Like a lot of things in 2020, if you told me that I would be teaching yoga online a year ago I wouldn't have believed you. What is truly amazing is that we have the technology and the capability to adapt to these ever changing times. I don't think anyone was prepared for the insanity and chaos that this year has brought. In spite of that; classes were held online, baby showers went virtual, and the personal birthday parade was born. We humans and resilient if anything. Today, I'm going to talk about the benefits of going to a live online yoga class compared to watching a recorded video.
With growth comes growing pains. None of these changes were perfect (or planned really). We had to figure out how to work zoom and adjust to the new normal. Businesses we love have not made it through and our favorites are gone forever. (RIP to my favorite ramen shop that I wasn't able to visit before it closed forever.) We had a push to support local early on, but it is even more important to continue to support local businesses now. I know I long for a room filled with people, and a speaker system that never seems to work correctly. I've also had trouble finding motivation to continue my personal yoga practice and my practice is one of the most important things to me. But until then, I am teaching and practicing online.
I'm sure we are all aware of the benefits of supporting local businesses, but I'll talk about a few of them again. Money that you spend stays in your local economy. Your taxes go to things like parks you use and roads you drive on. It reduces environmental impact (this is huge when it comes to food because farmers are important and struggling). You support your actual neighbors and people in your community. This is the difference in someone you know paying off student loans, putting their kids in sports, and being able to pay their mortgage. Your friends are educated specialists that spent time and money learning to provide the best services for you. Think estheticians, veterinarians, restaurant owners, personal trainers, dietitians, financial advisors, real estate agents and so so many more.
Okay okay, you thought this would be about online yoga classes and the differences and benefits between recorded and live classes. I'm getting to that I promise, but first I want to mention that yoga studios are special places. To some of you it may seem like they're four walls, some mats, and some props. But to a lot of us, a studio is a safe place. This is a place we go to put it all down and practice. This is where we know we can leave all of our worries at the door and simply be for at least an hour. This is a place where we connect with people like us and become part of a community. Where we talk about our ideas and ask questions about life free from judgment. A place where we sing, sit with ourselves, and listen to the world around us. Where we move our bodies and learn more about who we are and how we feel in that moment. A yoga studio is a place of magic, and I cannot wait until I can practice in one again.
There are many benefits to taking a live online yoga class as compared to a youtube recorded one. I've listed some reasons below and I'll discuss the differences and benefits of each point.
support small/local businesses
As an extrovert, I am having a hard time with this quarantine. I usually leave my house on Fridays for about 2 hours to go grocery shopping and to check my mail. Sometimes I see my neighbors while I'm out walking my dogs, but not always. Being able to simply ask how someone's week has been is huge. Even if you don't know them. Hearing and seeing other people makes me feel so much less alone. Which brings me to my next point...
Taking part in a live class is so much more than saying 'hello' to another human. You're going through the same practice together. You're hearing the same words and sharing your unique thoughts. You see these people week after week, and you learn bits about them. I care about the people I'm taking classes with. I care about their progress and their thoughts. I love love love love love discussing things with the people in my classes. It may even be my favorite part. Not only do I teach online, but I'm also a student online. My teacher/trainer said this morning that you can really feel the energy when you're live and practicing together. This may be my favorite reason to take online classes. When you're watching a recording you miss out on this aspect of class. I know I get so excited to see my online community every Friday. Friends from across the globe practicing together is really something special.
You can easily put off practicing with a recorded video because it is always available. If you're anything like me, I can always do that later. Which means I'm probably going to put it off until tomorrow, and as the saying goes 'tomorrow never comes'. Signing up for something is a commitment. This is probably the most important step. That is your way of saying "okay, I'm doing this!" I always had a hard time paying for things (I had a really messed up relationship with money that I have since worked on) so when I did pay for something I made sure that I used it. While $10 a week really isn't a lot of money, I also don't want to waste it. So spending money on a class, signing up, and having a person that knows I should be there are all ways to keep me accountable for showing up for myself.
This might be the most important point I will bring up. I say this because I am so guilty of it. I do not put in the same effort if I'm taking a recorded class. You may be a better person than I am, and I am proud of you for that. I will straight up not do something I don't want to do while taking a recorded class. Why? Because no one is there to know. I'm only cheating myself, and I'm fully aware of that. I can't tell you how many times I've been taking a recorded class, gone to hands and knees, said "no" out loud, then paused the video. Only to never return. Y'all, I would consider myself dedicated to my yoga practice, and I will just turn it off. So there's an accountability when you're in a live class.
Every body is different. Not all poses work for all bodies. If you're in a live class it is easy to ask for variations. I also like to ask what my students would like to work on. Classes can be adjusted for you, and they should be something that works for you and your body. Your teachers have trained to be able to adjust their classes for your needs. This is to keep you safe and so you get the most benefits from your practice.
There isn't really anyone to talk to if you have questions with a recorded class unless you know the person teaching them. In a live class it is so easy to say "hey, what am I supposed to be doing here?" and get an answer. This is a question that I have in practice all of the time so don't think you're not doing something right. Your questions are valid, and the instructors are more than happy to answer them. We want you to succeed just as much as you do.
Support Small/Local Business
Okay, so I kind of went on a tangent about this above, but I mean every word of that. When you pay to go to a live class with somone you are directly supporting them or the studio they represent. As I mentioned above is likely a very special place for them. While youtube videos are free there is a lot of generalized content out there. A lot of those teachers are truly amazing and have many followers and subscribers meaning they get paid for advertisements. Most of those yoga professionals do not and they provide that content for free. Meaning they paid for their education and training, but are not charging for their services likely in hopes of becoming popular enough to make some money off of advertisments. Most yoga teacher trainings cost around $2500-$3000. So while free may be the draw of recorded content, your $10-14/class may go a long way for your instructor. A lot of teachers provide content for free so more people have access to yoga. Usually, as yoga teachers our main goal is to help you with your practice. Teaching yoga isn't a profession you get into with high hopes of getting rich. (Although it can happen!) So if you're reading this and money is an issue I'm telling you to reach out to the teacher. Most teachers are happy to work with you on finances because we are well aware that there is more to money in the world.
There are totally benefits of taking recorded yoga classes. I've found over the years this is how a lot of students begin their yoga practice. This is a personal way to begin, and yoga is very much a personal journey. On the other hand, taking a live class has even more benefits. There is a sense of community and inclusion. The instructor will be highly honored and excited to have you in class. I know from personal experience that my online classes and students bring me so much fricking joy! It is likely that you'll see better results and put in more effort if you're in a live class. You have a chance to talk about anything that may come up during your practice. These may be anatomical alignment questions that ensure you're doing yoga safely or something totally different. Your money goes to supporting a real life person or a studio space that is special to many people. So try out a live class online, whether that is with me or with any of the amazing yogis out there teaching. You may be surprised at the difference it can make.
love and light,