10 Tips for Enhancing your Livestream Yoga Classes
Livestream yoga classes are here to stay. Many people have commented on the luxury of logging into class 5 minutes before it starts. There is the same luxury of already being home when the class is over. No travel time is a huge benefit.
However, there are some flaws to practicing from home. After almost a year, I have found a work around to almost all everything in a livestream yoga class to create a close to studio experience.
1 – Play Your Own Music
All yoga studios play music during class. Some teachers pick upbeat pop music, others mellow background music. The good news is, you get to pick your own music at home. Zoom isn’t great for providing music during class so it is rare a teacher will do it. Everyone is muted during class, so your music will not bother anyone else. Personally, I find music helps me get into a “yoga zone.” I am able to let go of the house around me and sink into my practice.
2 – Invest in Yoga Props, Or Make Sure You Have Decent Substitutions.
At a studio, there were plenty of blocks, blankets, straps and bolsters to enhance your practice. At home, you need to improvise a bit. Blankets aren’t an issue. It’s all the other stuff you need to either purchase or find a viable substitution.
Yoga Blocks – This is a must have in my book. Blocks are used in so many ways during a practice. They are there to make the connection to the floor when your body can’t quite make it. They are great for sitting on if you have tight hips or tender knees. And they are often placed between the knees for various poses such as chair and supine ab crunches. You can substitute all the other props with items from your home. Blocks, however…I have yet to find a good substitute for yoga blocks. Honestly, it is best if you purchase them. In my opinion, having two yoga blocks of the same size are a game changer for your practice. The good news is, they are inexpensive. A couple of blocks run around $20. Try to get two firm blocks. The softer ones aren’t good for standing on. The cork ones are good, but they are heavy, so keep that in mind.
Bolster – If you have the money, investing in a proper bolster is a really yummy treat. Bolsters are used for sitting on, for supporting your knees in svasana to take pressure off your back, and to lie on in chest openers. They are very heavily used in restorative and yin classes. A bolster can run anywhere from $40 – $80. It isn’t necessary. Pillows make a nice substitute. Having a proper bolster just adds a bit more of the “in studio” feel.
Yoga Strap – A proper strap is nice as well, costing around $10. However, a long pillow case, towel or tie can do the job just fine. Straps are used to make the connections you can’t quite make yourself like touching your toes or trying to interlace your hands behind your back.
Yoga Mat – As for a yoga mat, you don’t need one if you practice on a carpeted area. It is nice to have one, though. When you roll out your mat, you know you are in for an hour of self-care. A basic yoga mat runs around $20. Higher end yoga mats run around $80, but aren’t necessary for a home practice.
Eye Pillow – Another must have. A proper eye pillow will cost between $15 – $25. However, this is easily substituted with a rolled up or folded washcloth or hand towel. Placing an eye pillow over your eyes in svasana helps your brain go deeper into relaxation. It is really a lovely thing to have.
3 – Get all your props and music ready before class.
Before class starts, make sure you have all your tools at the ready. It’s annoying to have to jump up in the middle of class to grab a prop from another room or a closet. Having everything within arms length helps keep you in the zone.
4 – Have a dedicated practice area (if possible.)
Find a place in your house dedicated to practicing yoga. The best possible place is a room with a door you can close for peace and quiet. I know not everyone has that luxury. If you can, have a space where you can leave your props and yoga mat at the ready. That way there is less preparing and less to think about when it comes time to practice.
5 – Have a mirror.
I bought one of those cheap full-length mirrors at a garage sale. New they run around $50. I did see some for cheaper on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Having a mirror allows you to fine tune your poses. When I got my mirror, I noticed my hips were crooked and that my arms weren’t straight. It isn’t necessary, but it is nice to have for pose alignment.
6 – Sign up for your classes in advance for the whole week.
I find if I register all my classes for the week ahead, I am more likely to keep the commitment. Take the time to look over the whole week and sign up for classes ahead of time. Your practice will thank you.
7 – Know you don’t have to stay logged on for svasana.
If you want to have a nice, long, yummy svasana, you don’t have to stay on the livestream class. When the instructor guides the class into svasana, simply leave the livestream and then get comfy in your svasana. It is your practice, and the instructor is there for you. If it feels rude to just leave, you can quickly chat them a message thanking them for class.
8 – You are under no obligation to stick around and chat with the instructors and other participants.
If you don’t want to stick around and chat, simply wave good bye and click off. You don’t even have to unmute. Seriously. It is no different than, at a brick and mortar studio, rolling up your mat and taking off with a quick wave to the instructor. We all understand you have the rest of your day to get back. There is nothing rude about a quick wave and leaving the livestream.
9 – Unsure about a pose? Ask the instructor questions before or after class.
Instructors hang out before and after class, in studio or livesteam, to be there if students have questions. Just because it is online doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions. And, if in the middle of class you want an instructor to demonstrate something again, quickly unmute and ask the instructor. There is likely someone else with the same request who was afraid to ask.
10 – Ask for a Private Session.
It is a lot harder for teachers to observe everyone while teaching online. If you aren’t sure about the alignment of some of your postures, ask your instructor for a private session. Most instructors provide online private session where you can have one on one instruction and the instructor can help you fine tune your poses.
There you have it! 10 ways to enhance your livestream yoga experience. And remember, there is more than just flow yoga out there. There is restorative, hot, yin, meditation, yoga with weights…the possibilities are endless. It’s just you in the room practicing. Why not experiment with some other versions of yoga?
Do you have any tips for enhancing your online yoga experience? What do you do to help you stay in the yoga zone while on your mat at home?