Let’s face it. The world has changed since March 2020, thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic. It has changed our ways of working, living but also the way we exercise. The pandemic has seen an explosion in online exercise & fitness classes, including yoga. But if you are new to yoga, or always wondered how to learn yoga online, perhaps you are wondering what to expect and what you need? After all, the experience is very different from stepping into a yoga studio and practising yoga with a teacher and fellow students.
How to learn yoga online?
First, you need a good internet connection. Since most live-streamed classes are hosted through ZOOM, a stable internet connection is important with sufficient band width. Most modern households with fibre broadband or 4G are sufficient to take a class. If you’re used to using ZOOM at work, it’s no different with online yoga classes.
You can access ZOOM either through the browser or through the ZOOM app. Most people download the app onto their computer or ipad/phone and access the class there. Before the class you will receive a link and meeting ID/password for the class. ZOOM’s default function is to have ‘waiting rooms’ enabled, which means that you will be placed into a ‘holding pattern’ (in the language of air traffic controllers) until the teacher lets you in. If this function is turned off, then you will be let straight into the class. There, you will need to initially turn on your microphone and video to speak to the teacher (located at the bottom left hand corner of the application).
To optimise the learning experience, ‘pin’ the video of the yoga teacher (located top right hand corner of the screen), so that you only see him or her on your screen deliver the class, rather than all the other students.
If you wish your instructor to see you to give feedback or adjustments for all the yoga poses during the class, it’s important to set yourself up in a way that allows for the teacher to see you (or at least the majority of you). This obviously depends on each student’s set up at their house or apartment. Some students prefer to practise with their video off, so in that case, this is not important.
As a student, I like to connect my laptop to the TV so I have a bigger screen to see the teacher, which I do through an HDMI cable.
If you attend a class through Facebook or Instagram live, then it’s simply a matter of accessing the class through the app. The teacher won’t be able to see you, but will know if you attend through your handle appearing on the screen. There may be an option to share screen, which is at the discretion of the instructor to accept or not. You can also chat with the teacher during (and most likely) after each class.
If you’d rather have an on-demand service which provides unlimited access to yoga (and other fitness) classes, then you can choose from a number of different options. I personally like Movement for Modern Life, the leading UK platform or Glo. My own classes with Ten Health & Fitness are featured on Ten’s excellent on-demand platform, Ten On Demand. Your first three days are free to try. You can find out more here.
What do you need?
How to learn yoga online is very simple. All you need is some space in your house or apartment and a yoga mat! In the absence of a yoga mat, whilst the carpet or floor is manageable, it’s better to have a nice mat.
For a list of recommended eco-yoga mats, see this article here. To receive a 10% discount through one of my recommended suppliers on any merchandise, including yoga mats, Yogabliss, use discount code, Yogibanker10. Click here for more details.
What type of yoga can be practised online?
The types of yoga practised online will vary according to the teacher. In fact, any style of yoga can be practised. If you learn yoga online, the type of yoga practice offered is virtually unlimited. Whether it be yin yoga or vinyasa yoga, kundalini to power yoga, all can be catered for in an online yoga class. The only limitation is the use of props, but there you can be creative as well. Bolsters can be replaced with pillows, straps can be replaced by ties or belts, bricks and blocks by books. At the end of the day, it’s really all about being imaginative!
What will the class be like?
Expect a full yoga class! The class itself will be led by the yoga teacher. The style of the class will depend on the type of yoga class offered. However given the online format, to learn yoga online, invariably the teaching style becomes more embodied and instructor led, similar to doing a class through a youtube channel or through a yoga app such as Movement for Modern Life, Glo or Ten On Demand. You can expect a full yoga class, including, in some classes, guided meditations offered at the beginning or end of the practise.
Workshops in the form of yoga tutorials can also be delivered online. See me below demonstrating at home how to do the yoga pose ‘Warrior 2’.
Because the ZOOM application will pick up any background noise of fellow participants, most yoga teachers will ask you to mute your sound. Of course, if the class is smaller or it’s a private session, then perhaps having the sound on is ok, but for most classes, expect the sound to be off. Whilst it does remove some of the two-way communication between student and teacher, in normal yoga sessions, the student would be listening rather than talking so in the scheme of things, this isn’t such a bad idea.
How to book an online yoga class?
Each student or teacher will have their own booking arrangements. For yoga studios, most will use a customer management system, such as Mindbody. There, once becoming a client of the studio, you can book classes individually or in blocks. Some packages may offer unlimited access to their live-stream classes.
For individual yoga teachers, it may be facilitated automatically through a booking platform such as Acuity Scheduling, which I use, or the teacher might send the ZOOM link manually to the students who are attending.
What are you waiting for, come and practise yoga online!
Practising yoga is a wonderful thing to do, especially during the pandemic. Having the ability to do so at home is a luxury that this modern age has created. To feel relaxed and comfortable in your own home after practising yoga is a joy. To this extent, hopefully this article has provided an overview of how to learn yoga online. Once you make yoga a part of your life at home during lockdown (or as and when things return to ‘normal’), then it becomes the perfect way to create a little bit of space between your home life and work life, which is what we are all looking for.
What are you waiting for?
To take part in any of my weekly yoga classes, see yogibanker.com/classes. Classes are currently running via ZOOM at various times during the week.