The Yoga Revolution will be Live (online via Zoom)
Well who would have thunk it – If you would have said to me three or four months back (when actually did lock down begin – it seems like forever ago ) that I’d be teaching yoga folk around the world via my iPhone I would have prolly questioned your marbles – equally if you ( you being the all-seeing you!) would have told the majority of yoga students around the world that they would be taking their yoga classes in the near future via their smart phones /tablets/lap tops , they too would have said (assume your best Glaswegian accent) ‘yer off ya hed wee man’ ! But hey hey hey here we all are, and now after busting an Iphone yoga teaching tail feather since the start of lock down and after a little bit of reluctance on my part to begin with I must say that I’m now enjoying this new yoga teaching ride!
The lock down for me – like a lot of people was pretty stressful if I’m being honest. We were living in a shoe box in Venice Beach , Los Angeles -oh first world problems I hear you cry, and yes there is a bit of that I’m sorry, but it was still pretty brutal. We being my wife my 2 kids ( Boo daughter aged 6 and Easy son aged 3) and myself. Prior to lockdown Boo my daughter would get dropped at school at 8am in the morning and then picked up at 6pm – 3 hours of free after school club (yes you heard that right – free as in we didn’t have to pay)- even at 6pm you’d have to pry her off the climbing frame to get her home. Easy would be in nursery 8am-4pm – so both out of the house most of the day Mon-Fri –so in the blink of an eye they both went from this to being cooped up in our tiny space with their wonderful fabulous Mother and their grumpy short tempered Father (ok I’m not that bad!) parks , beaches , public spaces all closed – thank goodness we had a tiny back yard to swing a cat in. I spent most of my mornings digging for worms with Easy -using kitchen utensils- at the back of the apartment in the communal gardens – god only knows what the neighbours thought of us – weird English family probably.
So at the very real danger of turning into Jack Torrance, Lina my wife suggested to me that I should teach some yoga classes via Zoom – the only Zoom that I knew of had involved Fat Larry’s Band. I had a quick butchers online to see what other teachers were up to and it became fairly obvious straight away that online video conferencing (ie Zoom ) was the way forward. I decided I would do the sessions at 11 am LA time – which would be 7pm UK time thus being able to allow my US and UK students to virtually attend the sessions. And within the space of a few very , very long days I was up and running throwing shapes at my Iphone which I’d attached to a chair at the other side of the room – the worms of Venice Beach were saved! The very first session was a bit of a disaster – as soon as I made the decision to start the classes, the Matt Ryan PR department (ie moi) went into to hyper drive and made all the right social media song & dance noises plus I had decided to do the classes for free to begin with as I was aware loads of folk were off work and not getting paid. So day 1 turned into a bit of a bun fight as literally as soon as the session had begun I started getting a load of text messages / emails etc from angry students who hadn’t been able to access the inaugural session. It soon became apparent that I’d exceeded the 100 person limit of the ‘video conference’ and I’d now got a bunch of angry students banging on the virtual shala door. What made things even worse was I’d not done my Zoom due diligence and hadn’t figured out how to mute all the 100 very lucky folks who had managed to access the class. Cue all kinds of weird and wonderful ‘crowd’ noises from every Tom Dick & Deidre on the session, from a polite clearing of the nasal passages to the rumble explosions from ‘other’ bodily passages – to muffled laughter from people (myself included) – someone farting in a yoga class , even in a virtual one will never stop being funny.
Within 24 hours I’d had a quick Zoom tutorial which showed me the all-important ‘mute all’ button and we were back with a bang for day 2. I’d noticed that numbers had dropped off a little from Day 1 – some people just aint got no sense of yoga wind humour. Maybe I’d also lost a few folk who didn’t like my lack of yoga patter when I’m teaching –losers! Lord shoot me down if I ever start asking students to ‘picture your neck curving over a giant cloud of kittens meowing softly into a bed of dreams while licking dandelions and holding tenderly a basket of pussywillows’!
So here we all are 4 months into the Matt Ryan Yoga Zoom experience – it’s been one hell of a journey and feedback has been so good that I’ll continue until people stop tuning in. Classes are Mon-Fri with something different going on each night. I’ve just introduced my Ashtanga Yoga Second Series Short Forms which I’m like totally blissed out about 😉 – blowing out of the water the rather ridiculous notion that (Ashtanga) yoga students have to have completed primary series before moving into second – that’s a load of baloney, baby – come find out on Wednesdays! Details of all my classes can be found here.