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Yoga Instruction Amidst COVID-19

As I reflect on the trying times that we are in right now in the world, I’m reminded of the first statement in the yoga sutras:

“Atha yoganushasanam.” Now, begins the study of yoga. 

There is a lot of fear, uncertainty, and stress that we are being subjected to as the human due to the circumstances surrounding the recent outbreak of COVID-19 (the Coronavirus disease). The challenge of dealing with adjusted work schedules and environments, quarantines, financial changes, and new family and social patterns/routines has made one thing very clear: the world needs a lot more yoga right now. 

The word yoga is derived from its Sanskrit root “yuj” meaning “to join,” or “to unite.” At its very origins- yoga suggest bringing us together through the practice of this beautiful philosophy. 

An interview between Emily Esfahani Smith and esteemed social psychologist and neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman illustrates our brains need be social well in this statement:

Whenever it has a free moment, the human brain has an automatic reflex to go social. Why would the brain, which forms only 2 percent of our body weight but consumes 20 percent of its energy, use its limited resources on social thinking, rather than conserving its energy by relaxing?

Evolution has made a bet, Lieberman tells me, that the best thing for our brain to do in any spare moment is to get ready for what comes next in social terms.

(Research by Emily Esfahani Smith and Matthew Lieberman, 2013, The Atlantic)

In a time of suggested and in some cases, required “social distancing” how can we, as yoga instructors, continue to support our communities through our example, teaching yoga, and offering guidance to a world that so desperately needs it?


Teaching Online and Live Streaming


Many studios and individuals have temporarily switched to live streaming of classes. This is a great way to keep up with your students from the comfort of your own home or studio space.

If your studio/company has offered you this opportunity in their own studio space:

  • Make sure the space if clean and de-cluttered.
  • Ensure a good streaming Internet connection to avoid class disruption.
  • Have a helper if appropriate.
  • Secure a device to capture your class on. Most cellular phones with video capability work perfectly fine with a small tripod.
  • Ensure that you are covered under their liability insurance, or your own policy.

If your studio/company has not offered you this opportunity:

Set up your own live stream

  • Consider your students and whom you’d like to target your instruction.
  • Decide if this will be a donation of your time, or how you will collect pay whether donated or pre-set. There are many great platforms for collecting class fees virtually.
  • Figure out your live streaming platform. Currently, some great options are: Facebook live, Zoom, Instagram live, YouTube live, Vimeo, and Periscope.
  • Ensure that you are covered under your own yoga liability insurance policy.
  • Avoid distraction. Make sure your roommates/family/pets can stay out of the stream…unless they are part of your class!

Also, beYogi is pleased to inform you that our coverage includes online live streaming. This is a great way to continue teaching while adhering to social distancing protocols.  If you need coverage for live streaming, here's a $20 discount.


If your studio or space has no been closed due to recent events, below are a few important tips to remember in order to keep yourself and your students safe.


A note from beYogi:

We recommend following CDC guidelines and government recommendations. Some of the below are recommendations for in-person yoga instruction. As many, if not most, studios and gyms are closed, this information may be most useful once it is safe to return to normal activities as advised by the CDC. 


Guidelines if you are teaching a public class


  • Stay committed to your own practice to make sure you are able to teach from a grounded an clear place.
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, or an alcohol-based hand rub to kill viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain "social distancing” (6 feet minimum between you and other individuals) during all your time at the studio - including shared desk shifts with instructors and employees, and time before and after class with students. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Teaching clients privately


Many students feel more comfortable from their own homes and living spaces. This can be a great way to continue to teach and to help you keep up with your budget and finances. Consider advertising online via social media or other self- marketing sites to acquire clients.

Benefits:

  • You set your rate
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Customization

Challenges:

  • Sanitization of props/mats.  (Avoid this by teaching online)
  • Safety (always meet your clients first in a public space if they are unknown for your own safety)
  • Space (if not teaching in your own space, be familiar with special limitations or designs of your clients living environment)
  • Insurance: while some studios may cover your teaching under their yoga liability insurance while at their studio, make sure when teaching private clients that you are insured under your own separate policy so you are protected.

In Conclusion


In conclusion, avoid letting fear limit you, and find safe ways to spread your light. Not only does fear restrict your brain and bodies ability to function well, but it can drastically lower your immune systems functionality.

Go forward with love, and take care of each other.

“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.”
- William Allen White

Shine bright, Namaste.

Health references:

  • The world Health Organization: https://www.who.int
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov

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