Two years ago (remember our pre-2020 world?), we all went (literally) to yoga classes – live, in a studio. Pick your location, pick your format style, pick your instructor, pick your time, grab your mat and head on over. In today’s world, you might still do this (probably also signing-up online first), but you might also attend a live class virtually from your own home, or pull up an “on-demand” virtual class, also in your home, at whatever time works for you. Lately I’ve done all three of these yoga class styles in one week (and this doesn’t even include those on-your-own mini stretch sessions!)
I’m sure many of us are now regularly incorporating a combination of all of these into our yoga practice, realizing that the expanded virtual options (both location and schedule) have resulted in giving us increased flexibility and choices as we continue to practice yoga for our health, well-being and self-care.
I did an “on demand” yesterday, and then a virtual live today, with Zoom and instructor positive shout-outs by name making it a bit more real; these were preceded a few days ago by my usual Saturday morning class live in a studio. With three class variations in a row, I recognized some real (maybe even glaring?) differences in my own responses and behaviors; maybe you’ve noticed these as well (though only, of course, if you’re as tempted as I might sometimes be to engage “not quite as fully”).
Level of effort? I won’t call it cheating; it is our own workout and self-care practice to manage – impacting no one else, but I’m sure you get the point. It’s easy with either of the virtual modes to take a step away, at any time – maybe to refresh your water, or check on an incoming text (not typically done while in a live in-studio class). And, of course, the virtual classes always come with the challenge and temptation of a bit less focus, and maybe a bit more mind wandering (does this room in your home need anything?). In real time and yoga space, surrounded by and within the walls with 10 other yogis, yoga concentration is at its best!
And, on the other side (I really have done this!), there are also virtual yoga classes (both kinds) where I might do even more than what’s being called out. Maybe I don’t need a short mid-class shavasana and I hold the previous poses, maybe I do a couple more minutes of belly-up core, and maybe I continue with a few of my own poses at the closure of class.
Now that I know to be, and how to be, more aware of my own yoga self-management, especially when participating virtually, I can fully benefit from the “virtues of virtualness,” appreciating what these classes offer me, at times when scheduling is more chaotic. I’ve learned how to appreciate and value these different types of classes — each giving all of us even more ways to continue our yoga experience.
Photo by Jordan Nix.
Cathy Lussiana is a freelance writer residing in Montrose, Colorado, now retired from a career in HR Leadership. Writing topics are typically first-person experiences and observations on life as we all experience it, often including biking, travel, gratitude and successfully aging.