I receive a lot of questions from students and teachers about how virtual yoga practice compares to in-person private instruction. (If you're a yoga instructor, be sure to check out my podcast on Teaching Online Yoga with The Connected Yoga Teacher.) In my experience, teaching yoga online has been an amazing and useful way to connect and share yoga.
Online sessions have opened up many extra opportunities for me as well as for my clients. I've met people all across the world, many of them in areas where yoga is inaccessible or non-existent. How great that technology makes their practice possible! Here are some of the main benefits that I've experienced or heard:
- Stay home for practice and keep an eye on kids or pets
- Skip the commute in bad weather conditions
- Enjoy a personalized practice while traveling (for work or pleasure)
- With no driving time, schedule your practice with more flexibility
If you're not familiar with Skype or have never used video chat, no worries. There's not much of a learning curve. Most of the time, all you have to do is download Skype to your computer, create a free account and accept the call when it comes through. In a pinch, I've also successfully used FaceTime.
Here are a few simple tips for setting up a successful online session:
Practice Location: If possible, choose a practice location that will be relatively free from distractions such as phones, people or pets. (Though sometimes, pets are a nice addition, if you choose!) You only need enough space to set up your yoga mat or towel, so let yourself get creative with what's available to you.
Camera Position: Position your camera, phone or computer at least 4' away from your mat. You might be used to setting up closer to chat, but it's more ideal for me to be able to see your entire body, not the other way around. I like to teach in a way that will allow you to focus on your body without having to watch me on the screen. I might occasionally step back away from my screen to show you something, but I don't rely on you having to crane your neck around to see your computer.
Lighting: The last tip, if possible, is to choose a well-lit area, or at least not back-lit. If your screen is facing a bright light or window behind you, you will appear as a mysterious silhouette.
In-person private sessions are a lovely way to connect face-to-face. You can receive hands-on adjustments, special props, atmosphere and music that just aren't available online. But being able to experience a sacred practice within your own space is a powerful, convenient and useful way to realize that your experience is not dependent on a specific space. We might not be in the same place physically, but the heart-to-heart connection is the same.
If you've been thinking about trying yoga or an online private yoga session, I'd love to "meet" you. :)