Online Yogis: Expanding Your Teaching into Cyberspace
Time Is of the Essence
Creating content and maintaining a Web presence can be very time-consuming. Even short blog entries that you post several times per week can take hours, especially if you want to include photos or diagrams that need to be created and uploaded to your site. An online audience expects new material on a regular basis; to keep your site fresh, you will have to add content at least once a week, if not more often.
"It's the only thing I do that I have to do consistently at the same time every week. It's a very disciplined practice for me to have to have something new to say—whether I'm traveling, whether I have relatives visiting. . . . Every Sunday night I have to sit down and think carefully about what this message is going to be for the week," says Kelly McGonigal about the discussion she leads on her website Open Mind, Open Body (http://www.openmindbody.com/).
However, if you are willing to spend the time and have access to the technology, bringing the lessons of yoga to an online audience can be a very rewarding experience. "I see my website as a complete extension of how I teach," continues McGonigal. "It's as natural for me to teach through the medium of writing as it is to get up in front of a classroom and talk [to students]. I get to do all this teaching to people I would never get to teach in a classroom, and it is as effective."
Schiffmann agrees. "The ability to dialogue and share with so many people is awesome," he says. "It's fun to see how yoga is evolving. This has never been available before. It's really evidencing the fact of one Mind. The online cyber-ashram is a community of like-minded people talking and sharing about a subject they love—yoga."
Whether they are providing additional resources for their current students or chatting in a discussion group with instructors on the other side of the world, yoga teachers can use the Internet as a modern way to approach an ancient practice.
Brenda K. Plakans lives and teaches yoga in Beloit, Wisconsin. She spends several hours a week updating her blog, Grounding thru the Sit Bones (http://groundingthruthesitbones.blogspot.com/).
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