As I write this we are exactly one month away from a whole year of Zoom Yoga. The first Zoom class was a hastily organised Friday morning on March 20th 2020. I’d gone for a run along the River Otter on the Thursday morning, giving myself time to contemplate the unknown of where my little business was going. I’d already decided I needed to close my sports massage shed, and my corporate clients had, quite rightly, decided I couldn’t go in to the offices to teach. Everything looked a bit……well……rubbish really!

If you would have told me that by February 2021 I would have an amazing community of yogis (and yes you are a yogi if you come to my classes!) from all over the country, following my sequences  through a computer, iPad or phone, seven times a week I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have believe you! It’s pretty bonkers! Sadly Zoom yoga doesn’t appeal to everyone and that’s ok. But I’ve met and connected with so many new people through Zoom yoga!

Two of my yogi’s sent me an article by another Zoom yoga teacher, which was just great, and which has inspired me to write this. The article is called Close-ups, cats and clutter: what the yoga teacher saw if you want to check it out. I’ve definitely seen the first two; close-up and cats. No clutter though. You are clearly a neat and tidy bunch, either that or you are very clever at angling the camera! So here’s what I see!

The pets

The yoga dogs, Maisie and Winnie make regular appearances on screen, as does Ruby, the red setter. I know Ellie sits outside her owners room, just crying until yoga is over! The cats are the less controlled of the animals I see on screen, clawing their owners as they lie in Savasana, getting cosy on their yogi owners belly, or just wanting to be noticed. One cat just walked up and down, past the screen, on its very own cat walk! Occasionally peering into the camera I think it was eye-balling me. Actually so many of you have cats!

My neighbours cat even made an appearance one Wednesday morning, climbing in through my open kitchen window (that’s the room beyond the screen!). I’m not sure who was most frightened the cat or me. There was a slight interruption to the class, as I shrieked at the cat and chased it out the house! But I quickly regained my composure, and professionally (!) continued the class.

The partners

Then there’s the partners. I love that there are couples practising yoga together. They seem harmonious in their joint practice but then they are on mute so I don’t really know! Is there a competitiveness between them? Of course not ‘there is no competition in yoga” I’ve told you many times! “It’s just you on your mat with your breath, your body, your mind and movement”.

Sometimes the partners walk through the room stepping over their other half, or they appear in the background as I peer into their rooms. I sort of feel I need to wave, as I invade their homes; sometimes I do! One partner sometimes just launches a stuffed toy badger in the direction of his yogi wife, sometimes the badger just appears randomly on screen!

The familiars

I think I could now pretty much recognise each persons ‘yoga studio’, if you removed the attendees name from the screen, I think I’d know whose, lounge, kitchen, bedroom or garage was on screen! I always notice when there is a change to the room layout or even a change of rooms! Not much goes unnoticed!

I love the conversations that go on. People who have never met in the flesh, having chats and banter like friends would! Sometimes I have to step in to control the rowdiness but I do love that feel of comfortable familiarity. I feel that the zoom classes have created a little community, at a distance through a screen, but a little community nonetheless. Sometimes it’s a place to say hello to those that you do know, maybe the only time you’ve seen them.

The yogis

The yogis, the ones that make this possible. You ARE all fabulous for showing up on your mat to my classes. Some of you were completely new to yoga, some of you my brave sports massage clients giving it a go and sticking with it, some of you who I’ve only met through Zoom, and some of you who used to practice with me the old fashioned way; in a studio, village hall or meeting room! From Devon, to Yorkshire, to Suffolk to the dizzy heights of Guernsey and Dubai we’ve reached far and wide. Yes you can tell your friends that your yoga teacher is an international teacher (thanks to one of my oldest friend who now lives in the UAE!) In the old days I regularly had between 5 and 8 people coming to class. Now I regularly see between 8 and 16. The other day we had 27! It’s amazing to be able to reach so many people!

How far we’ve come

So from the first class I zoomed, the lighting is finally better. I have a new and clearer camera. Gone is the sheet that acted as an awful back drop and that has left loads of pin holes in my kitchen wall, and in its place a wicker screen. My internet doesn’t freeze and leave you in tree pose. My left and right will continue to confuse you and I. I will still occasionally forget how to mute you, but hopefully I won’t accidentally end the call! I’m grateful that you come along, put up with my unfunny jokes and keep showing up. Many of you have said how much you’ve enjoyed the yoga and how important it has been over the last 11 months. To me the yoga has been an absolute godsend. It’s kept me focused, sane, and earning, giving me a purpose to my lockdown days. At the end of each class I ask you to practise gratitude and bring to mind something you are grateful for that day. I am always grateful for you FABULOUS people showing up on your mat to let me lead you in your yoga practice.

Thank you and see you on the mat soon 🙏🏻💙