aspects of teaching Yoga, lockdowns of course aren’t my favourites. But thanks to online classes the community is holding together; we are still sharing and ‘seeing’ each other daily. It gives us the opportunity to show that we care, and to notice if someone from the group is missing. We can get in touch to find out if they are doing ok.

How are you?

It might also teach some of us to reach out if we are not feeling that great, and get some support from the others. If you’d like to contact someone you haven’t seen for a while, please let me know and I’ll help you to get in touch. If you are having a hard time, please get in touch.

Quiet time for reflection

When we practice at home in our own space – not only physical space, but also our energetic and mental space – we can use this special time to truly look inward and ask some of the questions we might have been avoiding during our otherwise busy life. We can become more in touch with our ‘essence’, and our true desires, intentions, and purpose in life. Who are we when no-one is around to distract or ‘lead’ us? How does our decision-making affect us and others, and are we happy with the outcome? Who and how would we like to be?

Yoga is always there for us

Luckily our invaluable practice can provide us with great insight, understanding and also compassion for ourselves. We are so very fortunate to have Yoga in our lives, providing us with the tools to reflect, recognize and gradually come to fulfill our potential. For those of you who have some down-time, take advantage of it, spend a bit more time with your practice, sit a little longer after you have completed your asanas, breathe and meditate. Stay aware of the breath, which is the key and gateway to our mind and our inherent wisdom; access it!

How is online Yoga teaching different to teaching in the classroom?

Online teaching can be fascinating. Normally I walk around the room and give adjustments, and in some classes I lead the group verbally through the movements. But when online I can spend the whole time observing the students really closely. Because the positioning of the camera provides me with a very different view point/angle of the students’ practice, I have the opportunity to recognize different habits and points of alignment. Also, watching someone in their own home where they can be at ease and very much themselves, can give the teacher greater insight into someone’s habits and idiosyncrasies. Altogether this can be really helpful in addressing the students’ individual needs. There is a different kind of learning to be had.

Although of course there is a sense of disconnect when teaching Yoga online, I have been happily surprised as to how much I can ‘see’, or detect in someone’s practice, when watching the students closely on the screen.

Little rewards from online teaching

I won’t pretend that I haven’t enjoyed the bit of a sleep-in I can indulge in by not having to travel to the shala in the early mornings. It’s also a treat to be able to have breakfast and a laugh with Donna after the Mysore class, although by that time I am very cold, because I haven’t moved at all when teaching. It makes me more so appreciate how much I love being able to move around a lot when teaching Yoga in the usual way, and what a special occupation it is.

Empty but ‘full’ Yoga shala during lockdown

Meanwhile of course I practice daily in our beautiful Yoga shala and keep up the exceptional energetic support this space is gifting us. I draw on the nurturing, rich and enlightening inspirations the room has given us for all these years, and continues to do so. I aim to keep it alive and fresh until we can all physically be close again. So for the time being, although physically apart, let’s support each other, stay close socially, and come out the other end richer, wiser, and more ourselves.

OM Shanti, Angelika

P.s. Don’t be shy to just get in touch if you need a chat or so, also if you’d like to join the online classes, but are struggling financially. I am always happy to offer ongoing free classes to one or two students at a time.


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