Noticing breath during your online yoga practice
So, I've been teaching online yoga classes for the whole of lockdown on Zoom. I put everyone on mute so my students aren't distracted by noises from the others. I learnt that this was important when my friend's 21 year old son decided to pop into the room to inform her what he'd been up to the night before! Not something that should be shared when you're trying to relax your mind!
Everyone is happy being on mute, listening only to my voice and following my instructions. I can see everyone clearly, I can watch how they move into the asanas and I come up close to my iPad to give specific guidance and feedback. I provide instructions about connecting the breath to the movement by counting inhales and exhales together, and I presume that everyone is doing this. How wrong I was!
Last Saturday morning, I signed into the class and found there was one student waiting, my dear mam. So I left the microphone on and we started the class. She has never done yoga before, certainly not before lockdown, and has found it really enjoyable, as it makes a difference to her energy levels and general feelings of well-being. As we began the sun salutations, I noticed that some of her postures needed further guidance so we slowed it right down. "Mam," I said, "Hold that downward dog now, lift up your hips and try and take your heels closer to the mat." I saw her do this, and I said, "Now use your breath to count inhale and exhale for five breaths." I waited. "Now bring your knees to the mat..." and I heard a huge sigh and exhale as she did so.
"Mam, were you holding your breath?"
"Yes, I do that when I'm concentrating."
"Ok, well let's work on that! You could pass out!"
I never would have realised. Yoga is challenging for anyone not used to it, not just in the physical sense but in the connection of the breath to the postures. Breathing is so important during yoga as it helps release the tension from the body and also the mind. Just imagine how much more she will be noticing her energy levels now she is aware of the relationship she needs to build with her breath.