Online yoga classes –
8 tips to stay injury free

2020 – the year of online yoga and at-home workouts

A year ago, yoga classes looked very different. Studios all around the country welcomed in their yogis, we unfolded our mats, took a collective breath or two and began our practice: comfortable, complacent, unaware of what was around the corner. Now, in December 2020, we are scarily accustomed to our new set-up of online yoga classes – and instead of breezing through the door of the studio and claiming our favourite spot; we instead claim a space in our home, tell the kids to keep quiet (bribery works best), adjust our cameras to make sure that we are largely in shot (and any mess is out of shot) and hope that the DPD man doesn’t make the delivery right in the middle of savasana again – as if this were how it had always been. Our yoga classes at home and workouts from home have become the new normal to a point where we are so accustomed to the new normal it is almost normal-normal (how many times is it OK to use the word normal in a sentence before it gets confusing? I think we have reached our max…).

It might not be quite the same experience, but still we practice, and thank goodness we do. Never before have we needed it so much.

We are thrilled that it seems that once again we will soon be allowed to re-enter our hallowed yoga studio in person, and YogaTonic UK is positively shaking with excitement at the thought of seeing you all again, but it looks like online yoga classes and HIIT workouts have knitted themselves into our weekly schedules, as so many of us continue to opt for it – for its convenience, security, flexibility, and for its time-saving (and cost saving) quality.

Home yoga and HIIT workouts – same same but different

There are important factors to consider during our sessions from the living room floor – ways in which even the best online yoga or at virtual workout isn’t the same as our studio experience. There have been reports – especially with people who have wholly exchanged their PT sessions in the gym for HIIT at home – of increased injuries during this period of taking control of our exercise regimes. Much of this reported increase is connected to jumping about like a crazed human in socks on the kitchen floor instead of in good trainers on sprung floors, but there are some inherent dangers in exercising from home that are true to even the gentlest yoga performed in a solo environment. Whether you are doing yoga for beginners, yoga for strength, vinyasa yoga, dynamic yoga or yin yoga, or HIIT classes at home, there are a few key pointers to bear in mind to minimise the risk of injury and keep you safe and bendy.

Feel free to contact us if you have any more of your own to add – we love to hear from you!

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8 tips to stay injury free

1. Make space for yoga at home

Do ensure that you have enough space around you to exercise and that you aren’t going to clunk yourself on the corner of the coffee table or slip up on a magazine. Or – worst of all – tread on a stray lego piece. Man, those bricks are pure evil. Claim your area proudly and discourage any foreign bodies (human, canine -Missy often trys to join our classes- feline or other) to enter it for the duration of the session.

2. Pick an appropriate yoga class

“Do at home as you would in the yoga studio” is a maxim we have just made up (quite proud of it now though). Stick to forms of exercise you are used to and be sure to start easy with the aim of working up to more challenging  or longer yoga classes over time. We now have over 400 yoga videos online from gentle to strength based classes, vinayasa flow and yin classes– so you have plenty of choice!

3. Mirror mirror propped up against the wall

Keep an eye on your angles. Compromised alignment is a common reason for injury and without the physical adjustments of a teacher present, it is more up to you, the participant, to monitor your body position during your at-home yoga workout. You can do this best by having a mirror to help – just as you often do in studios. Listen to the teaching points, and regularly look at your reflection to check against the key instructions.

4. Lights camera action

If Zooming into a yoga online class, try to set up your workout in an area with good lighting to ensure your teacher can see you well. If your instructor can see you clearly, they are much better able to give you appropriate instructions to adjust you, should you be out of line or performing an exercise or yoga stretch incorrectly. Sometimes the thought of illuminating your home workout isn’t super-appealing; but rest assured that the only focus of the yoga teacher is on your form – not the cleanliness of your carpets. And everyone else on the Zoom is FAR too busy fretting about their own exercise and space to care about yours!

5. Yoga poses – remember to modify

Everyone needs to modify – we all have our limits. Learning to honour our limits during our yoga classes is part of the experience, and part of making sure you stay injury-free.  As yoga teachers we will always aim give modifications for more complicated poses. Listen to your body and know that a modified stretch performed well is ALWAYS better than pushing yourself too far and risking doing damage.

6. Use yoga props

Invest in a few good pieces of equipment – a good quality yoga mat, some foam blocks, a strap. These are available cheaply online – you needn’t spend a fortune – but having quality yoga props will help and encourage you to take your exercise time seriously. They don’t take up much space, but will help make sure you are in a non-slip zone with appropriate equipment to help you perform yoga sequences and vinyasa flows correctly and with your comfortable range of movement.

7. Know when to stop

With the increased amount of time spent at home, and frustrations arising from not being able to live as we would like to, there is a temptation sometimes replace all our fun activities with more yoga classes so we end up doing much more exercise than we would do normally. Don’t over-exercise. Keep to a reasonable number of sessions per week. Sometimes more doesn’t equal more. We all need rest and recuperation (and Box Sets.)

8. Don’t hold back on feedback

Your yoga instructors are always there to talk to, and always appreciate your feedback. Should you have any questions or queries about certain yoga poses or yoga sequences, don’t be afraid to bring them to your teacher after the session – even if this means picking up the phone. Participants often hang around after a class in real-life live yoga sessions, and both teacher and practitioner benefit from the chats that spring up after classes. One of the downsides of online yoga, and yogis doing yoga videos online, is the demise of the “post class chat”. Initiate your own! Bring your questions and thoughts to your yoga teacher about the yoga sequences or exercises you are doing at home – they can help you and talk you through any niggles you might be experiencing. They can also offer you specific modifications or substitutions to make sure you can make the most of your at-home sessions.

Well, there you have it! Our thoughts on staying injury-free at home. Keep up the good work – and let us know how you get on. 

Stay healthy. Stay bendy. Stay in touch!

YogaTonic UK HQ 

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