While lockdown might be lifting and slowly but surely life starts to resume back to normality, it seems like online yoga classes are here to stay. That is good news for all, since it offers yoga teachers a way to connect with their clients no matter where they may be based. This has opened up so many opportunities for old clients to reconnect with favourite teachers and has made yoga more accessible to people who may have not been able to travel to a yoga studio or have the confidence to try a new class beforehand.
Most yoga teachers will have tried some kind of online teaching over the last year, whether it was on Instagram Live, Skype, Zoom, Youtube or one of the many platforms like Kuula that have been springing up to meet the demand. If you are still on the fence about offering online classes – why not offer your private clients the option to join you online when they are travelling or otherwise would not be able to meet up in person for their session? This would be a way to ease you into teaching online while still offering an excellent option to your clients.
If you have been teaching online, you’ve probably gotten in to the swing of things are are enjoying the freedom and ease with which we can now all connect with each other virtually. Many of us have found it easy to adapt to the online world since all you really need to get going teaching online is a laptop or ipad and yourself! But in the same way that we seek better and more professional yoga studios to teach in, or studio spaces that align more closely with our ethos as a yoga teacher, so too should our home studio become an example of the type of yoga class we would want to put out into the world. Take your setup and see if you can upscale any areas of it so that you can continue to provide your clients with quality classes.
When I did a survey to my clients about half way through the lockdown, I asked what are the most important factors they consider when taking online classes. It was surprising to see that ‘pace of the class’ was high up on the list, but not surprising was that ‘visual’ and ‘audio’ came out tops. This makes complete sense, since your clients will need to be able to see and hear you clearly to be able to enjoy learning and being guided through their class.
Start with audio
Whether you are teaching meditation or power yoga, your clients are going to be tuning inwards and probably closing their eyes as they get deeper into their practise. That is why audio is such an important factor when teaching online. My go to recommendation for those wanting to upgrade to a microphone would be the Rode Wireless Go, which for a mic comes in at a relatively affordable price and is amazing quality. It is also small, easy to set up and discrete. Other options for mics include a wired mic or to use Bluetooth headphones such as airpods.
Give some thought to the spaces your have access to and see whether it may be time to shift your home studio to another part of your home. Can you move any furniture around or make some adjustments to fully commit to having a comfortable space to teach online? One of the easiest changes to make is to find a space with natural light and to use that to your advantage. Lighting plays such an important role in online teaching and you will want to be able to show up light and bright on the screen to your clients. A worthwhile investment to improve your lighting would be to get a softbox setup – ranging in prices to also make this an affordable addition. I would recommend getting these two softboxes, which will prevent any shadows and provide good light coverage. Make sure to get foldable ones so that you can easily pack them down and take them with you wherever you go. Other options for lighting include getting a ring light.
And lastly … community
One of the easiest changes you can make to improving your online yoga classes is to focus more on building a community. You could open the class 15 minutes early to allow yogis to join beforehand for a catch up or to introduce themselves if they are new. Another great option is to stay online after the class to answer any questions or offer recommendations and feedback for your clients. All these little bits of time dedicate to hearing from your clients instead of just teaching at them will add up, creating a more personal feel to your classes and replicating that studio-friendly vibe we all love and miss with virtual classes.