Lots of yoga teachers are, quite justifiably, worried about making an income and serving their students during the COVID-19 lockdown.
One of the best ways to keep students safe and the bills paid is to teach online. But if you’re a technophobe, where do you start?
This simple guide is designed for yoga teachers who are thinking about teaching online but have no idea where to start. That was me a few years ago.
I'm passionate about helping yoga teachers do great work. I've spent a few years building the knowledge and confidence to teach yoga online. Sharing that experience with other teachers is one of the most useful things I can do in the current climate.
I run accredited professional teacher trainings in yoga therapy and meditation as well as teaching and mentoring my students online. Even after several years of offering online yoga, my set up is pretty simple. You don’t need to have a lot of expensive equipment and tonnes of techie expertise to get started. Here’s how you do it:
*FYI I don’t have any financial interest in any of the products discussed here. I’m just telling you what I know :)
Watch the video or scroll down for the transcript and links:
1. The EASY solution
If you don’t want to organise payment or scheduling of your online classes, all you need is a smart phone and either Zoom or Facebook Live.
Set up your phone at the right height (I use a table and yoga blocks to get it right), probably around 3-4m away from your yoga mat. Check you can see your head and feet in the frame. If not, move the phone further back until you can. Get your mat in the centre of the frame.
For FB live, just tell people to Friend you on FB, let them know what time you’ll be going live, the press the start button. Hey presto.
For Zoom, set up a ‘meeting’ and send people the meeting link. You can email it or advertise it on your social media channels. Make sure you highlight when the class is running. Then just start the meeting and wait for people to join you. Zoom is free if you keep the class to 40 mins or less.
2. The QUITE EASY solution
Using your phone without a webcam or microphone is fine if your voice projects well and you’re ok with ‘medium’ quality images.
Using Facebook live is fine…. if you’re happy for FB to own your intellectual property.
Using Zoom free version is fine…. if you’re happy to stick to 40 min classes.
Using your phone is fine…...if you’re happy with variable visual and audio quality.
However, if you want to up your game, here are the next steps:
- Use a laptop and webcam - Logitech have good webcams for under $200 (I've got a C930e).
- Get a Bluetooth headset and connect it to your phone/laptop so your students can hear you clearly when you’re 3m away doing downdog! Plantronics have good ones for under $200 (I've got a Voyager 3200).
- Get lighting - the best light is natural light. However, if that’s not an option, get a ring light and sit it right where your phone/webcam sits, pointing directly at you (I like the Neewer LED ring lights - Amazon does them).
- Sign up for the Zoom Pro plan ($20.99 per month). Unlimited class lengths and unlimited participants.
3. The ‘GET PAID' solution
I get all my payments up front. It helps with cash flow, it makes sure students turn up and it means you don’t need a fancy platform for delivering your online classes. You can do this with a payment solution like Paypal or Stripe and a landing page. Here’s how:
Set up a page on your website that advertises whatever you’re selling - that can be an 8 week batch of classes or a subscription that students sign up to. Students then click through to Paypal or Stripe to pay for the classes or subscription.
Once you’ve received payment, you can let the student into your Zoom classes by sending them a link, or you can admit them to a private Facebook group if that’s where you’re teaching.
4. The ‘FANCY’ solution
There are platforms that do it all for you - the video streaming, the payments, the emails, the marketing. Of course, they don’t come free.
The ‘do it all for you’ yoga platform is Namastream. However, you can set things up nicely with Vimeo too - they have great subscription options and integrate with your email marketing systems. There are other platforms, but these are ones I know about and have either used myself or have buddies using them.
Nikola Ellis is the founder of Adore Yoga, yoga therapist, counsellor and teacher trainer. She conducts regular trainings that help people of all ages, shapes and abilities enjoy the benefits of yoga and meditation, including Meditation Facilitator Certificate Trainings; Level 1 200hr Teacher Training and Post Graduate Yoga Teacher Training in Mental Health, Adaptive Asana and the Foundations of Yoga Therapy and a highly regarded professional 650hr Graduate Certificate of Yoga Therapy.