The Joy of Online Yoga

There’s a joy to practising yoga online at home, a real joy. Here are my top tips for getting the most out of your online yoga practice.

As an online yoga teacher and student, I can tell you that my experience of practising online has been wholly positive. I’ve had powerful meditation experiences in my back bedroom in part because I haven’t had to worry about rushing to catch the last train home. With no more time consuming & expensive commutes and online classes costing a fraction of the normal price, I can afford to practise more. Recordings of the online classes gives real flexibility when it comes to your time – you needn’t miss a class again. And if you enjoyed the class so much you want to do it again, you can. No more noisy venues, music that annoys you or temperatures that are better suited to the rain-forest. You control your space on the way to class, during and after. Practice in the comfort of your own home and then flop. Or go about your day. Or meditate for another 2 hours if you fancy it…. No more organising child care. Turn your camera off if you feel self-conscious or if you’ve just rolled out of bed & haven’t done your hair. Practice outdoors if you like. Access classes from anywhere in the World. Not having to worry about what other people are doing. Wear whatever you like. What’s not to love about an online practice.

Yes, practising online at home can be a real revelation. So if you want a successful home practice then consider the following guidelines:

1/ Minimise disruption – leave your phone and other non-essential tech in another room. Negotiate some space with the other occupants of the house and try to work in a room where you can close the door on them. Try to explain to your children that this is an important part of your day and ask that they respect your space – it’s worth a try at least. Remind them all that they wouldn’t barge into a yoga class at the gym and that this is no different. They disturb you at their peril.

2/ Create a sacred space – this is the fun part. One of the potential issues with practising at home is that it’s where you are day to day. A yoga studio or place of meditation, is just that and doesn’t come with the smells of cooking or photographs that remind you of an ex or noise from the next room suggesting your dog just knocked over your Yucca plant. So be creative and build your sacred space, create your own little yoga studio that rolls out with your mat. This space reflects your mindset so make it special. It doesn’t matter how much space you have – place a crystal or statue that inspires you close by. Light a candle and some incense (we have some great natural incense in stock) – use balms or oils on your skin to focus you. Play music that helps you enter the zone (check out our Babacool Yoga playlist on Spotify). Have your journal close by so you can note down any inspiration that arises. Whatever inspires you, use that. (and yes, you can’t do this in a yoga studio so have some fun with it).

3/ Commit to the practise – if you’re going to practise, then practise. Just as you would in a class. You wouldn’t get up half-way through a studio class and put the kettle on. You wouldn’t answer the phone in downward facing dog. Bring the same level of commitment to your home practise and you’ll reap the same results…and much more.

4/ Watch your mindset – if you start with the attitude of “it’s not the same as a class” then it won’t be. Remain open-minded – as I said earlier some of the most mind-blowing meditation experiences I have had have been via Zoom. It’s absolutely possible but you have to be open to that possibility and participate in order for that to work. Close your eyes, focus and allow yourself to be led. The magic in yoga and meditation happens inside so online is absolutely equal to in person. As a teacher working online I can tell you that it has focused my way of teaching – I’m much more creative with my words and more verbal cues. I’m also more tuned in to holding space and connecting with what participants are feeling. If it’s made me a better teacher, it can make you a better yogi.

5/ Wear your finest yoga clothes – sure you can meditate in your pyjamas but I often find that wearing clothes that I only use for yoga and meditation breaks my link to the familiar and represents a way of committing to the practise. It’s as if the clothes become imbued by the practise, maybe in just a superficial way but it works, nonetheless.

6/ Be a yoga nerd and be prepared – sit on your mat silently for 5 minutes before the class starts – unless you have to, don’t just rush in and stress yourself out trying to get on Zoom. Take your time – make sure the tech works, check the camera position and that the sound is on. And then if you can sit for at least 5 minutes. Make yourself conscious that you’re about to practice yoga. Remind yourself of your reasons for practising and what you’d like to get out of the practise. Commit to the length of the class and resolve to stay away from distractions.

7/ Patience Pays – I bet the first time you went to class at the local hall or studio, it wasn’t your best yoga experience. Like everything, you need to get comfortable working at home, adjusting to the environment and getting yourself used to the habit of switching off online. Give it time, and watch it grow.

8/ Speak up – so ok you can’t hang around after class and ask a question. But you can email or phone and discuss your concerns or curiosity – yoga teachers love to talk about yoga. And if you’re struggling with something or perhaps you’re not confident enough to join a class straightaway then think about a few 1-2-1 online sessions – they’re cheaper than the in-person variety and equally as effective.

8/ Not all yogas are equal online – be realistic, the faster yoga styles are more difficult to follow online, unless you’re already experienced in them. And if you’re looking for hands on adjustments, forget it. The quieter yoga styles of Yin, Kundalini and Hatha, and also Tai Chi Qigong translate really well via Zoom. As does meditation and breathwork. And yoga at home and relaxation go hand in hand for all of the reasons mentioned above. So if it’s a deeper, quieter, more authentic yoga practice you’re looking for, then perhaps online yoga really is for you. I hope so because yoga at home is here to stay and long may that continue.

For details of our online classes, click here.