By in Yoga & Pilates

Online Classes – Why They Are Much More Than Just a Substitute

Trying something new can be challenging and a bit scary. Believe me when I say, when all this started I had many virtual meetings and conversations with colleagues about how on earth we can suddenly become tech experts as well as make our work function in the virtual world. We all have felt it, -the insecurities and what-ifs that come with suddenly having to teach movement classes online. 

But it was simple, we either bite the bullet, take risks, engage with technology and make ourselves vulnerable as we figure out how to connect with you and continue to support you, or we stop working, stop offering classes and simply wait until all this is over, even though we all are even more in need of Pilates, Yoga and so on right now.  It is a valid choice though, that every one of us has to make for ourselves. Some of us movement practitioners and therapists have chosen to wait for normality to return and some of us have decided to venture into this new world, to allow it to teach us something, so we can grow and learn from this.

I know that it is similar for you, as clients and participants. I know some of you have decided to sit it out until normality returns.  

However, if you feel that you are on the fence with it, that you would like to continue doing your classes or you would like support with something, be it physical or emotional, there is no need to avoid your computer. Let me share with you what I have learned about working virtually:

A New Quality Of Connection
We may not share the same physical space, but I can feel us connect and share another space. That new space we inhabit together has some absolutely magical potential. We can meet there with very little effort. Neither of us has to leave the house in order to meet and connect. It is so simple. And that comes with a certain quality of connection that is hard to describe but has to be experienced. I was never one for participating along with exercise videos myself. However now, I attend around 5 hours of live-taught movement-based classes myself online. It makes a huge difference to have someone teaching or guiding you live at home.

No More Physical Distance
What I find absolutely exciting about this new way of working too is that physical distance has no meaning in this virtual world. So despite social distancing (it should probably be called physical distancing because socially we very much can still connect) we actually have found a world in which physical distance does not really exist. What do I mean by that? Well, from the moment I started offering classes online I realised that I was able to invite not just people I have met or who have found me here in the Southend area, but also people I used to work with in Scotland. When I moved south a few years ago, it was very sad to leave my clients behind. You can perhaps imagine how liberating it feels to just be able to say to my old clients in Scotland: “Hey I run this weekly class, do you want to join?”  It makes me feel like the world is coming together at this time, that is so much about dividing and separating at the moment.

In one of my classes the other week I was joined by someone who has been attending classes at my Southend studio, as well as a client from Scotland I used to work with years ago, and someone else I had not met before, who is self-isolating in their flat in Brussels. It simply feels amazing to be able to bring us all together so easily, doing Pilates together without even leaving the house. 

Pros And Cons To Everything
The more I am facilitating classes online, the more I get used to the difference between virtual to physical work. Yes, it is different, but with time I am finding there are pros and cons to either and it takes a short period of adjusting to the new, before being able to access the benefits of the new.

Technology Is Unpredictable And None Of Us Really Have A Clue – So What?
Yes, sometimes technology is unpredictable and things go wrong. I have learned that is the case for all of us and we all understand it is not our fault and we solve problems calmly as they come and go. 
I know what it is like to have to start from scratch with technology. We can all relate with each other there and we figure it out and move on.

We Have The Power To Be Invisible
Another thing that technology allows us to do is to be silent or invisible when we want to be. So if you are interested in classes but nervous or worried about what it might be like and how you might be seen, you can join a class with your camera and sound disabled. So you can see me and take part in the class live, without having to worry about being seen and heard. 

Time Has No Meaning
Not everyone offers this, however classes can be recorded, so if you book a class you receive a video recording of the class afterwards. This means that you can keep a video to continue to practice with, or if you miss the class you still can participate later. 

What A Client Told Me
Someone who has been visiting a lot of my classes lately has shared with me, that she feels that with classes being online she finds them more accessible than ever. It is so easy to take part in a class without having to plan in a journey to the studio and back. By joining several classes a week she now feels fitter and healthier both physically and emotionally than before. She described it as a retreat in her own home.

It Is Affordable
Another thing this client mentioned was that even though financially she is worse off than before the crisis she feels classes are financially also more accessible as they tend to be cheaper than conventional classes. I am currently offering group classes via zoom for £7, which is less than my usual rate of £10 and I, as well as some other practitioners, offer donation rates for those in severe financial trouble during this crisis.

If you would like to try out one of Kristin’s classes or if you would like a private online session please contact The Body Matters at 01702 714968.

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