The COVID-19 pandemic forced senior citizens to stay indoors and restricted their movement, but for 79-year-old Ratnaprabha Joshi, it gave an opportunity to acquire social media skills and become a YouTuber.
A retired junior college lecturer, Joshi had an active social life before the pandemic struck in March 2020. She conducted yoga classes for the elderly at her house in suburban Santacruz in Mumbai. “Post retirement, I was involved in several activities. I love teaching, giving lectures and writing. At 54, I was introduced to yoga, and there was no turning back. From a lecturer of Commerce, I became a yoga teacher,” says Joshi.
The COVID-19 pandemic opened up a range of possibilities for the septuagenarian, who believes that there is no age limit to learning.
Joshi says she vividly remembers the day when her family doctor advised her to discontinue conducting yoga classes, as the pandemic was getting serious.
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“I had so many activities lined up on March 30, 2020, for my women’s group, spiritual classes and yoga classes. But all the participants were women above 65 and were forced to stay indoors,” she says.
With her indomitable spirit, Joshi refused to give up and decided to get a lesson in social media from the younger generation in her family and her friends.
And soon, Joshi started conducting yoga classes and sessions on spiritual discourses online through WhatsApp and Google Duo.
After starting with a small group of participants, the numbers gradually grew and she soon graduated to uploading videos on YouTube.
“I was asked to post spiritual thoughts to a cancer support group of Thane-based Shri Ambika Yoga Institute. It was a difficult task at first, but I did that religiously. I was also inspired to make videos for YouTube and today, I have more than 160 videos on the site,” says Joshi.
Thanks to the virtual classes, senior citizens could cope with the pandemic and lockdown, says the retired teacher, who has participants joining in from the UK, US, Singapore despite the different time zones.
“While there are limitations to virtual interactions, I consider online learning and teaching a need of the hour. I am a workaholic and I need to stay busy. So, I overcame the hurdles and problems faced during online interactions and learned the tricks of the trade,” Joshi says.