Navigating through these uncertain (crazy) times, we are all clinging to the Internet for our sanity and survival. From baking, to IG live and webinars, to home workouts– social media is flooded with #quarantinelife fads. One new fad is online yoga. As of now, there are more than 209K #onlineyoga posts on Instagram alone. 

I have also tried online yoga and my experiences so far might not have been that great but they are nothing short of interesting. From pets knocking down mobile phone cameras to kids crying in the background– the truth is that yoga is not that zen online. 

Is Something Really Better Than Nothing?

Ok, first things first, let me say that I am a big supporter of big and small businesses, and I understand that we all need to support each other so we can get through this together. In fact, it is hard to imagine what our lives would be like if there was no internet. Amidst this pandemic that has forced us into a global lockdown, the internet has been a huge saving grace. It has allowed us to connect with our friends and families no matter where in the world they are located. Its offered us entertainment and even enabled businesses to go online to survive.

I, for one, could not be more thankful to the dotcom world for a lot of things– work, social media and online classes that keep me creatively engaged so I can save myself from spiralling into a hole of depression brought upon by the forced isolation. 

However, when it comes to yoga, I feel like online classes are more like a “something is better than nothing” situation. I have tried yoga on Zoom with several local yoga schools as well as independent instructors. While I commend them for trying to do something for yoga enthusiasts during this lockdown period, I personally don’t think Zoom is the best place to conduct a yoga lesson, here’s why.

Amidst Fart Noises And Screaming Kids, My Chakras Are Not So Aligned

For starters, there is always a newbie in the group who does not know how Zoom works (take a quick tour before the class, maybe?). They take at least ten minutes of the 45-minute paid session to set up their laptops and adjust their screens while the others wait with awkward smiles on their faces.

Then, as the class begins, the teacher tries to set the mood by asking you to sit with your spines straight and close your eyes. At this point, if the instructor forgets to put everyone else on mute or worse yet wants to keep the session interactive, your class is doomed. As you are channelling your inner strength and aligning your chakras, someone’s kid might fart in the background (this actually happened in one of the classes I was attending last week), or worse, start crying. 

It becomes really hard to concentrate and get into the ‘zone’ when all this is going on in the split screen window of your laptop as you struggle to look at your teacher and copy the asanas.

I Stayed Too Long In The Mountain Position As My Teacher Froze

Another major issue with online yoga is poor connection and buffering screens. Imagine a beginner taking classes online and the teacher’s screen freezes in a certain pose. What if the student stays in that position for too long! 

This actually happened to me. I realised that my instructor’s screen had frozen after five minutes of being stuck in the mountain position before I gave up and quit the session. 

What Can The Yoga Industry Do Differently?

I understand that the yoga industry is working hard to survive this pandemic and right now, online classes seem like the only way to go. However, there are issues that need to be addressed if they want to retain their current clientele.

One alternative to live online classes can be recorded sessions. This eliminates several problems in one go– there won’t be any background noise, no internet glitches and it gives people the flexibility to practise yoga at their own convenience.

For those schools who lack the resources and equipment to record and edit their lessons, they can work at educating their participants before the session to make the overall experience more pleasant for everyone. A simple email with pointers can go a long way, for example, reminding participants to select a private corner of their homes to practice, where they won’t be disturbed and muting the audio when the class starts is a good place to start.

If every participant is mindful of the others in their virtual class it would make the whole experience for everyone so much more pleasant.

These are hard times and we all are seeking solace in one way or the other. From personal experience, I understand that regular yoga and meditation can help a lot right now. Let us try and make these sessions worthwhile by being a little mindful. Namaste 🙂