In March, as businesses the world over were grappling with how to move online, I got to experience the dilemma from both sides. Even as we set up a Zoom account for the school, purchased a webcam, and rearranged the studio, I was deciding whether to forfeit my spot in a long-awaited retreat, or to go ahead with online attendance. In the end, I decided to attend online, so I was able to experience first-hand some of the unique benefits of an online retreat or training.
So what is it really like? And how did I translate my experience and feedback from our students into improvements for our 200 and 300 Hour Yoga Immersion Teacher Training Programs? Read on to find out!
About a week before the start of the retreat, I received the retreat materials–a booklet and a schedule of events. I love to know when things are going to happen, and what to expect, as it helps me to feel safe. Our students receive the Student Handbook, including the weekend calendar, as well as the Program Workbook in advance of the first training weekend!
A few days before the start of the retreat, I received the Zoom Meeting Information for the retreat. I was already familiar with Zoom, but I haven’t always been! If you’re not sure where to start, check out the Quick Start Guide on Zoom’s website.
The day before the retreat, I made sure my space was ready. I reviewed the retreat materials for any special items I might need to have on hand. We recommend that our students have a yoga mat, 3-4 yoga blankets, 2 blocks, a yoga strap and an eye pillow. Don’t have some of those items? Don’t despair! You can substitute towels for the yoga blankets, thick books for the yoga blocks, and a long scarf or bathrobe tie can stand in for both the yoga strap AND the eye pillow!
I made sure to get a good night’s sleep, and then it was finally time to begin! I dressed and got ready, just as if I was actually attending the retreat in person. This can be so helpful as a means of letting our brains know that something special or out of the ordinary is about to happen. This was not a regular old day–I was going on retreat! I logged in using the information provided, and then we were off on our adventure.
Throughout the retreat I attended, the facilitators offered lots of opportunities for participants to speak up and ask questions, and to visit virtually with each other. Here at The Essence of Yoga Center, building community is part of our heartfelt mission. Our students have a private student portal where they can learn more about each other and access class resources, whether they’re attending online or in person!
The best part of attending a retreat or training online? I got to engage with new practices and learn new things in my space–where I can keep to my routines, sleep in my own bed, and not worry about commute times. Research indicates we learn best when we feel safe, and I found that to be so true with my online learning experience. Most importantly, I didn’t have to delay or cancel my retreat. I was still able to obtain the highest quality educational experience from the safety and comfort of my home.
The good news? You can too! Our 200 Hour Yoga Immersion Teacher Training Program is second to none, and it is now available 100% online. Your yoga, your way. Visit our 200 Hour page or contact us today to find out more!