Yoga Culture

Zoom Yoga

By Charlotte Bell

Maintaining community in quarantine

These times of quarantine are challenging us all, one way or another. My yoga studio, Mindful Yoga Collective, has been closed since mid-March, and I’m not sure when we’ll feel safe to open again.

Enter Zoom yoga classes. I’m no tech expert, but fortunately, Zoom is pretty luddite-friendly. As with everything, there are upsides and downsides to teaching remotely. Overall, online classes have provided a great opportunity to stay in touch with my yoga community.

First, the challenges

  • Teaching to a screen: Teaching yoga while looking at a computer screen is a bit strange. I miss the spontaneity of practicing in a shared space.
  • Not seeing students: This is the biggest challenge. When you can’t scan a real-life room and see what students are doing, you can’t help them adjust their poses to avoid misalignment or injury. Fortunately, my students have been practicing long enough that I trust their body awareness.
  • Lack of props: I don’t know what props students have in their homes. While most of my students own their own props, some don’t. So I plan classes around props that people are likely to have or can improvise with throw pillows and blankets.

The advantages:

  • Consistency: Yoga practice benefits from consistency. Offering online classes at my regular teaching times has given us all the opportunity to stay the course. At a time when our normal lives have been upended, practicing on our regular schedule has provided grounding for my students and me.
  • Community: While it’s not the same as sharing physical space, seeing each other on screen gives us an opportunity to maintain our connections.
  • Accessibility: Some of my students travel 10 to 20 miles to come to classes. Practicing at home eliminates travel time and traffic stress. I’ve also invited my sisters and a few friends from out of state to my online classes. Former longtime students who have moved away have been attending. It’s been lovely to reconnect.
  • Happiness for homebodies: Some students have told me that they like practicing by themselves in the comfort of their own homes. While I strive to make my classes a non-competitive experience, many people still feel pressure to “perform” when they’re in a group. Zoom classes eliminate this pressure.
  • Yoga in your PJs: My classes are not known for their adherence to high yoga fashion. But it’s a fact that going out and being among people makes you think a bit more about what you’re wearing. Practicing at home frees you to practice in your jammies.
  • Animal companions: My cats regularly attend my Zoom classes, and I often see other people’s four-legged friends walking past their screens. It’s fun for people to introduce fellow students to their animal friends.


All in all, I’m grateful to live in a time when teaching classes remotely is an option. While I miss seeing my students in person, connecting through Zoom is a worthy alternative.  u

Charlotte Bell has been practicing yoga since 1982. She is the author of several yoga-related books (most recently, Hip Healthy Asana) and founder of Mindful Yoga Collective in SLC.

This article was originally published on May 2, 2020.