The Reluctant Home Yoga Practitioner and the Perils of Live Streaming

“One of the most important keys to success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like doing it.” — Unknown

“If anything can go wrong, it will.” — Murphy’s Law

I’m a little embarrassed to say that I don’t have a home yoga practice. Other than handstands and abs, I don’t practice yoga at home. I started to backtrack and say “hardly ever,” but really, it’s never. Oh, I’ve gone through brief spells where I decide, “I’m going to start every day with a Sun Salutation,” or “I’m going to start watching more yoga videos and practicing with them,” but despite my best intentions, it never lasts more than a few days. For one thing, I’m a hot yoga snob, i.e., I don’t like doing cold yoga. Maybe it’s because my yoga beginnings were in a hot studio, or maybe it’s because I’m so used to the heat that I feel like I’m missing out when I’m not practicing in a hot room, but I really don’t enjoy “cold” yoga. (Maybe I just need to learn to get out of my head and remember that I’m practicing yoga and that it’s so beneficial to me — whether it’s hot or not — and quit being a big baby about not having heat.)

Besides missing the heat, I also miss practicing in a studio with other people — which probably also explains why I’ve never been successful working out in a gym. Not only do I not enjoy using equipment and weights, I’m not disciplined enough to complete an actual workout on my own, and wind up calling it a day after a few half-hearted reps. For me, part of the joy of practicing yoga is doing it with others. There’s something about being in a room with other people, practicing together, holding poses, with an instructor leading us, encouraging us, and, sometimes, correcting us, that keeps me motivated — and keeps me coming back for more. And while you’re not talking during yoga or making physical contact with one another, you’re still doing it with others, and forming a community of sorts. It’s that community that makes yoga so wonderful.

That being said, when the yoga studio temporarily closed due to the coronavirus/stay-at-home orders, and we decided to stream practices from our homes, I immediately signed up to lead at least a couple classes a week. Mostly because I knew that if I didn’t teach a class, I would never do a class. And right now, while I’m so out of my normal routine, I desperately need to stick to a regimen of doing yoga.

This volunteer effort, though,  brought a whole new set of problems. First, I had to come up with a suitable place in my house for shooting video and practicing yoga. Since I didn’t practice at home, I didn’t have a place set up to home practice. And not only do you need an open area void of furniture and other obstructions, you also need to have a wide enough view that not only lets viewers see both standing and floor poses, but also has good lighting and is conducive to good sound. Easier said than done, but I finally decided on an upstairs bedroom.

Let me just say here that I am not, in any sense of the word (or words), techno-savvy and my live-stream videos have been riddled with problems. My first one (which was actually from the studio — but by myself), I had the heat on too high and not only did my iPhone overheat, but also the studio iPad, meaning I had to stop and start over — twice. The next one at my house was better, but too dark. I thought the last one was great — better lighting, fairly smooth sequence — until I looked at the video afterward and it was sideways! (See screenshot below.)

Even though the yoga students who’ve watched my videos are probably hoping beyond hope that I’ll stop live-streaming and let those more proficient with technology lead future yoga classes, I have a few reasons for refusing to give up. 1. We’re switching to Zoom for our classes, which I’m hoping will help eliminate some of the technology problems. 2. I don’t want to be that 50-something-year-old who can’t seem to master a simple live-stream and throws up her hands in despair with the words, “I’m too old to get this!” 3. I love teaching yoga and I want to keep doing it. And dare I say it, I’m even starting to enjoy my home practice.

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