Meet Sam, one of our teachers at Yoga District! Learn how yoga has helped her find more self-compassion, why she enjoys teaching Yoga online, and how she connects with her students both in-studio and online.
Yoga has changed my relationship most with myself. In a society that is always asking me to judge and change things about myself, yoga has made me feel more at home in my body.
Dealing with chronic anxiety disorder, yoga is an integral part of my wellness practice as it strengthens my mind-body connection. Now before approaching or addressing a problem, I always try to assess how I’m feeling and my state of being. As a teacher, whatever I’m going through shows up in my class. So before one begins, I’ve found it especially important to reflect on how I’m feeling internally.
It took me years to finally start a yoga practice. I did not see myself reflected in the community. I did not often see yogis who looked like me or my friends. I think this has changed a lot in recent years. I am really grateful to teach in a space like Yoga District that is more reflective of the diversity in my life.
Teaching Yoga Online: Making Yoga Accessible
Online yoga reduces a lot of barriers such as:
- finding transportation to a studio
- not having the time to get to an in-person class
- feeling uncomfortable taking an in-person class (whether due to COVID or other personal reasons).
Even with the occasional technology challenge, I’m happy we are able to provide yoga both in-person and online to meet the needs of a variety of students.
My favorite style to teach online is slow flow (1). I think it helps to foster a relaxing space in your own home. This is incredibly important in our current climate since so many of us are spending an increased amount of time at home. I also think that it is a very approachable style to yoga for both beginners and experienced yogis. The flow is usually amenable for students to follow along verbally. I find it to be a big bonus as I know that sometimes watching on a small computer screen can be a challenge.
Supporting Students during Online Classes
I attempt to create a warm and safe environment for students to practice online. I make sure to greet students individually and welcome them to class as they join. Before class begins, I always make sure to do a soundcheck to verify everything is good. If an issue occurs during class, I also invite online students to use the Zoom chat function or turn on their mics. At the start of class, I let all of the students know how many people are joining in-person and online. Finally, at the end of class I try to say goodbye to everyone who has joined.
In an online class I think it’s important to present lots of options for poses. It is hard to assess students in a virtual space, especially if students keep their cameras off. I find it’s best to offer options for both beginners and experienced yogis. Additionally, it is important to take into consideration how active or tired someone may be feeling that day. I also think props are amazing and encourage everyone to use them. There are so many things you can use at home in place of “proper” yoga props to enhance your practice or find more ease in a pose (2).
Teaching Yoga: Empowering Students
There are so many different styles of yoga. Each individual teacher will have their own unique style and perspective that they bring to a class. If you try one class and it wasn’t for you, don’t be hesitant to sign up for a completely different class – you might find that it fits!
In my classes, I like to have students stay in tadasana for a few breaths as our first standing pose (3). It’s an incredibly powerful feeling to stand with your feet firmly planted on the ground, your shoulders rolled back, and your chest puffed out focusing on your breathing. When we come into our first tadasana, I don’t instruct students to close their eyes. Yet, I notice in most classes, every single student has closed their eyes. I love to see everyone automatically shift to an internal reflection.
Check out Sam’s current class offerings and sign up here!
- Tuesday, 7:15 PM: Slow Flow @ 14th St Studio and online
- Saturday, 1:30 PM: Flow 1-2 @ Bloomingdale and online
- What is slow flow vinyasa yoga?, https://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/2013/09/28/what-is-slow-flow-vinyasa-yoga/
- No Blocks, No Bolsters, No Problem, https://yogainternational.com/article/view/no-blocks-no-bolsters-no-problem-home-practice-hacks-for-propless-yogis/
- Tadasana, https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/5897/tadasana