My Yoga Online Journey: Rebecca Lean

Posted by amberp, 22-Apr-2020

Rebecca found her face-to-face classes have moved almost seamlessly online – here’s how she’s made the transition:

For someone who hasn’t had a TV for ten years it really did seem crazy for me to do something so modern as to teach yoga online.

In reality I was inspired by ancient yogic text, The Bhagavad Gita, where Krsna counselled Arjuna to ‘do your duty’. I was also guided by the Yama of Ahimsa,
non-harming.

As news of this highly infectious virus, Covid-19 came through, it became evident that to do my duty while doing no harm would require some changes. I run seven yoga classes from my home studio every week so I decided to confer with all my students in early March.

We were already washing our hands and mats as well as having hand sanitiser where we keep our pens and sign in cards. From our discussions some students
wanted to stagger smaller classes, others suggested classes in the park or beach. I am forever grateful to one student, Tanya Silveira, a talented music therapist who mentioned she has been teaching online using Zoom and offered to show me how.

It was so easy to set up a $20 a month account (which gives us hour long classes instead of the 40 minute limit on the free Zoom option) schedule the week’s classes and email students their regular class invitations at the beginning of every week. Administration was further simplified as for the last few years the students have been buying 10 class passes, (I have them printed with Vistaprint, they are like the reward cards you see in coffee shops).
The only difference now is that I fill out their sign in cards for them with the date and take a quick photo on my phone and text it through for their
records.

I believe that my IYTA teacher training deserves to be highlighted and applauded here, as all I had to do was apply the health and safety training I learnt so many years ago; display your qualifications, have insurance, have students fill out an online student consent form and ensure that both the teacher and student can see and hear each other at all times.

But what amazed me was the really positive response! I have learnt so much from the feedback. Students texted that they felt really supported by keeping
their regular routine in a time that is far from regular and where most of their daily routines have been upended. Some students who are now working
from home have opted to book even more classes as they love being able to access not just the physical benefits of yoga, but also the support that
pranayama and meditation bring to their mental health. Other students who are now interstate or overseas joined the classes online and were thrilled
to catch up with their old friends.

Because of their valuable feedback I have been emphasising regularity, familiarity and Sangha or association.

The yoga room is set up so that the students can see all the things they did when they came to my physical classes; the wall mandala, yoga props, plants
and salt lamp.

Even more exciting has been witnessing a deepening of Sangha. We open the class a little early and check how everyone is doing. Students have been able
to support each other, particularly those who have lost work due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Importantly, students have also been able to share jokes
and happy news, even the announcement of pregnancy!

I understand that yoga is a pretty big tent and that what works for some does not work for every one. However I am happy to share my experience and hope
that others will see teaching yoga on an interactive online platform as a viable option. If I can do it, anyone can.

Hari Om Tat Sat

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