Journey to teaching online Yoga

My teaching online Yoga began in 2020. But I started teaching yoga in person, at the end of 2006. By the end of 2007, I was a full-time Yoga Teacher, as I was slowly moving away from pursuing Acting in Film and Television. My passion for being in the spotlight shifted from being this character I created to just being myself and helping people by sharing my journey!

This just felt so authentic and real… It was an incredibly physical and mental journey, though, I must say.

For the first three years, I was basically resetting my body to a correct posture, with a lot of physio to keep things on track.

In the last 7 years, I have had 5 major surgeries to repair past sports damage….. But that’s another blog.

Risto Duggan teaching an arm balance to an online rocket yoga class
Risto Duggan Rocket Yoga Trainer and Teacher

How I got Here

I have shot a bunch of Yoga Videos in the past 13 years… I do a lot of Photoshoots, so the online thing I knew would be a pretty smooth transition… Once I figured it out.

On January 29th, I had my last major surgery. Shoulder reconstruction… This was the toughest recovery to date, but I love a good challenge! I knew I had 6 weeks to rest right off the bat. After six weeks, I was back teaching ( Absolutely no demo! ). Then the Pandemic shut things down a couple of weeks later. I figured I would just rest for a couple more weeks, but then I saw my friend Henrietta on the seawall, and she asked me if I was teaching Zoom classes already. She said, “Your students need you right now!”…… So, I came home and posted that I was starting online yoga classes in two days. I figured I could learn this new style of teaching in 48 Hours….. Hahaha! So, a couple of days later, I’m an online teacher! It started fun and new, but talking to your computer is a trip. Then, you must fine-tune the sound, figure out the camera angles, set the lighting, arrange your backdrop, and don’t let your dog “Jane” steal the show. 

Right Back to Film and TV as an Online Yoga Teacher

My first teaching online yoga class was a big success, with about 36 patrons, but my second class was a disaster! I didn’t know the difference between Personal Meeting Numbers & Meeting Numbers….. So I posted my Meeting Number on Twitter ( I rarely post anything on Twitter ) and got Zoom Bombed! I had 56 patrons, and many young kids were making rude comments throughout the class….. I knew how to mute them but didn’t know about the “Don’t allow your students to unmute themselves” button, and they kept unmuting themselves….. Crazy frustrating… But it’s funny now.

So all that was corrected quickly, and thanks to a few friends’ advice, I was a full-time online Yoga Teacher …… Bizarre! Zoom was pretty on it; considering how crazy that must have been for them, most of the kinks were fixed immediately. The numbers dropped as more and more teachers had excellent offerings available from all over the world! I reconnected with many students who had moved back home or away from Van. I remember having a class with students from Israel, Japan, Australia, San Fransisco, Wisconsin, and Ontario…… All former students… So cool!

There have been a bunch of hiccups, but now my playlists on my phone plug right into my computer with my Bose sound system, and the lighting is acceptable. I have had to restart things minutes before class, change devices, and continue recordings…… But all in all, it has been pretty smooth.

I was pretty overwhelmed and full of gratitude! All of a sudden, we have this huge platform that has limitless reach. I can’t wait to film a Rocket/ Active Yin class series in Nicaragua during my November Retreats!
Active Yin classes evolved during the Pandemic as well….. I researched many more functional movement exercises that I have added to the sequences and lengthened the hold of the “Peak” pose. Also, people who love their Yin have all the props…… So you can go for it….. I love holding this strapped butterfly for at least 15 minutes… So juicy!

I shot a couple of videos for www.mvmtchallenge.com that are on my site, a bunch of IGTV classes for Supported Soul, and Stretch Vancouver was offering online classes all the way through. Live classes started again at Stretch and Yaletown YYoga….. One Yoga opens in September. So the new normal should be settling in by Fall….. Cross our fingers that the second wave doesn’t hit!
But if it does our online yoga teaching skills are much sharper now. See you in class and online.

I am a Vancouver-based yoga teacher focusing on healing through alignment, engagement, and breath—my background as a semi-professional multi-sport athlete left my body broken and battered. On my 40th birthday, I took my first yoga class, and my life changed dramatically. Since completing the 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2007, I have built a strong following of students attending my Rocket, Active Yin, and Workshops. Rocket Yoga is an Ashtanga-based practice created by Larry Schultz in the late 80s. Larry took the first three sequences of Ashtanga and created three playful, intense sequences. Active Yin is a combination of functional movement exercises combined with Yin poses. I am mainly focussing on one area. 

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