The past year has been really tough for everyone, especially with lockdown and restrictions in place due to the Coronavirus pandemic.Those working as yoga teachers adapted by finding new ways to teach their classes, with both teachers and their students turning their kitchen or living rooms into yoga spaces in order to keep practising.
The very core of Yoga is based around connection; connection to the planet, to ourselves and of course to each other. As soon as the world locked down the only connection we were left with was a virtual one through the internet. Leaving many feeling isolated and alone.
Perhaps you took part in online classes and wondered how your teachers coped?
Maybe you’re a yoga teacher who faced many difficulties teaching online?
Or perhaps, like many of us, your life has changed and you want to find out how other people have grown and adapted throughout the Coronavirus pandemic?
We caught up with British yoga teacher Rhi Kitson who teaches under the name Fluid Fox Yoga, who shared with us how her yoga teaching changed due to the restrictions.
Rhi pictured above on our Urban Jungle eco yoga mat
Rhi trained to teach yoga in her mid-30’s after being inspired by her passion, she said: “I've loved yoga for a very long time however it never occurred to me to take up teaching.
“I loved the way it made me feel and I even loved to come up with my own sequences. I couldn't think of anything else that brought me as much happiness as yoga did, but at the same time I doubted myself and wondered if it was simply too late in my life to change my path and learn something new.
“When my partner at the time expressed his disapproval, it immediately made me more determined to prove to the world that I was capable. It was quite possibly the best decision I have ever made!
“Yoga saved me. I know that sounds very dramatic but yoga has been my go-to when I've felt really bad.
"If you have never tried yoga then I probably sound totally nuts to you but I encourage you to experience it for yourself. My own practice has changed so much throughout the pandemic, it's not always been about the needs of my body; more often it's been my mind that has needed a place to escape to.”
Rhi on our Urban Jungle Vegan yoga mat
Rhi qualified in 2019, just before the pandemic struck, she added: “after I qualified as a 200hr Yoga Teacher I threw myself into teaching at local studios in my free time and evenings. I was juggling a full-time job and filling up my spare time teaching yoga classes. Life got pretty crazy pretty quick. Teaching was literally the highlight of each day and I longed for evening time.
“I then launched my own yoga business, Fluid Fox Yoga, in November 2019. It was at the same time that I left my day job. I knew it was a huge risk. I had a home, a mortgage and bills to pay but I knew that if I didn't take a leap I was going to be stuck in the same place forever. And that's what change is all about. Moving from the familiar into the unfamiliar, from comfort into discomfort. We never really grow if we stay the same... and I can assure you I have never looked back since.”
When the pandemic hit, Rhi was faced with some very difficult decisions and a loss of classes and earnings, she explained: “The pandemic couldn't have come at a worse time for me. It quite honestly was an absolute nightmare. The work I had been doing on growing my business, from November through to March 2020, suddenly began to crumble through my fingers.
“The plans I had put into place, the public classes I had arranged, the venues I had secured and the networking I had worked so hard on building suddenly felt like a huge waste of time. The shock of what lockdown meant for my business began to dawn on me and I started to feel an awful sense of despair. I knew that so many people were in exactly the same position as me but at the same time I felt incredibly alone and scared. I wondered what the hell I'd done.
“It was in fact my parents who pulled me out of my slump. We spoke for a long time and they listened to me go on and on about all my fears and worries and then in a very matter of fact way they looked me in the eyes and said 'Rhiannon, you have to fix this. Stop crying and find a way around this. You have to make this situation work for you because you don't have a plan B.' Well, that was the kick up the arse I needed!”
Rhi teaching this year at an event
After finding her determination Rhi took Fluid Fox Yoga online, she said: “on March 16th, 2020, I taught my first online yoga class via zoom. I remember receiving a message from one of my students who said they were over the moon.
“I had sorted out online classes so quickly as they desperately needed to escape all the chaos. I could certainly relate to that. I'm pretty sure I cried straight after that class, I was utterly grateful to everyone, and damn, it felt good to be back doing what I loved. I think I knew then that everything was going to be ok. There was a new path being paved for me and I just had to put a little trust in myself.
“I won't pretend that the past year has been easy, it really hasn't, nor has it been easy for anybody in my industry. I've seen studios I loved and taught in close down and go out of business, I've seen students come and go, I've battled with equipment and have surprisingly become a zoom wizard as a result, I've worked hard to bring a sense of connection into my classes and I've had to change and revise my marketing methods often in order to keep up and remain fresh and approachable.
"The competition online is fierce, it keeps you on your toes and at times I have found it both exciting and overwhelming.”
Rhi teaching outdoors
She added: “Yoga is often described as an expression of unity; a connection to yourself and to others; the way in which you engage with the world to create harmony in your life, both on and off the mat. When that balance starts to tip, when the core of what you teach is being challenged, when your business and the businesses of those you care for start to fall apart around you and on top of all that you have bills to pay in order to keep your own world from falling apart, maintaining a positive attitude and a sense of focus feels utterly impossible.
“We are frequently being reminded that change is constant. So I try my best to embrace change now. My past has proven to me time and time again that the changes I've experienced have brought so much joy into my life. I try to remember that when I come face to face with new challenges.
"We have all endured an extremely difficult and depressing time but it's incredibly important to reflect on the many victories and positive outcomes that have emerged from all this mess.”
Now that gyms and yoga studios are open again with a limited capacity and classes outside allowed to happen, Rhi shared her plans for the future, she said: “The virtual world seems here to stay and I shall go on teaching yoga both online and in person classes, from dynamic slow flows to delicious deep yin classes. I know that I am very blessed to be able to continue providing such a soul fulfilling practice to many wonderful people.”
You can take part in our Fluid Fox Yoga classes on our Wuufly Youtube channel through this link, the series offers something for all abilities.