Yoga instructor gives classes around the world from his houseboat house

Yoga teacher Harriet McAtee

A yoga instructor forced to spend nearly a year taking classes within the narrow confines of her houseboat home has seen her company’s video sessions attract students from all over the world.

In the United States, Australia, New Zealand and across Europe, people have tune in to follow Harriet McAtee, who broadcasts from her floating residence on the Thames in Oxford, and her colleagues.

The 30-year-old Australian initially saw her income plummet as the coronavirus pandemic plunged the country into its first lockdown last year, but she quickly adapted by moving her job online.

She took over the yoga teacher training business from a charity in April and has since seen it catch the attention of yoga enthusiasts thousands of miles away.

Yoga teacher Harriet McAtee
Harriet performs a ‘Utthita Parsvakonasana’ pose (Victoria Jones / PA)

“We can be in session sometimes and we have almost every time zone covered… I never thought that would happen,” Ms. McAtee said.

She added: “I ran a class at the end of last year and there was a student in Australia who got up at 3.30am.”

Preparing for an online class involves regularly rearranging the furniture aboard your small 72-foot-long boat, while yoga poses are adapted to fit the limited space.

Ms. McAtee explained, “The classic is 6 feet wide and I’m 6 feet tall. When I extend my arms, I can touch the wall and the window. So I can’t fully extend my arms.

“The ceiling is 6’3 so I can’t raise my arms above my head. So there’s a bit of cinematic magic that happens when I cast on Zoom to get my whole body in the frame.

“So it’s tight, but I adjusted and I don’t care when I teach on Zoom.

“I think my students really like that I live and teach on a great classic, it’s a little different.”

Yoga teacher Harriet McAtee
Harriet performs an ‘Anjali Mudra’ pose during a class (Victoria Jones / PA)

Originally from Brisbane, Ms McAtee has lived in the UK for the past five years and leads the six-person team at Nourish Yoga Training which provides classes for students and teachers to an average of 10 people per day.

She stressed that their approach to yoga is “a bit of everything” and that their focus on inclusion allows them to work with pregnant women, people with mental health issues or people who may find the best. difficult traditional yoga.

Ms McAtee said: “It’s a time when everyone is stuck at home and it’s nice to feel that you are doing something and connecting with people, there is a real sense of community. , which I think people really need. “

When life returns to normal one day, she said she can’t wait to be in the same room with the students again.

Online learning is “different,” she admits, even though it still brings “a lot of benefits”, with things like touching, singing, or hearing breath not the same on Zoom.

The pandemic and the restrictions that come with it have been “really tough” for yoga teachers, McAtee said, with the studios shutting down.

The first foreclosure saw her own income cut in half overnight, she admitting it was “quite stressful” to start her business online.

Yoga teacher Harriet McAtee
Harriet said the response from the students was “heartwarming” (Victoria Jones / PA)

Praising her team, she said the students’ “heartwarming response” had “inspired” her.

“When it’s been the darkest days of lockdown and motivation has been low, I remind you of how amazing the community of people I work with is and always inspires,” he said. she declared.

Life locked out on her classic, a former floating restaurant, has been “difficult” at times, but Ms. McAtee was able to spend time with a bubble of support.

The busy towpaths from a previous anchorage made social distancing “difficult”, and she misses her “incredible collection of friends” and interaction with her students.

But she added: “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere other than my boat during the lockdown. It’s such a great way to live, it’s such a great lifestyle.

“Yes, it can get a bit cold in winter and the mud is annoying, but being able to look out my window at the river and nature is quite unmatched. “

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