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The Benefits of Virtual Yoga

by Jenn Moss

Like a lot of new things we've encountered the last couple of weeks, moving our yoga practice from in-person at the studio to at home is a big one on the list. For some, this might have been quite an easy transition, especially if you’ve already established a home practice that you often return to. However, if practicing at home feels a bit foreign to you, know that you’re not alone!

While we love being in the studio, seeing our friends and teachers in person, current safety regulations prevent us from doing so. But this doesn’t mean that our yoga practice needs to come to halt. Thankfully we’re in the day and age where the internet and virtual world is there to connect to us. How special is this?! Taking classes on Zoom has a multitude of benefits, and if you’ve been thinking about it, perhaps you consider these:

Staying Connected at a Distance

Have you moved away from the area and miss practicing at your previously frequented studio? Live-video streaming services such as Zoom provide the opportunity to take classes with the teachers you love right in the comfort of your home.

Speaking of distance, virtual classes are a great way to stay connected with friends or family that you’re not able to see right now. Make a plan to take the same class together, and if it’s calling to you, set up a time after to chat with a cup of tea. Although virtual, this is a great way to feel close to your loved ones!

Unobstructed Views

While we love the energy and vibes in big classes, sometimes we crave having our own space to practice. For those learners who do best with fewer people and distractions, learning via Zoom provides a personal learning experience, especially if you toggle to the "Speaker View" option.

Additionally, practicing at home allows us the opportunity to take up a lot of space. There are no worries about accidentally hitting your neighbor (although there’s nothing inherently bad about that) it might feel nice to have the freedom to take up space with arm and leg extensions.

Creating Your Environment

What’s fun about practicing yoga at home is that you’re able to set the scene especially to your liking. Maybe you’d like to set up your favorite candles (being diligent not to hurt yourself) or incense, dim the lights, set up Christmas lights, etc. When you feel calm and centered in your environment, you can truly dive deeper into your practice.

A nice little addition to class is having pillows and blankets on hand for savasana. We all love a comfy savasana, and what elevates that experience is having a fluffy pillow underneath the head and a blanket over the body. An additional pillow placed on the stomach provides an added weight for a energetically grounding effect.

A Time for Movement or Stillness

If you find that you’re spending the majority of your day with shoulders slumped around a screen, it might be nice to create a designated time for movement. Doing yoga classes from pre- recorded videos can be great, but there’s something special about being a part of a live class. In the end, there’s usually an opportunity to chat or ask questions about class sequencing. If you find that your day has been going, going, going non-stop working from home, carving out a time for an hour of stillness may be beneficial. There are many slower classes available via Zoom such as Yin and Restorative, designed to be anxiety-reducing and hold space for your mind and body to slow down and be.

You Can Practice Incognito

You might be thinking that you don’t want to see yourself on camera while practicing. That’s completely fine and valid! Often teachers will have their students face away from the mirror, and that might be what you’re used to. What’s great about Zoom is that you can actually turn your video off and still be able to see the teacher. You also have control of your microphone if you’re not feeling like talking that day. Additionally, if you have to leave the room to go to the bathroom or something of the like, you can simply slip away and come back when you’re ready. By practicing on Zoom you have control over the entire experience. However, teachers love interacting and seeing their students' beautiful faces, so perhaps you opt to keep your video on in the beginning before class and at the end to say so long. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had to adapt to a lot of new changes in the world. Something positive is the influx of yoga classes available online worldwide. Now more than ever yoga is accessible. In helping aid the community, many studios offer a “pay what you can” rate. With the ability of Zoom, yoga is brought right into your home, making it the shortest commute you’ve ever had in your life! We hope to see you online!

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