01 Aug Welcome to Yoga Mapp
Real teachers, real time, a platform set up during lockdown 2020.
Work, Life, Yoga.
Cast your mind back to March of this year, the beginning of COVID-19 and lockdown. It’s finally starting to feel like a distant memory. There was a lot of anxiety in those first days, certainly in London as we watched cases rise. In my little yogi bubble, having just returned from teacher training in India (a dream I finally realised 10 years after the seed was planted), it felt like a global meditation retreat as I cycled around the commons of South West London trying not making eye contact with others for what-I-don’t-exactly-know.
My city studio had closed its doors at the same time as working from home became the new normal and I was feeling a little out of sorts without my usual yoga routine (think 7.30am Mysore Ashtanga, with incredible physical adjustments that were totally on point).
At first I busted some warrior shapes at the lake in Tooting Common (yes, I did get some sideways glances) given the novelty of being in nature first thing before work. Then what followed was a phase of carrying on my own early morning Mysore practice indoors, minus physical adjustments but detoxifying and challenging nevertheless.
One by one, teachers that I’d practised with from years gone by, to those I’d trained with just weeks before, started popping up on social media promoting livestream Zoom classes as a way for us all to continue with our practice. It was clear that now more than ever was the time to invest in a personal yoga practice.
I no longer needed to feel awkward or self-conscious about practising a new style of yoga or joining a class that I might have found intimidating in public. Instead, I could practice in the comfort of my own home, with options to log on from my phone or laptop to see familiar faces from around the world. Feeling the energy of others and experiencing a real time class with live teaching and in-the-moment verbal adjustments gave me a sense of security.
As April 2020 came and went, the need for a daily yoga practice increased as the government finally tightened safety measures and anxiety levels heightened. I always used to talk about being ‘highly meditated’ at work when things got tough and April was no different. Balancing working from home with not seeing family or friends was manageable in the light of the severity of what was going on in the outside world.
Back in the yogi world, it seemed like the market was overflowing with teachers offering every kind of yoga from the original hot yoga to gong to yin. Classes became available via IGTV, Zoom, Skype with no structured way to book, pay or stream.
I’m nothing but grateful to all the teachers around the world who stepped off their studio mats and outside their comfort zone to bring to us a highly professional and quality class experience, becoming AV technician, PA, social media marketeer, cameraperson, DJ, TV presenter and yoga teacher, all at the same time. Now there’s a new job description for a yoga teacher, if ever I’ve heard of one!
All change please.
As the seasons began to change from Spring to Summer so did the world of lockdown yoga. What started as simple offerings from living rooms and bedrooms around the world, moved on as yoga teachers and studios with pre-existing large communities started to raise their game. New websites, the sharing of Zoom links and hand crafted Spotify playlists helped to cancel out the noise of family, neighbours and pets!
Here to stay.
There’s no denying this movement has broken down some important barriers in relation to how easy it is to access yoga classes any time, anywhere. It’s also opened up yoga to people who had never thought to try it before, thanks to the ease of it all. Chatting to both teachers and yogis in my community , the consensus is that livestream yoga is firmly here to stay.
It’s this movement that has inspired me to launch Yoga Mapp, where you can easily browse and book classes, practice with real teachers in real time, wherever you may be. For now, the majority of classes available are online but increasingly as location based yoga picks back up, you’ll be able to find workshops, retreats and location based classes.