Virtual Private Yoga
What is it and how does it work?
So much of our day-to-day life is now online. People work from home, have online conference calls, offer coaching through video chats, market to customers online, are connected through social media, take online courses and trainings, etc…you name it, and it is probably being done online.
Yoga can include a physical practice, how does that work online?
Virtual private yoga is done similarly to how it’s done in person 1-on-1, only it’s through video conferencing, like Zoom, with the instructor and student both set up with audio and video so that the instructor can see what the student is doing and the student can simultaneously be guided verbally by the instructor.
If something is unclear, the instructor has the chance to demo the pose in addition to giving verbal cues.
Why Would Someone Choose Virtual Private Yoga Instead of In-Person?
I find with my students that a lot of my online classes involve a mix of vinyasa flow with more of a workshop style teaching, spending a lot of time breaking down specific postures and practicing pranayama (breathwork) and meditation. Practicing yoga virtually can be a less intimidating way of accessing the very specific, detailed information that a student is seeking to know about yoga.
A virtual private yoga practice could also be ideal for someone newer to yoga who may be introverted but still wants to start practicing or at least get familiar with the basics before attending a group class or scheduling a lesson in-person.
Virtual yoga is also great for people who know a specific instructor, who’s teaching and personality resonates for them but doesn’t live nearby.
It can also be supportive to have the same teacher with which to practice things like meditation online, because they get to know you and have a sense of your specific needs and preferences within your practice. What you practice can be personalized as you evolve over time and no matter where either of you are living.
In addition, if someone does travel a lot, practicing virtually can be a super convenient way of getting their practice in even when on the road. Working in an ongoing way with an instructor helps the instructor get a stronger sense of what the student might need over time- maybe it’s simple breathing techniques for anxiety when flying, or meditation techniques for decompressing when they’ve finally arrived at their destination, or specific hip openers and hamstring stretches after having sat on a train for awhile. Whatever they’re needing, the instructor can meet them there and design a practice that will serve them in a personalized way.
What About Adjustments?
While hands-on adjustments are not a possibility with virtual private, the instructor is still able to see and give specific detailed cues to the student to help provide greater alignment in the poses.
But, while hands-on adjustments can feel great and help us deepen or align better into a pose, just having verbal cues can actually help redirect the students’ attention onto their body- enhancing their proprioception. That way, they aren’t as reliant on the instructor moving their body for them to improve the position, but rather sensing their body in space and easing into the posture with fuller awareness. They are also then able to write down or remember the cues given to them, becoming useful tools they can continue to come back to, to help refine their yoga practice when practicing on their own.
One of the things I remember specifically enjoying and being fascinated by when I first started practicing yoga through video was the translation from the teachers instruction-to my mental understanding-and then to my movements and sensations. It was such a cool experience to be alone but have the teacher know and understand my body and then use their words to guide me into different shapes. There is value there, in becoming more aware of your body and moving into postures that meet you at a sustainable edge that you decide on.
Overall, this is not to say that group classes and in-person private yoga sessions are not incredibly useful and nourishing ways to practice yoga. It’s just adding another tool into the options of ways we can help our yoga practice serve us in the ways we need and want it to.
Natalie Mazur is a bilingual (English/Spanish) Yoga Instructor based in San Diego, California. She teaches private clients in their homes, virtually, and offers weekly group classes. Natalie has eleven years of study and teaching experience combined, and has taught in the U.S. and internationally.
To book Natalie for a private yoga session, or to learn more, email her at:
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