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  • Alessandra Large

Struggling with Zoom Gloom or Still Slaying it in Your Living Room?

Hands up, I fall on BOTH SIDES of the above. I love the cosiness and accessibility of Zoom yoga, but I am also chomping at the bit to get back into IRL group classes. Of course, like many of us, I crave connection. But, I also so look forward to seeing students from all angles, for students to see me from head to toe, and, as much as I love my home, a bit more variety wouldn’t go amiss. How dreamy to practice for 60 to 90 minutes somewhere where nobody needs to walk in on me/across my mat, nobody can ring my doorbell, where I can’t see any mess in my living room, and where it just isn’t acceptable to still be drinking my coffee at the beginning of the class.

For now, however, I mainly stick to 30 to 45 minute online videos or about 30 minutes of self-led practice every morning. As far as zoom is concerned, recently, I have been attending one 75 min class only once every 2 weeks, with my favourite UK teacher (to put that in context, during the first wave I practiced with her twice a week, every week that I could). Honestly, I still LOVE the classes I attend and am SO grateful to have donation-based access to such a great teacher.

Regardless of this, I find myself more and more wanting to get out of my house to go walking, running (read: jogging) outside, skating (which is going better since I realised that the reason it was such hard work and I kept coming to a standstill even when going down a hill was because my wheels were so dry that they had stones wedged in them #agoodworkpersonalwaysblamestheirtools) or even little workouts on the balcony or in the park. I don't know how much of this is from Zoom fatigue or just because of the time of the year!

The thing is, I count all of my intentional movement and mindfulness practices as yoga to be honest. If I was reading emails during a run, not so much, but if I was paying attention to my footfall, the smells around me, my breathing, my mental chatter, then for me, that counts. If the activity brings me physical and mental balance, that counts. A gentle reminder here that yoga is a holistic practice. This includes your thoughts, your words, your actions. It is not just about the dorsi-flexion of your ankles (a large part of whether you can get yours heels on the floor in downward facing dog).

Yes, I know so many teachers are relying on Zoom yoga classes for income. So I am NOT advocating or encouraging you to quit your online classes before the yoga studios and gyms etc reopen (which, fingers crossed, may be only a week away in the Netherlands). Many teachers have (smartly) adjusted their schedules according to the change in seasons and demand. However, I have to say, if Zoom classes are just not doing it for you anymore, don’t feel guilty about that. I had two dedicated attendees recently stop joining my classes and their reason for their dwindling attendance was (they are a couple BTW) “we have to choose between morning yoga on zoom or a walk outside with our mugs of tea” (#cutecouplegoals). Now that it is Spring and they have been joining pretty much 3 times a week for a year, my answer was immediately, “please stop coming to my zoom classes (unless you really feel like it) and just enjoy some goddamn vitamin D, guilt-free”.

On the flipside of the coin (I know, sorry, nothing is that simple).

So much about yoga is about consistency. A consistent and dedicated practice is the only way to feel the benefits. If you are looking for more peace of mind and a stable body, find what works for you to achieve this. So that means that if you know that regular meet-ups with your yoga mat is what works for you. Don’t neglect it. Challenge yourself to stick with it. Even if it is for shorter periods until the gyms reopen or due to time constraints. Here are FOUR TIPS TO HELP YOU STICK WITH YOUR MAT PRACTICE both until the gyms reopen and maybe to even continue a home practice afterwards!

  1. MIX.IT.UP. If you can no longer stand the sight of your living room. If the weather permits and your lifestyle/responsibilities allow, try going outside. If the Corona guidelines permit and it is truly safe to do so, try going to practice at a friend’s house. You can also try another teacher’s zoom classes for a bit of variety or use the wealth of free classes online or, my personal favourites - or

  2. Give yourself a break. If you spent 10 minutes on your mat with full attention, that might even serve you better than 90 minutes of half in-half out.

  3. Make everything you do yoga! Walk mindfully, move with intention, be kind, practice non-violence, non-stealing. There is so much more to yoga than just mat-based practice. I can always recommend Andrea Ferretti & Jason Crandell’s podcast if you want to begin or to continue to learn more in a clear and manageable way.

  4. Make your practice a priority, but try not to get too attached. If you missed a day, or week or a month or a year, start again now and if you prefer to practice in the morning, set an alarm for tomorrow. I am aware that we all have different timetables, responsibilities, and yes privileges, so, work out what your life allows time for.

A moment of gratitude…

A quick shout out to those who have stuck with my headless/legless/perpetually shabby camera angles since April 2020, are ANGELS (or are the camera angels, angles?) and deserve a medal. Thank you for sticking with me! Zoom has been a lifesaver for me personally! I am forever grateful for your support.

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