Pre-pandemic, most people had no idea what zoom was, let alone how to use it to practice yoga. Now it’s a staple in our lives, and “live streams” have become a common part of many yoga classes, whether solely online or hybrid.
The pandemic forced many of us camera-shy teachers online and what is imperative to teaching online is having a set-up that you’re comfortable with and that meets your needs.
In this article, we’ll focus on online yoga teaching Livestream classes rather than setting up a production company/on-demand service, as well as:
- Teaching Yoga Online- How To Get Started
- The set up behind the scenes – lights, camera, action!
- How to get your classes to your students both live and post event
- What to do about payment/integration
- Zoom basics
- How to still teach people when you’re not actually in the room with them
Teaching yoga online- Benefits
Running online classes allows you to teach internationally from your home or yoga space and reach way more students than if not. There are lots of benefits to hosting online classes including:
1. Your students don’t need a babysitter
2. Overheads are minimal in comparison to hiring a space or studio
3. You (and your students) lose out on the commute time
4. Community is still there. Students are more likely to see each other’s faces before and after practice as everyone is displayed on screen (with zoom)
Despite studios being firmly open post-pandemic teachers are still leaning into delivering online classes. This is important because it means that there is still a demand from students to practice from the comfort of their own homes.
If you’re wondering what chance you stand against world-class teachers and swanky platforms, the answer is simple – your students want to practice with you.We are all creatures of habit, and we get used to not only the style of the teacher but their voice, humor, and sense of holding space.
Teaching Yoga Online- How To Get Started – The set up – behind the scenes
Making sure that your location is ready for action is important. Obviously, you need enough space to roll out a yoga mat with a little room around you. The following are important things to consider:
- De-clutter your background
- Close the curtains/blinds if you’re in front of a window
- Use a screen to cover up unwanted backdrops
- Add some plants or greener to create a calm, serene vibe
Is it best to use a phone or computer?
This is a tricky one because the cameras on phones are better than those on most computers (There are apps that allow you to use your phone as a webcam extension of your computer).
What is important to remember is that you want to “teach” online not deliver pre-recorded on-demand content. This means that you want to be able to see your students and interact with them. Zoom allows you to view up to 25 people on one screen which is still pretty small but doable.
Ideally, keeping your numbers at 25 or below means that you won’t have to scroll through different screens and will give you a chance to be more present with your students.
Most laptops and phones come with a decent built-in camera these days and while investing in a good webcam is a good idea if you’re only teaching the occasional online class and not worried too much about the quality, then you should be good to go.
Webcams have come a long way in the past few years, and some are better than others for providing good quality, online classes. If you are looking to invest, then, a good budget-friendly option is the Logitech c920 webcam.
An important feature to look out for is the autofocus because you’ll be moving around!
It doesn’t matter how great your camera is if you’re not well lit the quality is going to be significantly diminished. Putting on all of the lights in the room that you are filming is a great idea but most likely they won’t be enough to provide a good quality visual.
If you’re going to be close up to the camera using a ring light is a great idea. This is beneficial if you like being up close to your students or are offering meditation.
Box lights are a great for a big boost of light and work really well for filming yoga classes. Having one shining on each short end of the mat will make a significant difference to the quality.
Like cameras, most computers and phones come with a built-in microphone which can be fine if you’re sitting up close to the device but won’t necessarily work for teaching yoga.
When you’re moving around the sound is going to be muffled at best. When you’re in poses like downward facing dog you’re not going to be speaking toward the microphone! Your students are going to be relying more on sound than visuals as a general rule so prioritize your sound!
Investing in a decent internet connection should be a high priority. It goes without saying that you don’t want your video buffering and your sound distorting due to an unstable connection.
It’s worth using an ethernet cable and not relying on your wifi too as it will speed up your connection.
what to wear
This seems a little silly but making sure that you are clear and visible for your students is an important part of your set up. If you are recording against a white background on a white mat you don’t want to wear white as your visibility will be decreased.
Choose colors that will stand out for your students and allow them to see you clearly on your mat.
How is live stream different to pre-recorded?
We’ve already mentioned zoom. It’s a great platform for providing live stream classes. This means that you can deliver classes in real-time to your students.
Zoom, which is one of the main live stream meeting providers, is a great option but you will lose some quality.
Can you record livestreams and make them available for future use?
The great thing about zoom is that it offers a recording function. This means that you can record your live classes and make them available for your students after the event. You can make the recording downloadable and available for a pre-determined amount of time.
You also have the option of downloading the videos that you record and then uploading them to a platform such as YouTube or vimeo so that you can offer them to a wider audience.
To integrate or not
The most cost-effective way to take payments is through PayPal or Stripe.
You’ll get an email notification when someone books. But this means that you have to take care of the admin and send each customer a link to your zoom meeting individually which can be time consuming (and stressful in the case of last-minute bookings).
Integration happens through a third party scheduling site such as mindbody or Acuity. These platforms act as a booking system and automatically send the meeting link to your students. While they can be expensive, they are a great way to reduce admin.
Zoom now has a separate audio input that allows you to play music, or you can send a playlist to people before the class for them to practice along to. But, don’t forget that you’ll need rights to any music that you play.
Want it to be free?
If you’re looking to provide free classes for your students and you don’t want to absorb the overheads of zoom, then Instagram live is a great choice.
It’s limited to 60 minutes but is viewable for your students for 24hrs after the event.
Teaching Yoga Online- How To Get Started : What about the actual teaching?
Ensuring that you have a good set up for teaching online will make your life easier and will make it a more pleasant experience for your students. However, it’s important to not forget that the teaching is the driving force behind the class.
Your students want to be seen so don’t feel like you have to demo all of the time. Get off your mat and check in with them. This will also help you to feel more connected to them because it can be lonely teaching by yourself in a room.
Take the time to welcome and chat to students as you would if you were in the room with them. A sense of community is just as important online as it is in-person. If people feel a part of something they are more likely to continue showing up.
yoga teaching online – Top Tips
- Get a setup that works for you and try it out beforehand
- Think about your environment and what you wear
- Make your life easier and using a platform that can integrate for you
- Remember to teach your students, not perform for them
- Don’t forget to build a sense of community
- It’s ok to figure it out as you go along. Even the best and most tech-savvy teachers have hiccups and tech mishaps. Don’t panic if things go wrong.
Want to find out more about teaching?
Now we’ve looked at teaching yoga online, why now check out “Yoga Instructor Jobs: 8 Paths To Take After Your Yoga Teacher Training”