Teaching Yoga Online In 2022Feb 28, 2022
So here we are, finding ourselves almost two years later still navigating how to teach, interact and be healthy and safe at all times. Many of us never thought that we’d still be here an entire year later, let alone that we would consider teaching virtually. This was something once reserved for the yoga teachers considered the best yoga teachers internationally.
Perhaps, like many, you thought that this will be over in a couple of weeks. You thought it best to use the time to slow down, relax a bit and treat it like a mini staycation. But noticeably, after the first couple of weeks, you missed your students, you missed your classroom energy, your vibe and most of all teaching. Maybe, you jumped right in and tried your hand at every turn. Perhaps, it didn’t resonate with you so you chose to wait a bit longer and again, here we are.
So, barring having an in-home recording studio with pristine white walls and a blank canvas to work with, you shifted like the rest of us. Moving furniture around, hanging scarves or blankets behind you to hide your bookshelves. Propped your camera, phone, laptop, tablet or iPad on a chair or a couch cushion with pillows to make a scene and then wondered what to do!
Well, fortunately, since we weren’t alone, this is a great opportunity to learn from each other. I’d like to share a bit of my experience, pros, cons and the like of trying three virtual platforms in the hopes to teach a successful online class.
In watching the world pop up for every occasion on FB Live, what worked best for myself and several teaching friends initially, was to create a private FB group. This not only made us feel a bit less vulnerable (again learning curve) but it also allowed those that wanted to join us more specifically to be admitted into the group after answering some basic questions as well as allowing the teachers to feel as though they were in a guarded, yet empowering and safe environment of students, we were able to more specifically invite our current students and demographic into the space and continue to build and hold our community together. It also allowed us to establish a precise schedule, bringing continuity and familiarity to our practice and teaching once again. The settings on Facebook improved tremendously from March 2021 to the current time. You can easily change the orientation to 16:9 widescreen, you can mirror the image so that you could appear to practice on the same side of the body as your students or make sure that if you had words on your shirt they would appear in the correct direction. You also have the ability to interact with emojis or a quick comment or sentence as class goes on. As we learned further, we found that you can tag your students in the commentary prior to starting class to alert them that you are “live” as a reminder when class begins as well as play music from a separate speaker in the background (but you would need to type, “I do not own the rights to this music” when labeling your class to avoid facebook adding in a mute feature after it has been published for future viewing). Lastly, you can decided to leave the videos there for viewing for perpetuity of your students to one to them as they need or another great feature is that you are able to save your videos and can upload them to a google, one drive or Dropbox to share outside of this for free as well.
An option that we did not take advantage of was to “bring someone on live” which would possibly seem quite like zoom, however, we weren’t aware of what our students might be doing behind their cameras, so it was not something that we wanted to implement.
The next attempt came through Instagram Live. Now, as far as teaching goes, I have only tried this once. I found it to be amazing for podcasts and live interviews when I was brought on by various hosts, however, to teach a specialty class, I figured it would be just a simple as using FB live or zoom so, I turned my camera orientation to 16:9 for a full wide screen affect having now done this many times logged into the account and pressed “live”. Initially, it all appeared to be going well and everything looked the same to me on screen, however while teaching I began to notice that the orientation of the words of who was watching and commenting scrolled sideways along the page making it eligible to me. It was also just as easy to utilize music in the background at the same time as the class, however, upon its conclusion, the saved and uploaded video played back choppy as the motion of my mouth did not match the spoken words. This did not change even after trying to play it back on different platforms. Since this time, they have upgraded to reels, but the same effect takes place should you change to orientation of the view.
Last, we come to zoom. With a strong WiFi connection, this was ideal. You can control who is entering by enabling a waiting room, create a specific or designated password for each class, set it in your calendar for perpetuity or with and end date (great for series), invite as many students as you would like, whether it is via direct email, regular text or whatsapp and was viable for use all over the world or even offer personalized privates with full interaction. Teaching from a U.S. location base, there haven’t been any issues connecting with students in Europe, the UK, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Canada or any of the 50 states barring serious weather or power outages in their areas. You also have the ability to mute your participants upon arrival and it provides them with the option to either have their video on or off depending on how they feel that day. You may even post announcements in the chat to greet everyone or to share pertinent information, reminders, playlist links, payment options, etc. There are a few ways to successfully play music or be heard on zoom clearly as well. You can utilize EarPods, a mic or voice amplifier or simply play music in the background whether it is on the device that you are using or on a separate speaker in the same space.
All of these options are extremely affordable and conducive to your students depending upon what you are seeking to achieve. It has grown to a space of being able to offer a continued Human connection, support, interactive meetings and so much more. In all forms, although we are all apart, they each bring us closer together in our chosen tribes.