Welcome to YK LIVE!

I remember all too well the feeling of utter terror as I stood in front of my first ever yoga class. Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of fear you experience when standing on your mat at the front of the studio with all eyes on you for the first time. I’ve been teaching for nearly nine years now and though I still feel butterflies in my belly just before I begin my classes (How will this group of students find my style? Can I remember the sequence I’ve planned? Will they enjoy the class?) I never feel confident and calm right before a class. So when we had to (very swiftly!) adapt to teaching live online to accommodate social distancing, I was totally blown away by just how utterly terrified I was!

From Yoga Studio to Home Studio. 

The drive to be a yoga teacher for me is a social one; I want to connect with my community, meet like-minded people and provide a service which is based a lot on reading people’s facial expressions, responding to their needs at that particular time and looking after them both physically and mentally. So when this face-to-face contact was taken away from me, there was a genuine feeling of loss. To begin with, I think I felt what can only be described as a sense of grief and it’s taken me a while to adapt for sure.

Easing in!

I’m so grateful therefore for the super swift and efficient way the fabulous team at Yoga Kula responded to the situation. We began with a few classes live streamed whilst we taught actual real life students in the studio (just before the government requested social distancing) so I got the chance to experience teaching online without being totally alone. It felt a little strange; having to remember to look at the camera and not to wander off my mat was tricky at first. And having to demonstrate every pose and talk at the same time was super hard!  But the second time I did it I felt a little more confident and being able to see some of the familiar faces on screen as they practiced at home made me feel a little more at ease.

Government Lockdown

Then the lockdown came into force and we were no longer allowed to come to the studio to teach. In a matter of days I had to set up a space in my home from which I could deliver my regular classes and prepare to teach with just myself in the room.  The practicalities made my head hurt! Where do you place the camera so the students can see you both when you’re standing up and sitting down? Will it be light enough and can you leave yourself enough room to move? (for my first go at a class the answer to this last one was a resounding ‘no’ but I soon found a new space, thankfully!) Setting up the software was a big worry too, I’m really not a techy(!!) but the Kula team were on hand to help out and this bit was actually quite easy (thanks team!!).

Then there was the actual teaching!

Eek. I don’t think anything can really prepare you for how weird and how different it is to our usual way of teaching. I’m so used to being able to chat and have a giggle with my students as they arrive at the studio, checking in with how they’re feeling and thinking about what they might need from their practice that day. Being in a room on your own waiting for people to log in felt very alien. But then all of a sudden these familiar faces popped up on the screen and there were some new faces smiling at me from their impromptu yoga spaces at home. There were dogs and cats and kids and even a friend or two from far afield and I realised I wasn’t alone at all! My Kula family and the fabulous yoga community were all there reaching out to each other and it felt great.

The unexpected positives.

Being able to make these connections with each other at such a weird time has been a real blessing. I’m loving being able to support the studio and independent yoga teachers by attending online classes and I’m incredibly grateful that I can still teach (and earn). But it’s the sense of community and positivity in the face of adversity that can still be found in this new virtual world that has been the best thing to come out of these difficult times by far.