Online yoga: what's the deal?

You've seen yoga teachers plug their online classes on social media (a lot). You might have sensed a bit of yoga would do you some good during lockdown. But if you haven't got around to giving a live online yoga class a go just yet, here are the answers to your burning questions on how it works, the myths, the truths, and everything in between.

First off, I'm a tech novice. Is it hard to join?

Nope, it's so easy even my Mum can do it (sorry Mum). You book online via the GymCatch app, then you'll be emailed a link that you click on, ideally on a laptop or iPad - a phone at a stretch. It's slicker if you download Zoom and it's easy, you just follow the instructions from the link.

It's worth joining 10 minutes before your first class to give time to iron out any tech issues. I'll be ready to let you in and I'll talk you through it all from there.

Can people see me?

I ask people to keep their video on and positioned towards their mat so that I can observe during the practice. I'm on the main screen and everyone else is in tiny little boxes across the top. No one is looking at anyone else apart from me... and themselves (probably). If you really don't want your screen on, I won't force you.

My kids/dog/partner/mother-in-law will keep interrupting

This happens! I've seen kids, cats and canines photobomb the webcam while their unaware owner/parent is in downward dog. While it's a bit distracting for you, you're on mute so no one else will even realise. My pooch Walter has even made an appearance for a quick face lick during Savasana.

I'd be worried I'm doing it wrong

I keep everyone on mute but there is always the option to unmute yourself to ask any questions. I also unmute you all to check in from time to time and will occasionally unmute as we work through a pose to ensure everyone's grasped something new or different. There's also the chance to ask questions or check something specific at the end of the class. And also, I'm watching you! I have my iPad close to the mat so I can observe how you're all doing during the practice and suggest any tweaks.

I don't have the right equipment

Fear not. If you can't get your hands on a yoga or exercise mat, a large towel will do. A dressing gown belt or scarf works well as a yoga strap. A bag of pasta or rice, a hardback book, a plastic bottle or similar is a good replacement for a yoga brick. And you can sit on the edge of a cushion or thick blanket instead of a yoga block. Definitely don't let the lack of gear get in the way of your practice.

Class times never suit my crazy schedule

I hear you. This can be a huge challenge, especially at the moment. So a) just let me know you can't make the class and I'll send you the class recording, or b) I've created The Reset Hub, an online membership platform where you have unlimited access to 70+ hours of recorded classes and shorter practices that you can enjoy in your own time. It's £15 a month (recurring payment) so even if you only do one class a week, it works out at £3.75 a class. Bargain!

I like listening to music when I practice yoga

Once I mute you all at the start of the class, you can press play on whatever you fancy. I've also done a 60-minute yoga Spotify playlist. More to come soon on there!

Is it really the same as a real-life yoga class?

Nope but it's surprisingly close. I can't physically adjust you (not that I've been able to recently anyway) but I can still observe and guide you. My students have talked about the huge benefits of being able to do their practice from home and all have said they want to continue to do online classes when the dust settles.

Something else they've talked about is the sense of camaraderie and community in our classes - it's one of the things I love the most. Everyone getting to see each other and having a chat after class. It makes my heart swell.

How much can yoga help?

I'll hand you over to a few of my students for this:

"Thank you Rachel for the brilliant classes. Love the delivery - your expertise and explanations, the care over physical and mental wellbeing and the camaraderie within the sessions. Especially love your ‘thought for the day’."

"A welcoming and friendly group. Suitable for all levels of yoga. I always look forward to the classes and the way I feel afterwards. Lots of relaxation and focus on breathing, as well as strength, stretching and poses. A great mixture of everything."

"Nice personalised and intimate group. Community feel. Rach is a great instructor for someone like me who is a newcomer to yoga. The online classes during the lockdown have been great."

"The Reset Project has helped me massively. It gets me through these strange times in the form of escapism. As they say yoga is good for the body, soul & mind. I always feel very satisfied after our class. Thank you Rach x"

I'll leave it there but I'm here to answer any questions or help with any reservations you might have. Why not give it a try and see how you get on?

Namaste x