Lockdown yoga instructor teaching around the world from narrowboat home
Written by Hitmix News on 19 February 2021
A yoga teacher has picked up students from around the world after spending the last year teaching online from the confines of her narrowboat home.
People from the US, Australia, New Zealand and across Europe have tuned in to watch Harriet McAtee, who broadcasts from her boat on the River Thames in Oxford.
The Brisbane-born instructor, 30, initially saw her income half during the first lockdown.
However, she adapted by moving classes online and taking over a yoga teacher-training business, which has since attracted fans from thousands of miles away.
“We can sometimes be in a session and we’ve got nearly every time zone covered… I never thought that would happen,” Ms McAtee said.
Image: Ms McAtee does about 10 classes per day on average
“I ran a class end of last year and there was a student from Australia who was getting up at 3.30 in the morning,” she added.
Preparation for her Zoom classes involves rearranging furniture on her 72ft (22m) narrow boat, while yoga poses are adapted for the limited space.
Ms McAtee explained: “My narrowboat is 6ft (1.83m) wide and I am 6ft tall. When I stretch my arms out, I can touch the wall and the window, so I can’t extend my arms fully.”
Lifting her arms above her head is also not possible due to the ceiling being 6ft 3in (1.9m). However, she said “a bit of movie magic” ensures her whole body can fit in the frame.
Image: The narrowboat is only 6ft (1.83m) wide
“This is a time when everyone is stuck at home, and it’s nice to feel like you’re doing something and connecting with people,” Ms McAtee said.
“There’s a real sense of community, which I feel people really need.”
While she has been “inspired” by the response to her videos, she admits there are downsides to virtual training and that things such as touching, chanting and breathing are more difficult over Zoom.
The boat can also be “a bit cold in winter”, she said, but the view “is pretty incomparable”.
Ms McAtee leads Nourish Yoga’s training team, catering for an average of 10 students and teachers per day.
An emphasis on inclusivity sees them work with groups such as people with mental health conditions, pregnant women and those who might find mainstream yoga challenging.