I genuinely miss seeing you in my studio, my dear clients. I hope you are thriving and that your sense of humor is intact. During this time, I have been reading a lot, training with purpose and really thinking about how best to connect with you during the quarantine. I miss watching you flourish in our shared physical space. If you have suggestions for connecting, please email me!
As I was pondering our physical separation, I received a text from a remote client who is trying to keep up her ballet dancing via Zoom classes, taught by her usual instructors. She said that the classes were not very challenging–certainly not like in person. When there are numerous “students” tuning in to a Zoom session each student is relegated to a tiny thumbnail video that in no way shows enough detail for an instructor to observe the student–or offer any meaningful correction. It’s simply impossible. My typically highly motivated client went further and acknowledged that she is not as focused (since there is no personal connection or correction) and frankly, doesn’t try as hard. This just seems like human nature.
From another perspective, I received an email from a yoga teacher sharing her own experience participating as a student in a Zoom yoga class. She decided to try a difficult pose nothing that “1. it was so much easier to do at home due to lack of self-consciousness, yet 2. not something I would typically challenge myself to do at home without a Zoom teacher “making me.” The Zoom class felt like the best of both worlds.” She prompted people to finish this sentence: “Zoom yoga is the new…….”
Here is my response:
“Zoom yoga (Zoom anything for that matter) is the new…COVID-19 vaccine.”
Everywhere I look I see people quickly trying to transition their businesses, schools, physical movement, and life to all online.
While Zoom classes are a good interim platform during this time, they are not, and never will be, a substitute for one-on-one interactions.
Yes, you might try that “thing” that you’re self-conscious about (whether it be a yoga pose, a ballet move, or anything else) because no one sees you, but as my remote client confided…“I know for a FACT I do less.”
We are hiding behind the screen, which gives us the opportunity to further cement our bad habits and compensatory patterns. In the absence of any human mirror, we can just be narcissists. When people Zoom they are mostly looking at the image of themselves in the computer’s eye.
When we isolate we can make up any story we want.
Our story can support our ego—“Wow, don’t my arms look great on Zoom”…. “Oh gee, look at my eyebrows…” Or more often than a Zoom session, people are just watching a pre-recorded video–which is not interactive at all. See it. Do it. There is no real time. There is no way to feel into being coached. And then we end up doing what we think “it” is, in our mind’s eye. And “it” may be completely wrong.
What we benefit from is a coach to tell us… “I like that you are stable in the bottom of that pose. Now try inhaling deeply in the bottom, and brace as you rise.” Or some other thoughtful, individualized input.
I have coached the clean and jerk with remote clients. I watch their videos and send instructions and corrections on their specific movements. It’s not “oh, here’s a video—now go master the lifts.” Or “watch me and do it like I do.” No. I coach people in THEIR movement patterns. I myself have a professional coach who coaches me and helps correct my specific patterns so that I can compete and win in Crossfit.
Hiding behind a screen, cementing bad habits and compensatory patterns is not going to move me toward winning at anything, but it can certainly cement what I already believe.
Part of being coached is being vulnerable. Part of being in a community is exposure. Part of seeking expertise from any guide is a sense of knowing what I am not knowing. Learning is in the doing. Learning is attention to the feedback. Learning is trying and failing, and trying and learning what works……for you.
Staring at myself in a screen on Zoom is a certain kind of feedback—it cements whatever I already believe. Think you look good on Zoom? Well, you are cementing what you already believe. Think you look fat on Zoom? More cement. Think you sound stupid? Cement. Think you are getting better at that yoga pose? Cement.
There may be some things that can be perfected by watching YouTube videos over and over and memorizing whatever actions are happening in the video (like solving a Rubix cube). But physical movement is not that thing. Sorry.
As an example, I have clients say “I watched 100 videos of Jenny Arthur (Olympic weightlifter medalist in the actual Olympics) clean and I notice how she does X.” Great–that works for Jenny Arthur. If you are not Jenny Arthur, it will not work for you. Maybe you are 5’8”, maybe you have long femurs, maybe you have a long torso, short femurs….. And what Jenny Arthur does to get 280 pounds over her head is not going to serve you as you try to move 100 pounds over your head.
Mind you, I am still very grateful for the opportunity to connect with you on Zoom, even for a second. I am grateful to connect with all of my clients on Zoom or FaceTime—but it is “not the new anything” for me. It’s a poor substitute tool for connection. And you won’t catch me teaching people how to do the clean and jerk by watching me do it on Zoom.
No one is getting better at yoga, or weightlifting, or life because they are online more.
My personal prediction is: no one is going to want to be online after this.
Hone your relationship skills while you are stuck in the house with your family.
If your coach or teacher could see you stumbling in your pose they could offer a word, an experience, a strategy.
Until the shelter in place is over, may I recommend that you find a way to connect to your coach in a one-on-one way. Being live on FaceTime or Zoom in a one-on-one situation—a real-time setting—can move you closer to your goals. And I welcome a chance to connect with each of you anytime during this shelter in place.
Until we meet in again person (SOON!!!)
Keep doing the individualized training I am sending you. Give me feedback, send me videos, call me, FaceTime with me or even Zoom with me.
I cannot wait to be with you in the studio. We are going to have the best summer ever getting fit AF and laughing about the spring of the screen.
I love you all and I miss correcting your bad movement patterns. 🙂 Don’t you miss hearing me say “Control the negative!”???