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Online classes VS In-person classes - what's your preference?

Before the global pandemic took hold of the world I was happily teaching in-person yoga classes 5-6 times a week. When we were forced to change our everyday lives and the pandemic hit us all full force, little did I know that this would not only change friendships, family dynamics and my work life, but also my whole mindset and way of thinking.


When we were told to stay at home online exercise classes became the only way we could stay connected. Even people that didn't participate in exercise classes, suddenly took to online classes. Whether this was with the highly energetic Joe Wicks or someone local that had been forced to take their business online.


Personally, I have never been a fan of online exercise classes and yoga for me was no different. I attended a few online classes with my trusty teachers at Bristol School of Yoga and although I enjoyed the physical yoga, for me, I felt something was missing.


Even though this was the case, I decided to take my classes online. I was teaching 3 classes a week. It was a lovely feeling to see my students popping up on zoom and it was great to be able to re-connect with students that had left the area, and in some cases the country.


Being confined to home away from people in their true form meant that seeing student faces online were a welcome from the new normal we were all forced to adhere to.


Although my online classes were successful, even teaching online for me was a real challenge. I am not a natural when it comes to being in the spotlight, and the idea of me being "on screen" was really daunting and felt like I was on view to the world.


That was a scary reality for me to process.


Even though I'm an outgoing person, there was something I was still not wholly comfortable with about teaching online.


Looking at little squares on the screen and seeing tiny snipets of my students as they come into poses half on the screen and half off the screen didn't feel like true teaching.

I felt almost like an intruder watching them in their private space.


So, what are the pros and cons of being a student and practicing online vs in person and also that of a yoga teacher teaching online vs in person?


Pros and cons of practicing yoga online

For students......


Pros

  • You don't need to leave the comfort of your home

  • You can practice in your pyjamas

  • Wherever you are, you can log on and practice

  • When shavasana ends you can stay in the zone and continue enjoying the benefits of your practice without going outside

  • You can listen out for children and do not need to miss a class

  • Safe from COVID

Cons

  • You don't know who else is in the zoom meeting, only the host is aware of this information

  • Other people can see into your home without you knowing

  • Watching a device, whether this is a TV, laptop, tablet or phone can make you feel you like you are still in "work mode"

  • Electronic devices, including televisions emit bluelight that can cause eye strain and may lead to eye problems over time

  • You are more likely to be interrupted

  • Limited interaction with other yogis

  • Limited interaction with your yoga teacher

Pros and cons of practicing yoga online

For yoga teachers......


Pros

  • You don't need to leave the comfort of your home

  • Unlimited students

  • Safe from COVID


Cons

  • Privacy - students can see into your home and if you are not lucky enough to have a "yoga room" this could be an issue in terms of family time

  • Talking to a screen can feel very unnatural and a little mundane

  • You are more likely to be interrupted during practice

  • Internet can sometimes let you down

  • You cannot physically see your students and there are several issues with this:

  1. You can't be sure your students are practicing safely

  2. Unable to give relevant cues which you often use when you see your students physically

  3. If you have students who are new to yoga, you cannot see if the fundamental basics are correct.

  4. Yoga can bring about emotions, not being able to see when you need to give someone a reassuring nod or a tissue can be all that’s needed to make that person know they are safe


Pros and cons of practicing yoga in person

For students......


Pros

  • Getting out of the house and being free from distractions

  • Turning your phone off and being completely invested in yourself for the duration of the class

  • Meeting other like minded people

  • Being part of a group activity can help your mental wellbeing

  • Feeling energy in the room

  • Watching fellow students grow in their practice

  • Having a teacher in the room and other students around you can give you confidence to do a little bit more

  • Being able to talk to your yoga teacher before or after class is important especially if you have encountered any issues during your practice

Cons

  • You have to leave the house and travel to a venue

  • Winter nights can be dark and dreary

  • Social distancing

Pros and cons of practicing yoga in person

For teachers......


Pros

  • Getting out of the house and being free from distractions allows you to teach with passion

  • Being in a room with your students empowers you as a teacher

  • Physically watching your students practice and grow

  • Watching to see your students abilities in that moment can alter your class plan meaning you can teach compassionately

  • Being able to give adjustments to allow poses to be safe (verbal adjustments only at the moment)

  • Being able to enjoy the energy in the room

  • Peoples bodies can tell you a lot about a student both physically and mentally

  • Enjoying achievements with your students

  • Cues are more relevant and concise from what you see around the room

  • Being available for your students before and after class

  • Shavasana - my time to sit and watch as my students absorb their practice, their is no greater moment

Cons

  • Travelling to and from venues

  • Carrying equipment

  • Cost of venue

  • Added COVID measures


Ultimately, you have to figure out for yourself if teaching yoga online or in person is a good fit for you. Online classes can certainly be useful if you want to expand your reach, but you also need to be prepared for potential downfalls.


For me there are so many more positives for teaching yoga classes in-person.


When I can look around the room and see bodies, faces and souls, I am completely connected. I feel energy that can only be found when you are surrounded by your students.


If you know me, you will know that I am a people person.


I love nothing more than to reach out to my students, welcoming them to class and enjoying their presence.

I am authentic and the way I teach and the energy I give comes from those who join me in class.


My students inspire me, they are the ones who make teaching feel real.


They are my yoga.


When we live in a world full of electronics why not switch them off, put them down and immerse your whole being in your yoga practice.


If you haven't joined me in class already and would like to, please do.

I would love to practice with you.


Love Zara x



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