Yoga online: strengths and weaknesses
03 AUG

Why is it important?
We have gotten so used to using “Google” and “YouTube” for any question or desired skill. Should we also do that if we wish to learn yoga? In this blog, I would like to consider learning yoga online from scratch, and not the performance of sequences learned from a teacher in “life” class.

Vehicles to carry knowledge

It does not matter what you wish to learn –the right means to get such knowledge are essential. Let’s begin with a general understanding, a list of 3 possible vehicles to spread knowledge:

  1. Books – I use this word for any written sources of knowledge such as articles, transcribed lectures, academic papers, blogs and so on
  2. Teachers – this category includes the passage of knowledge from mentors, couches, professors, and experienced individuals to less experienced people
  3. Online teachings – this category is a relatively new one, however, it spreads almost at the speed of light. It is similar to teachers, although it has some essential differences, such as a lack of student-teacher interaction and generalized explanations instead of personalized advice.

So, can we consider online teachings as a suitable vehicle to gain basic yoga knowledge?

3 strengths of learning yoga online

  1. You can find detailed information about the performance of particular postures (asanas) including many available demonstrations
  2. There are online lectures and discussions about the meaning of yoga and mindfulness –In particular, “Dharma talks” are exceptionally interesting
  3. You can bookmark website links that explain postures or meanings; this gives you the opportunity to learn better through repetition

3 weaknesses of learning yoga online

  1. No chance to receive posture corrections during practice – a vitally important feature of “life” class because at the beginning of practice we are all less sensitive to correcting ourselves
  2. Comments on postures are general, but do not specifically support your individual performance
  3. In general, trying to watch a video and simultaneously perform a posture divides your attention and negatively impacts concentration and focus.

These 3 weaknesses can also be applied to books, which are also not an optimal vehicle to gain basic yoga knowledge; although some books contain much more detailed information on the performance of yoga postures (asanas), breath techniques (pranayamas) and meditation than short YouTube videos.
I believe the best way to learn yoga is to apply for a beginners’ course and get knowledge from experienced, qualified teachers. Here you will get some personal attention and may begin your own way of practicing yoga right from the start (it will change anyway, but it will change in your own unique way).
Last but not least, there is still something beautiful and almost magical about practicing with a group at the yoga studio. The group motivates and inspires us. I still remember my first yoga class and the teacher who led it. The teacher was a very modest and tiny young Russian woman named Elena Seregina. Don’t miss this magical personal moment by staying behind the computer screen!

Three key points

I would love you to remember 3 things from this blog:

  1. If you are new to yoga – take the beginners’ course at a yoga studio. Look for the course that consists of several classes with a sequential program to learn the basics
  2. If you have questions about a particular posture – ask the teacher and do not hesitate to watch online demonstrations. Both ways are helpful!
  3. Listen to dharma talks – It may inspire your daily thinking and create a precious bridge between the yoga mat and life.
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