Here are some essential considerations for attending the best online yoga class experience…
Online Class considerations – pre-recorded & live online class
Online Class Considerations
Pre-recorded & Online Live Yoga Classes
If you’re practicing with an online class, this means you’re practicing yoga at home or in a non-studio space by yourself or with a few friends. Having the best online yoga class will be dependent on how well you prepare!
Doing yoga online at home can come with a lot of distractions, so prepare as best you can!
Since yoga is such a sacred and personal practice, it makes sense that you come prepared, even when you’re at doing yoga home. In order to turn this dedicated time you have set aside to practice into something that is meaningful for you, have all of your yoga props easily accessible so you’re not wandering around during precious class time trying to find that yoga strap. A good class instructor will tell you at the beginning of class what props you need.
Do your best to find a quiet, uninterrupted time to practice.
Mornings are often a good time for this, but we all have unique schedules so do what works for you. Kindly ask housemates to give you the hour as a distraction free-time and be sure to turn off notifications from your electronic devices. Airplane mode (or similar) is always advised-if you’re not on-call for an important notification, then silence all devices so you can fully immerse in your practice.
Perhaps a partner can watch little ones (human or the furry kind). Of course, small children (and pets) can hang around if you don’t have another set of eyes to watch them. In this case, just be careful as you move to keep everyone safe! (I once heard of a mother who practiced inside her toddlers’ enclosed play space while the children watched with joy, fully entertained by their mom “playing” in their space!)
Make sure to have a safe environment.
Safety is something that often gets overlooked, so be sure your space is safe enough for you to move around in – you don’t want to knock a body part onto the sharp edge of a table, for example. You usually will need at least 2-3 feet around the perimeter of your mat because limbs will often extend beyond the boarder.
Attending Prerecorded Yoga Classes
Prerecorded Yoga Classes
Prerecorded yoga classes, like classes on YouTube, can be a huge asset to a home yoga practice. They are extremely versatile, on-demand (you can literally pick your desired level of intensity, teacher, topic and type), and these classes work well with your schedule- do them anytime, day or night!
While prerecorded yoga classes are outstanding (I personally LOVE them), take a moment to understand that you will be taking cues from an instructor that is addressing a GENERAL audience most likely. Things like student injuries, experience, energy level, even personal anatomy won’t generally be addressed here. Of course there are exceptions, and there are many classes focused on those specific needs (think “prenatal yoga” and the like).
Prerecorded classes require a certain amount of maturity and self-accountability on the student’s part.
You need to know when to not do something that doesn’t work for you for whatever reason. You have to be able to stop when it’s time to stop. I always remind my students that yoga should never, ever hurt. On the other hand, you need to open yourself up to new challenges, breaking routine and habitual thoughts in order to grow in your practice. This requires discipline without the eyes of an instructor assisting you.
Prerecorded classes are most useful for a daily home practice that offers nothing exceptionally new or “fancy.” The class shouldn’t take you into unwanted, risky territory for you.
I also encourage you to do a physical yoga practice at-home with poses you’re already familiar with, or include “nearby” poses that are similar to the ones you already know. These classes should promote mindfulness and include well-rounded postures that are everyday essentials. This of this as good vitamins for the body, mind and spirit. And, of course, starting with a beginner’s series is highly useful if you’re a beginner!
Live Online Classes
While there are many live streaming online classes out there where the instructor cannot offer individual attention (think: a live class where 100+ people are attending), you would be surprised at how many small, live online classes are being offered by yoga teachers who give individual engagement quite skillfully. They can often feel like a private or semi-private session for a fraction of the cost. These online yoga classes give the teacher the ability to see you, and offer feedback.
With these smaller live-streaming classes, turning the camera on should always be optional. You should never feel forced to turn on your camera for a class (a private session would be an exception).
But if you feel comfortable enough to leave your camera on, the teacher can and will provide some useful cues that can be specific feedback to you. (And this can be really valuable!)
Etiquette for Online Yoga Classes
Simply put, etiquette (a code of courtesy and kindness within communities) is a practice of mindfulness. Taking the time to review and observe the teacher’s and studio’s policies demonstrates that you care about yourself and your community. If there is anything unclear, just ask! The teachers and owners will be more than happy to help.
Observe the policies
- Many studios will clearly post student expectations and it is up to you to take personal responsibility to read and uphold them. They will include everything from cancellation policies to social distancing instructions and more.
- Again, is an opportunity to practice mindfulness by paying careful attention to what the studio owners and teachers have spent countless hours investing in to create the optimal yoga experience for everyone. Nobody is perfect, and we have all unknowingly done things. For example, perhaps you’ve set your water bottle next to you, but there’s an “unspoken” expectation of keeping the water bottles in the back of the room. No biggie! The more frequently you attend, the more of the culture and etiquette you’ll pick up. But that is different from careless behavior, and especially, a self-serving attitude. Be kind!
Show up early
- Allows you time to have your equipment ready
- Showing up to yoga class early means you can take a few centering breaths as you transition into your practice
- Arriving early will even give you a moment to quietly say hello to someone, including the teacher.
- You can even communicate privately any special needs to the teacher before the class. An example would be saying, “I need to go easy on my wrists today” to the teacher in case you will be modifying or require some assistance with modifications.
In person, being late is extremely disruptive and in many cases unsafe. If traffic is bad and you know you’ll be late, head home and practice on your own instead. I promise, the class will likely be there next week, or even tomorrow!
If online, being late means that you’re disrupting the teacher by showing up while they are mid-sentence, cuing a posture that could potentially be unsafe if disrupted, or perhaps they even have to stop to allow you into the class. Even coming 1-2 minutes early is wonderful in the online class environment (and a benefit to practicing at home!).
Share the space.
Public yoga classes are a shared sacred space. For in-person classes, incessant or loud talking, walking around looking for props during class, loud grunting or even disruptive breathing can and will take others out of their own practice. People are here to connect to what’s going on inside themselves. Know this when you enter class. And never forget, personal hygiene is a must.
- If questions are welcome, only ask the most essential ones for your practice. Save longer questions and discussions for after class.
- Respect and cooperation with others are some of the most important, powerful foundations of yoga, showing up in its philosophy from the very beginning.
You should always feel safe in whatever environment you practice in. If you feel unsafe for any reason at all, leave the class immediately and commit to finding a yoga space that is safe and welcoming for you!
With your camera on, the following considerations are recommended:
- 1 hour before the live class:
- Avoid tech troubles before you even go online
- Restart your router, turn wifi off with other devices, close unnecessary apps, turn on ‘do not disturb’, keep software up to date and make sure you have the class link
- Check camera angle
- Have your yoga mat parallel to the camera
- Have your camera far enough away for your whole body to fit onto the screen (standing and lying down)
- Lit at least from the front, even the sides
- Not back lit (no windows behind you)
- Avoid tech troubles before you even go online
- During class:
- Be ready to converse
- Some teachers will ask for feedback in the chat, some may even encourage audio questions.
- If the teacher encourages interaction, share your questions & stay engaged!
- Be ready to converse
Want to get access to my free yoga for beginner’s guide? Click here to get my free eBook: Beginner’s Guide: How to Prepare for Your First Yoga Class Online or In Person more info on the best etiquette for yoga practice, and get tips on equipment and more!
Ready to try a prerecorded class?
Give this one a try, or try a different on my YouTube channel!