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I am of course talking about yoga classes online. I am not going to even talk about in-person classes here. Of course, we all like the energy of being in the same room with people, but sometimes it’s not possible. So, which one is best then, a live online class or a pre-recorded video?

The answer is obviously… depends! But one thing is for sure, the pandemic has made it clear to all of us: if we are to sustain yoga in our lives, we need to practice more at home. Not only following our own practice but also learning online from teachers we like. How do you feel about that? I always loved it. Read here why and my own journey.

In fact, already back in 2018, when I finished my second training in India, my intention was to create a virtual yoga studio. Little did I know that soon it would not be a very original idea! 

Now everyone is offering online classes, from the usual big online platforms that already existed to local studios that had to close their doors, to big-name teachers that could not travel, to local teachers and small yoga business owners.

But are you taking advantage of what’s out there? Or are you still on the fence regarding online yoga?

There are basically two ways in which you can practice online:

1. Live: Attending a class, or a private session with a teacher. Usually happens at a given pre-arranged time. There are different ways in which this can happen. The most common since 2020 is via Zoom, where the teacher and the students can interact. But there are also other one-way online live classes – via Facebook, Instagram, in large groups, big studios, etc.

2. Pre-recorded: Taking a pre-recorded class or course. It’s not time-bound and it has existed since the invention of exercise videos and DVDs. Now it’s even more accessible since you can take a class from any device.

There is a 3rd option… many programmes or courses will mix both, pre-recorded content with live sessions. But since I’m only talking about ‘classes’ and these refers usually to series, courses or several weeks programmes.

So… which yoga online is best?

Let’s look at the benefits of both

LIVE CLASSES:

  • Being at home can feel lonely, but when you turn up at the same time as the rest of the group, see the little squares in Zoom, say hello to each other, or goodbye at the end of the class… it creates a sense of community. In fact, I’m extremely grateful to my students during all the lockdowns, knowing that I’d meet friends every week, that we’d practice together. That was bonding. 

Every practice is a chance to bond and strengthen that community.

  •  It’s always best to connect with teachers who can help you learn correct alignment. Livestream classes can be better for this if the teacher is able to watch your form and make suggestions. If you go to a live class, try to put your camera at an angle where you can be seen. And remember that you can interact and ask questions!!

If you need to unmute yourself because you were not sure of something, please feel free. Or stay back at the end and ask me to check your alignment.

  • Having said that, if you are feeling like keeping your camera off, but still want to receive the energy and sense of community of a live class, you can! There are many reasons why one might want to keep the camera off, so don’t feel obliged to turn it on. Be your own guide and do what works best for you. After all yoga should be practiced in a non-judgemental space.

  • Accountability and motivation. There is a schedule to follow, you can book in advance and put the class in your diary/calendar. If you plan it in your day, it’s more likely to happen. Sometimes, just knowing that you will practice at that time and that the teacher is waiting for you to start the class, give you the motivation you need to get on the mat.

  • You are building a rapport with the teacher and the teacher with you. I love getting to know my students and sometimes I plan the classes with specific people in mind. It works both ways!

Working with a particular teacher, even if it’s not a private session you can develop more your practice than jumping from one video to another and swapping styles.

  • Also, for those who like supporting small businesses, knowing that they are helping support a small studio or a freelance teacher can be an incentive.

  • I don’t know you, but when practising in a live class I tend to focus more and try a little bit harder. Even if it’s a webinar and the teacher can not see me! There is something special about knowing that a real person is at the other side talking to me.

PRE-RECORDED VIDEO:

  • Financially. There is usually a different price tag between pre-recorded and live classes. You can even find free yoga videos on YouTube! If finances are an issue, you can definitely practise with pre-recorded videos, either paid or free. Although I’d like to suggest that you try to do a live class with a teacher you trust once a week or even once a month. 

  • You don’t depend on a schedule, so you can drop on your mat when it’s most convenient for you! You create your own schedule. That is quite liberating, especially for busy people or if none of the actual times suit you.

  • You can choose what style, what length class you want depending on how you are feeling at that moment. You can even choose what part of your body or what theme you want to work on. Most classes will have a title, a theme or a focus, that can be physical, mental, emotional, energetic, etc. So you can pick your own at the moment.

  • You can repeat a class you like over and over. Repetition is great and is the way we learn. People are always in search of novelty, but trying a sequence, flow or same class for an extended period of time can help you develop discipline and your practice. Also very useful if you are working on an issue or theme or specific style.

Can you think of more benefits? What is your personal experience?

Let me know in the comments, and if you haven’t tried yoga online, or don’t like it, I’d like to know too.

I always create classes that give options and choices to the students. So I’ve done the same with my classes.

In my current classes model, I try to cover a bit of everything and cater for everyone with different prices and memberships:

Urdva Hastasana

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