At the beginning of the year, undergraduate English student Nina Umbelino-Purton and MPhil (Education) Jennifer Spindler started up the Wolfson Yoga Society. This added to the already rich offerings of yoga at Wolfson, where Martin Bond and James Downs have held regular classes for some time.
Thanks to Nina and Jen, Wolfson students were able to enjoy meditative and flow yoga several times a week. When the University closed in March, both headed home: Jen to the States and Nina to London. But they didn't want to lose the sense of community they had built at Wolfson. So they decided to take their classes online.
Both women are trained yoga teachers. Nina began practising at age 16 in London. In 2016, she travelled around Brazil volunteering with alternative communities and was encouraged to start teaching yoga as a volunteer. In 2018, she travelled to India, Thailand and Malaysia, where she also worked with a variety of projects, including yoga classes, receiving her my formal training in 2018 in Thailand after taking two 200h Yoga Teacher Training Course (YTTC).
Jen, a New York native, said she learned yoga first in various New York studios and then in the Dominican Republic.
Teaching online is different to teaching in person, says Nina. "Delivering my first virtual class felt a bit strange, as I miss teaching in person in terms of the feedback you get and the feedback you can give. I do my best in the videos to offer variations of different poses and giving verbal queues to help with alignment."
"I do enjoy the fact that the teaching online means that I can work with different class lengths. I can provide full-body classes, or I can provide small classes focusing on a particularly body part, or on achieving a certain state of mind. People can choose to watch the videos when it feels good for them, and according to what their bodies are demanding. They can pick out a video based on its theme or even length. The short videos are particularly good for a break between study sessions, to reset and return to one's studies refreshed and more focused."
Jen says, "Delivering a live virtual class energizes my day, as I know there are several of us moving our bodies in rhythm, at one time. Its a beautiful 30 minutes to be sure. I am currently staying in Vermont and on Fridays I try to go out and do the class in front of the serene scenery of the mountains."
Many thanks to Jen and Nina for this wonderful virtual experience.