How to Teach Yoga Online Safely During COVID-19 Times

In 2008 we saw a global crash that shook the world and created the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. With the world now facing an unprecedented global health emergency, people are again faced with financial challenges, but with the additional anxiety of social distancing being imposed, society shutting down and the danger of being less active.

There is also a daily, increasing demand from the global yoga community of teachers to find ways to continue to support and serve their students during these challenging times, as well as being able to support themselves and their families.

In 2009, Hayley Winter, founder of the Institute of Yoga Sports Science® developed a way to teach yoga online and respond to the demands of the time. As one of the pioneers of online yoga education she has

created a resource to help yoga teachers and their communities, learn how to safely and authentically support their students.

Resource to support yoga teachers transition online

Hayley has provided a resource to share best practices that both she and her team have successfully delivered online for over a decade. In the How to Teach Yoga Online webinar recording, (available in the resource), Hayley addresses how to maintain the yoga teacher / student experience online, and helps teachers navigate some of the challenges in this changing environment.

The online yoga teacher / student experience vs Live streamed yoga classes

Hayley advocates the importance of yoga teachers continuing to serve their existing students in their local communities, as opposed to delivering a Live streamed yoga classes that doesn’t provide human interaction. A number of reasons for advocating the teacher / student connection are:

  • Yoga teachers will be able to see people in their class and guide them safely through the practice.

  • Interacting with people directly about the benefits of the yoga class and how it can support them in their daily life - either through stress management, keeping mobile and strong, or through the use of breathing techniques for preventative and restorative measures to keep your yoga community connected, healthy, and active.

  • Inviting people to stay in the space after class to share how they are coping provides a much needed community moment and gathering.

  • You may not be insured if you are teaching Live stream yoga classes, so check with your insurance provider.

Bringing yoga benefits to public health workers on the front line

Your yoga community may consist of doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and other public health workers in the front line. Supporting them right now in a yoga class where they can take time out, regroup, restore, look after themselves, and know that you as their teacher are keeping an eye on them in their practice, is extremely important.

Everyday athletes working remotely

Not only do our healthcare professionals need to keep healthy, but the large percentage of the workforce working remotely need to stay healthy and active too. For over 20 years Hayley has worked with athletes to help improve athletic performance and prevent injury and now we are all facing the challenge of how to perform, maintain our levels of fitness, keep active, positive, mentally fit, emotionally balanced, and focused.

Functional yoga

The type of yoga that Hayley teaches and is recommending for online classes is a form of functional yoga, to support and improve essential movement. For this type of online teaching it’s not about headstands or doing high intensity challenging postures, but offering the basics of yoga to easily support the body's systems.

Evolving online

Yoga is over 5,000 years old and has evolved into many forms. It looks as though its continued evolution will link the mat to the mac and serve many people struggling during these challenging times.

As yoga teachers we can never replace human contact and we never should, but in unprecedented times yoga can continue to unite.

In the true spirit of yoga, Hayley invited the Yoga Alliance and the British Wheel of Yoga to join in the webinar conversations and unite as one voice to help support their members, create a platform of support and continue to provide the highest quality of yoga education.

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