Yoga and Elearning

Applying yoga techniques to elearning may not be as far fetched as you think. The basis of yoga and any meditation discipline is mindfulness.

What do we mean by mindfulness? Yoga is the linking of mind and body through breath in a moving meditation.  Meditation starts with focus on the breath.  Mindfulness helps you be in the moment focusing on your breathing and body movements.

So let’s take a deep breath: inhale and exhale.  The immediate effect is calming.  We live between those breaths.  That’s all we have:  Our relative certainty that the next breath is coming.

What does any of this have to do with putting together a good online training program?

Stick with this idea for a second.

Many who are new to yoga are gobsmacked by how some teachers and students are able to get into impossible gravity-defying poses with seeming effortlessness.  But they work at it, for hours, for years.  And comparisons are inevitable.  Why can’t I do that?  You look for shortcuts, but there are none.

With many yoga practices, you begin with simple movements. You sit on a mat and focus on your breathing.  The key word here is focus.  You watch your breath go in and out.  It brings you into the moment on that mat at that second. Your mind is distracted by hundreds of thoughts and worries, and with focus on your breathing,  those worries and thoughts can begin to seem less significant.   They flow in and out and begin to dissipate like a fog lifting.

You then may lift your arms over your head or make a simple movement as you breath in and out, slow and steady. And then you build on that movement, and then the next, focusing on your movements and your breathing.  You may hurry and fall over.  That’s because you are distracted, maybe by someone else  in the room who is more flexible.

Look at most elearning courses. What do they do to bring you into the moment?  Do they focus your attention, and build slowly on the step before?  Or do they try and do too much at once and knock you off balance?  Do they move slowly from one topic to the next?  Or do they make you feel pressured to perform with too many distractions?  Does the course make you feel like a loser if you don’t perform well?  Or can you go at your own pace?

Even if  you’ve never done yoga, you can follow its ideas and try them for yourself to see if they work in elearning. Start simple.  Focus your learners with mindfulness when you design your courses.  Build slowly and elegantly.  Make each step a simple movement.

You can’t get up in an unassisted handstand without first strengthening your arm muscles and working on your exquisite balance.

Here’s a radical idea: Why not build in meditation breaks inside your elearning with an audio track that allows learners to stay in the moment and focus on what they learned?

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