Since qualifying with the 200hr Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) through My Vinyasa Practice in July 2020, with the impact of Covid-19 here in the UK, I have adopted virtual live stream yoga classes in support of the karma hours for the 300hr YTT. I started by building this website with a linked YouTube channel (Crystal Core Yoga) & social media platforms (@crystalcoreyoga) to help promote engagement.
During the last 3 months I have guided karma yoga practice in a few different ways, including:
- Cover teacher in Diana Brook’s (my yoga teacher & inspiration) community yoga studio;
- Monday evening yin yoga through August/Sept;
- Friday lunchtime relax & unwind yoga to my work community & chair yoga to the disability staff network through Sept/Oct;
- Two practices per week (& cover classes) since September on a Wednesday & Sunday as part of the Healthy Home Yoga Team, led by Jennifer Osbourne.
I found teaching the cover classes to be very rewarding with Diana’s studio reaching a wide student base. It was great to connect & flow with so many different individuals early in my teaching experience & provided a platform to establish the technical side of teaching virtually. I designed sequences around the themes for the scheduled classes that included strength & balance focus. For two of the classes I had more than a day’s notice & had time to research, prepare & practice. In these early experiences, I noticed my own high expectations of self in delivery & how frustrated I would get if I didn’t include all I had planned. I have spent some time reflecting on my limiting beliefs around this, which has brought up feelings of ‘not being good enough’ & ‘imposter syndrome’ as a new yoga teacher. I practice self-compassionate forgiveness & continue to do so, if & when it arises, recognizing truth that a ‘divine being in a human experience’.
For one cover class, I had less time ahead of the session & found it more challenging to guide, feeling under prepared. I felt that I over complicated the practice, bringing in more & more complex poses & transitions, losing track of time & pace. I reached a stage when tuning into breath, that I had to slow whole practice down to regain focus. This became one of my greatest lessons, that has really informed my teaching style since: ‘Don’t over complicate things. When starting out with teaching yoga, be kind to yourself too. It is really easy to get lost when teaching & can attempt to bring in more adventurous poses, but maybe slow it down a little. Pace yourself & breathe!” (from personal blog of experience).
Work & Community Classes
I advertised free yin yoga sessions through social media platforms & friends & family who had expressed an interest. Whilst it took time to build engagement, numbers of yogis attending increased gradually & it was heartwarming to see people come back to the classes each week & the lovely feedback shared. One friend commented ‘you were like goldilocks.. just right!’ – which made me smile a lot. I personally adore guiding yin yoga & through all my teaching experience to date, yin yoga stands out as an area of the practice that I would like to explore more. As an individual with managed bipolar, I can relate to the concept of finding your edge, allowing yourself to release more into a pose with time & finding stillness in mind, body & breath & is a practice I hope I can guide others through more.
I work at Cardiff University in South Wales, UK & during the pandemic a top priority is staff & student wellbeing. I started to offer Friday lunchtime yoga to relax & unwind & chair yoga within our disability staff network. Engagement each week has been brilliant. I originally circulated to my local team & invited them to share with whomever maybe interested (capped at 30) & numbers gradually increased with a core group tuning in each week. I had intended to stop at the end of October, but with encouragement from the group & as we enter a second lockdown in Wales, I will be continuing classes through November. I am aiming to do further chair yoga with our disability staff network & prior to first delivery was worried about not being inclusive enough in this practice & spent time considering the language & options/ modifications offered with diverse abilities. Feedback from one member was ‘super appreciative of how attentive you were to everyone’s needs’.
Healthy Home Yoga
Through My Vinyasa Practice, I saw the invitation to join the new initiative that Jennifer Osbourne started in August with Healthy Home Yoga (https://www.healthyhomeyoga.com) to help build this provision, in light of the pandemic & facilitate people’s asana practice in the comfort of their own homes. After sending details through to Jenn & connecting through zoom, I joined the team from the beginning offering nourishing & balancing flows twice a week. I helped to promote sessions, through Instagram & Facebook posts & have linked with the other new teachers virtually, which has been an extremely rewarding experience. As with any new business it has been a slow start & I’ve been very fortunate to have two regular yogis who zoom in to every class & it has been a joy to connect with them across the globe.
I feel very privileged to have been in a position to teach & guide yoga practices virtually & reach so many different people in time & space from a diverse range of backgrounds & abilities during the last few months. It has been an exponential learning experience, both through the material & content provided through My Vinyasa Practice, the virtual environments created through zoom & the continual self-exploration along this path.
Through the journey so far, I have been able to better understand where I feel most able to support others in their asana practice, with a focus on connecting mind, body & breath to relax, unwind & destress. I have identified many of my own limiting beliefs & continue to work through them & understand my triggers with tools to manage. Through understanding my own boundaries & acknowledging limits, I continue to work to have an optimal mindset to safely provide a space for others to practice asana. Eternally grateful for the opportunity that My Vinyasa Practice has provided at a very challenging time & how the knowledge & tools provided continues to help me grow on a daily basis to help share the practice of yoga, always coming back to collective truth ‘divine beings in a human experience’.