By now, you might have ventured out of your cocoon and into a gym or yoga class. If so, hope you’re being careful.
But if you’re not keen on inhaling the exhales of potential coronavirus carriers, that means you’re (still) at home – pining for your personal trainer, a rack of weights or your favorite yoga teacher. Chin up: You’ve got options, even in your living room.
Lots of live-stream classes are now on the internet. The offerings constantly change with the pandemic’s swells, so search for your favorite fitness center or yoga studio to see what they’re up to.
Then use my firsthand legwork to proceed:
Live-stream class benefits
Your day gets structure
If you know you have to do something at a certain time, you’re forced to plan around it, “plan” being the key word. Conversely, a day that’s wide open leaves lots of wiggle room: great for lazy weekends, not so great for getting things done.
You’re held accountable
There are a bazillion videos online. How many have you done? Yeah, me too. The onslaught of options is overwhelming, and it’s easy to continually put off doing random YouTube recordings – they’re always there, right, so no rush?
But when you’ve penned in a live noon session every Wednesday, and the teacher is going to be there too, saying hi to you, there’s pressure to show up.
We all have our go-to teachers, the ones who helped us get in shape and who say what we need to hear. If you take up your coach’s offer for live-stream connection, your body will thank you – and your mental state will improve.
You’re spoiled for choice
My yoga gurus live far, far away. With live-stream, I can join their sessions despite the miles, which is kind of amazing. I’ve done this twice, and both times it brought tears to my eyes. Try it; you’ll see.
You can control your climate and surroundings
Gym too cold? Love power yoga’s intensity, but not the studio’s crushing heat? Feel self-conscious working out around others? Now is your golden era if you can create your ideal setting at home.
You can dress in your underwear (or be naked, frankly)
Underwear won’t do if the instructor needs to see you, obviously. Otherwise, feel free to work out in skivvies, with an unwashed face and morning breath. Liberating. Again: Try it; you’ll see.
(How to quash) Live-stream class drawbacks
Okay, you can’t entirely eliminate cons, but you can ease them. I teach a live-stream yoga class, and like anyone willing to wince at themselves in the name of improvement, I recorded several sessions, and then watched them to get a sense for what my students experienced. What I learned, combined with taking live-stream classes, informs these two tips:
Hone your auditory skills
When you’re physically in a group class, your peripheral vision gives you feedback on movement, helping you follow instructions. Not so, via a screen. Instead, you have two options: constantly look at the screen, which is tiring, or – better – tether yourself to the instructor’s verbal cues.
Use a wireless headset
You don’t have control over the instructor’s microphone, but you do have control over your speakers and space. Best bet is a wireless headset and a quiet room.
Taking class via recorded video instead of live-stream
Video classes have been online for ages, and there are a ridiculous number of them, as I mentioned.
Unless you know the instructor, beware. The very first (free) recording I pulled up to write this piece came from the library of a big national yoga chain. It asked viewers to balance on their heads – not as a way to get into headstand, but as prep work for other postures. Yikes (and sheesh!). If executed improperly or without enough strength, trying to balance on your head can be incredibly dangerous. So if you’re not 100 percent confident in a complicated ask, don’t perform what’s being suggested.
Actually do the recording
First, commit to doing a certain video at a certain time, much as you would show up for a live session. Second, do a video you must buy. We value things more when we pay for them. If you cough up cash for a recording, you’ll actually do it instead of telling yourself you’ll pull up one of those million free vids some other day, which we know probably won’t happen.
Mitra Malek live-streams yoga once a week for house-bound folks.