Small Group Yoga – an online experiment

adho mukha svanasana with supports for hands

Small Group Online Yoga Study – Background

This Online Yoga Study was done during  May and June 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic.  All the participants were volunteers.

Like many yoga teachers before the coronavirus pandemic I taught my classes face to face so had no experience teaching yoga virtually.  This study focusses on small group sessions where I could give additional attention to each student. Prior to this study I had only done about 2 months of online teaching (so approximately 10 classes).

However I am not new to yoga or yoga teaching, as I have been practising and studying yoga for over 30 years and teaching yoga since 2010.

Due to the coronavirus we had to use virtual technology rather than face to face sessions.

Study Objective

My objective was to see if giving close individual attention in a small class situation would help improve their yoga.

In particular I wanted to see if I could accelerate the improvement that students could make.

I was also keen to get feedback from students to improve my online teaching skills.

How did the study work?

A small group of students “volunteered” to participate in very early morning yoga  (6 classes) starting at 6.45am.

My objective was to see if giving close individual attention would help improve their yoga at a much faster pace.  Due to the coronavirus we had to use virtual technology rather than face to face sessions.   The early start time was chosen so the students could all start and finish their practise before starting work.

Recordings were taken in class and students also did some additional practise and recorded themselves to support the study.  

The group consisted of 3 mixed ability students:

    • Person 1 – Beginner to Iyengar Yoga and relatively new to Yoga
    • Person 2 – Beginner level student who has regularly attended weekly Iyengar yoga but struggles with lack of flexibility and very slow improvement
    • Person 3 –  A more experienced student (previously done lots of Iyengar  yoga)  and attends my classes

  • Beginner student case study

    Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) at the start

    As you can see in the image below, the beginner student was not able to straighten his legs fully, his shoulders are very rounded and his back is bent.

    Dean in adho mukha svanasana at the start of the Study

    Downward dog – after 6 weeks practice

    In the picture below you can see that at the end of the study (6 weeks) the student is now correcting some of his mistakes and has dramatically improved the pose.

    Things to Note

    • The legs are straighter.
    • There is less curvature in the spine.
    • There is still some stiffness in his shoulders which will improve with regular practise.


    Mountain Pose (Tadasana) at the start

    Tadasana (Mountain Pose) is fundamental to all standing poses in yoga

    As you can see in the picture below, the legs are not straight and are pushing forwards.

    The upper body is leaning back.

    Dean in Tadasana at the start


    Mountain Pose – after 6 weeks practice

    I was very impressed with this student’s improvement.

    Things to note:

    • There was a complete change in the  whole body, which is not leaning forwards or backwards and he is standing correctly. The student is learning how to correct his posture.
    • The legs are straighter (nearly vertical), the chest is lifted and open.
    • Overall an energetically  improved pose.
    Dean In Tadasana after 6 weeks

    Testimonial from this student  

    “It’s surprising how much I have to change to actually stand up straight. I don’t feel like I’m standing straight at all when I’m standing straight”

    Coming soon …I will add more content relating to the other students in the study.

  • New Iyengar Yoga Course starting October 20th

Small Group Yoga – an online experiment
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