Welcome to a brand new series of blogs where we invite yogis who use CorkYogis' products to share their insights and experience about life and yoga. The first blog is by our very own Social Media Manager @CorkYogis - Kadri Raig.
Kadri's been with us for almost two years and is probably one of the first people who used the CorkYogis Travel Mat, she's been practicing and teaching on it for over 200 hours by now.
So over to Kadri....
Oh boy, what a year it's been. Well, almost a year of an entirely new world. If somebody had described our current life before March 2020, I would have thought it's a movie script.
I live in Estonia, and the first lockdown here started on March 13th 2020. Why do I still remember the exact date? Well, on the 12th of March I was supposed to go on a holiday to the Caribbean through Miami. The US border with the EU was closed from the 13th too so that I would have still gotten there, and I – a risk-taker- would have gone also, but luckily my partner has a clearer head and ended up not going. Lucky, because within days, everything was closed, and we only would have gotten there to get stressed about getting back home. The year has brought many more cancellations, uncertainty, sitting at home, panic, and other negatives. But has it all been bad? NO!
I have many hats. I teach yoga. I cook and write recipes. "My real job..." is being a freelance marketing consultant and I work with CorkYogis :) As my office job has been from the home office for well over two years already, there are no profound changes – my clients are all over the world anyway, so I am used to remote working. The same with my recipe writing. But, teaching yoga usually requires being in the same room with the students, right? Well, so I thought.
This is where I teach my classes right now:
As I see life, there are two approaches - whining, doing nothing and just letting life happen to you is the first one. The second one is far better, and it is taking control over the things you can do.
For example – the country is in lockdown means that you can't teach classes in person. Instead of whining, think for a second, what can you do? Then do it!
Today we have more options to connect than ever before, and it makes sense to use those! Every teacher knows that getting on the mat for the first time after the holiday is the most challenging step for many students. This step might sometimes take weeks and even months. I wanted to make sure that I will not lose the connection with my students over the initially planned 2-week lockdown (today, of course, we all know that two weeks was a severe understatement) and make sure that they will not have a long break from the practice. I started filming short videos and sharing them with my students, so they would have a chance to practice with me for at least 10 minutes every day. I still remember the first video I did. It feels super weird to talk to the camera. Super SUPER weird. I must have started the same video over again at least ten times. By now, I am used to this.
I had a small Facebook group that I use to inform my students about class schedules etc. This was an excellent platform to share the videos, and to my surprise, people loved them! As the country was in lockdown and all the gyms closed, people were very open to new opportunities to move their bodies in home offices. The group grew very fast, people invited their friends, and many started to share their practice with others. Some commented about the sequence. Others filmed themselves practicing and uploaded those videos. Some asked questions, etc. Positive feedback kept me motivated to keep sharing the videos all through the first lockdown. I did it for free, and the initial plan was only to keep my students on track, so they would be back in classes as soon as it was allowed again. Most of them were, along with many new students who only discovered yoga thanks to the 10- to 20-minute sequences they did with me daily.
As it became clear that the 2-week lockdown is a lot longer than two weeks, I also started doing full-length classes via Zoom. After the lockdown was over, I still kept one live class in my schedule for every week as people were already used to practicing at homes, and I was fairly sure that this was not going to be our last lockdown. I kept it going for the whole summer, even if I only had a few people participating. Now the studio classes are canceled again since December, and this time I am very well prepared. I have created a homepage dedicated to my classes, online schedule, added simple payment options to make it as simple for students to register for the classes as possible. So I am even able to make some money out of the live classes. Do I get rich teaching yoga online? Probably not. I am teaching mostly in Estonian, and less than a million people speak the language. But this has never been the plan anyway. Does it help earn a little extra? Absolutely! I never want teaching yoga to be my only income. I want to enjoy teaching, and thinking about money shifts the focus where I don't want it. But all the exchanges have to be fair, so I never feel bad about asking students to pay for the classes. It is crucial for me as a teacher to feel valued, and in today's world, money helps to measure value. Plus, do you know how much time and money it takes to administer an online yoga business? Let me tell you – it is not cheap, and teaching a 60-minute class requires at least 2 hours in total. I always appreciate every student who decides to practice with me. The world is full of free online classes, and the fact that they chose me means a lot!
Teaching online is also a challenge for me as I am a hands-on teacher. I love physical adjustments, and I feel that often they help better than only words. Teaching through the screen means that often I can't even see my students, and even if I can see them, I still can't give them little physical nudges of support and encouragement. It is a challenge, but at the same time, it helps me to grow. I needed to figure out how to explain all the little details that I always fixed with a simple touch before.
Extra perks of teaching from home? Yes, there are those too!
- You don't need to spend time commuting. More time to do something else!
- Since people see your home from the screen, you need to keep it clean. Some might see this as a negative, but I do enjoy a clean house, but don't really like cleaning, so little extra motivation is highly appreciated :)
- You get a chance to connect with people. During isolation times, a friendly face on the screen makes you feel better!
- Personal growth. Both - speaking in front of the camera, and explaining everything by words instead of my hands has been a challenge, but a good one!