How to effectively teach Yoga online?
#Being online has different rules altogether
Changing ecosystem of teaching Yoga
One of the most important things in teaching Yoga has been to learn it under the guidance of a qualified teacher.
With better technologies available, slowly it was going global. The reason was that not everyone was able to get access to a good teacher in his area.
But a gigantic shift has happened due to current times, and it won’t be the same once the situation improves.
In the beginning, most people were assuming that a cure will be found in some time or the virus will die out in warm weather. Both of these stipulations didn’t pan out so far.
This has led to people who had running centers to check out the online class ecosystem. Up to a level, everyone was able to figure it out.
Unique issues related to online teaching of yoga
Apart from the usual tech-related issues, there are many issues that yoga teachers are facing in current times.
Individual teachers are finding it difficult to expand.
When you are having a physical center, it has costs that are visible. In the case of online classes, taking that much doesn’t seem justified.
Moreover, when you are a reputed center in your area, that is pretty much a monopoly. That again is not the same in the case of online classes. When a student has to pay, he can pay anyone in the whole world.
This sounds overtly commercial, isn’t it? Yup.
But, for a moment, think from a student’s perspective. The way the advertising industry works is that when any of your students watch your video on youtube, he is also getting suggestions about other videos.
The same goes for Facebook. Anyone interested in health will see some of the sponsored videos on their newsfeed. Every day.
This means it is a matter of time when your classes are done, a percentage of people will always look for novelty. It’s natural.
Ironically, this novelty-seeking mind is we tackle the most through yoga.
Thus, You can’t just advertise a class, deliver it, and automatically assume that students will come back.
You need to find a way to deliver that personal touch, that is automatic and natural in an in-person class.
How to manage audio quality
In a studio, as a teacher, you are audible, wherever you are in the room.
This is not true in the case of live classes. With a slight change in your position, movement, your volume changes.
This is true especially if you’re trying to demonstrate an asana while teaching it. You can know the difference by recording your voice when you are teaching triangle as compared to let’s say shoulder stand.
And then there is a problem of wires getting tangled when you’re shifting from one posture to the other.
Here are the three things that I have seen to actually work:
1. Get someone to practice while you teach
This one works the best. Anyone from your home nearby you can come over you can ask that person to practice while you're teaching by sitting near the phone.
There are many things that you remember only when you're observing someone in practice. These small things create a real-life experience for any student.
2. Teach someone on the screen while you teach
This one works best when you are conducting a class on the video conference app like zoom.
There is a future in Zoom in which you can choose which of the videos can be the Spotlight video. Any video, that is spotlight video is visible to everyone who is practicing that class.
The site creates an experience that is very similar to teaching someone in person.
3. Voiceover your own practice.
This one is quite difficult to execute. And it requires complete planning of the class.
The benefit here is that you can actually teach a class with perfect demonstrations as well as a perfect voice to support that.
Here is how you do it. First, practice the class with total focus on how you are looking in the camera. Then replay that class on your laptop and record your instructions to match the movements of the class.
The difficulty here is that you need to know how to use a voice editing or video editing software so that you can overlay your instructions on top of the video. And frankly, it requires the most time.
4. Demonstrate and teach alternatively
And then this is the last way in which you demonstrate the asana and you give me instructions sequentially.
You can give the instructions first and then you can say, “watch me how to do it” and then you demonstrate.
The problem with this approach is it slows down the class and it is best used if you are introducing the students to any new asana.
How to manage the background noise in an online class
The other irritating factor is the background noise that is captured by your microphone.
One of the easiest solutions is to try to teach the class when the environment around you is pretty calm.
Or you can use a background noise cancellation app. The one I use and recommend is Krisp (Affiliate link).
It is easy to use, very effective and works with plenty of apps. Moreover, you get around 120 min free per week. Even if you subscribe to a paid plan, the cost less than $4 per month.
Important after the class check
In a physical class, you are physically present to create energy in the class. In an online class, it is only your voice. Your video is no different than other participants in the class.
Thus, it is very important to improve the quality of your sound to have an effective class.
In the first few classes, despite your preparation, there are few things that will go not exactly as planned. Or, even if they do, you can do certain things better.
I will strongly suggest that you watch the recording of your class and note down points about what you can do better.
- Your overall flow in the class.
- Overall look or sound of the class.
There are few areas of teaching, which will get back to what it was before the current pandemic led social behavior.
But, few things are not going to change. Like online classes. They are going to stay.
Earlier it was led by few early adopters of online teaching. Now, nearly everyone is forced to adapt to that.
And it has some benefits, which will keep it going.
- If the student has moved to a different location, they can still have the class from the same teacher.
- Students who were not able to attend classes due to the schedule can now plan it at a time when it is more convenient.
- Less time in commuting to the Yoga center means more regular practice. When a student had to travel to the center, a 1-hour class meant nearly 2 hours of total commitment. In online classes, 1 hour means 1 hour. That is easy to commit and stick to.
So, please take the time and build a proper strong structure for your online classes. As a Yoga teacher, It will help you a lot in the long term.