Zoom Yoga – an odd pairing of words that somehow seem a bit contradictory. ‘Zoom’ conjures up images of rushing or speeding off. ‘Yoga’ resonates with most of us as slowing down, taking time to feel and be mindful, aware of the body. Yet 2020 brought a whole new dimension to yoga practices around the world and the phrase ‘Zoom yoga’ is now thrown around as if it’s been here forever.
It was surprising how quickly we adapted to this new style of yoga class and, minus a short couple of months of a return to the studio, it’s now been almost a year of Zoom.
So, you’d think all us yogis would be a dab hand by now. Admittedly, I have become accustomed to not having to leave the house on the cold, wet, snowy nights, mat and bolster in hand. It’s super easy to go upstairs and change into my leggings (if I’ve not been wearing them all day) and trudge the few metres back down to the living room. And if I forget a piece of equipment I just nip back to the cupboard under the stairs (or the bedroom floor) and I’m back to class quicker than you can say ‘Namaste’.
In a time when we’re in another lockdown and limited as to what we can do, it’s nice to still have a routine that breaks up the week. It’s also a familiar comfort to see all the other regular fellow yogis (and their front rooms, kitchens, bedrooms or conservatories) even if it’s only via a screen.
However, as easy as it sounds, yoga from the living room can often be a little less relaxing than you might expect. Especially with a toddler, a dog and a partner in the vicinity. It does take a little longer to get into a mindful head space and bring thoughts back to the body or breath than it would in the studio. Laying on the mat at the beginning of the practice allows a good view under the sofa at a variety of toys, pencils and books that have yet to be retrieved. Soon, thoughts can turn into- ‘When will be the next chance to clean?’ / ‘That’s where the other remote went’/ ‘Someone’s not going to sleep tonight without their cuddly sheep’…and on and on and on.
This was never an issue at the studio. It’s a lovely a calm, relaxing space surrounded by yoga props, incense, chakra pictures, cushions and blankets, where it’s so easy to instantly switch off from life and become immersed in the class. However, Zoom yoga has taught me to be more disciplined with my thoughts and, having to work that little bit harder to not be distracted, is no bad thing. It has also helped build up a home practice as I now recognise a spiritual space outside of class, use candles and even do a little yoga or meditation in a morning. It has meant I’ve become more easily adapted to using yoga, meditation and breathing tools in everyday life. After all, real life isn’t a yoga studio (although I wish it was!).
But, whilst the past year has taught me many things about myself and yoga, the fact still remains that I look forward to the day when we’re all back in the studio. I miss the space, I miss the feeling of escape but most of all I miss having my yoga buddies and teacher on the mats around me. And the lack of batman figures is always a welcome relief!