Like most yoga teachers, hopefully you’ve welcomed this new year with open arms, and the hopes that it will be even more fruitful than last year!
The skills you learn on the mat – resilience, adaptability and creativity – can all be put to great use off the mat too, and today these skills are needed more than ever. Despite big changes and doubts that online yoga classes wouldn’t work, they’ve actually been shown to bring their own unique benefits.
Benefits of teaching online
- Convenience for both you and your students.
- Easy access with no commuting required.
- Reduced costs compared to using a studio.
- Students aren’t constrained to being local only – you now have the potential to reach a global audience!
- No capacity issues, so the sky’s the limit!
- Flexibility for your students, so they can join wherever they are – even from a stressful business trip.
- Online booking allows you to easily collect students’ contact information and communicate with them directly. For more on this, see How to grow your yoga community with email marketing.
How to make your classes rock
So, now you know what a good idea it is to teach yoga, or other wellbeing classes, online, how can you be sure to make an impact? Follow these 10 simple steps to keep your students coming back for more.
1. Keep your website clear and organised
With your teaching taking place online, your website is the central hub that your classes revolve around. This hub of information is critical for giving a clear message with easy-to-read lists of everything you have to offer.
Think of your website as a journey that your students will go through, and the destination is booking onto one of your classes. The key is to make that journey as clear and easy to follow as possible, so that their booking experience is as stress-free as the class itself.
The best way to do this is to create a clear list or schedule of all your classes and provide a neat roadmap of the booking process. Starting from picking a class, all the way through to how to book, how to pay, and finally, confirming the booking via email with information on what will happen next. You may even want to ask someone else to read through your instructions and check whether they understand how to navigate it. What seems clear to you may not be clear to everyone.
This is super important as it provides the foundation for a successful class. No wonder it’s point number one!
2. Create a seamless booking process
Booking is an essential part of the customer journey, so you need to make sure your booking process is easy to follow and seamlessly integrated with your website. This will also help to make the journey of joining a class even more peaceful.
As with any website that takes payments, you should ensure your site has an SSL certificate installed to provide security for your students’ payments. This certificate will let your students know your website is safe and their payments are protected, allowing for a more seamless booking process.
A great way to ensure your process works smoothly is to test it yourself. Go through the entire process from start to finish, as if you were a brand new student, and see if you experience any issues or notice any areas that could be simplified. Whilst this will go unnoticed to your students, their experience will be much more pleasant and will set them on a path to have an enjoyable class.
3. Craft the perfect confirmation email
Now that you’re set up online and widely accessible to a potentially global audience, it’s highly likely that you’ll have some first time yoga students signing up to your classes. In order to ease any uncertainty and ensure a smooth session, it’s a good idea to ensure you have a very clearly written confirmation email to give them all the information they need for what happens next.
Your email could include some or all of the following:
- The time, date and teacher of the class they’ve booked.
- Details of how to access the class. E.g. will they be sent a Zoom link an hour before the class starts? Or do they need to login to their account to access it?
- Can they join a few minutes early to get set up?
- How much space do they need to be comfortable?
- Do they need a yoga mat? Or any props? Can you suggest alternative props they might have at home, such as a belt instead of a yoga strap, a thick book instead of a block, or cushions and blankets instead of a bolster?
- Is there anything else they should do to prepare for the class, e.g. not eat for an hour before, switch off their phone, or have a glass of water handy?
- What happens if they need to cancel or they’ve booked the wrong class?
Not only does a clear email help any new students find their way, but it gives a professional and experienced feel for everyone taking your classes.
4. Create a welcoming atmosphere
Now that the practical aspect of booking onto a class is sorted, you want to ensure you have good sound and lighting set up. A warm and calming atmosphere is the perfect antidote to the potentially cold and impersonal dynamic of online teaching.
Although your students won’t be in the room with you, they’ll often be looking at your video to follow your guidance. So, it’s a good idea to clear the space around you, light a few candles and create a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere for your students.
This will do wonders for minimising distractions and encouraging your students to feel open and expansive in their practice. Plus, it’s a good excuse to keep your space neat and tidy even when you’re not teaching. You might be ok with used tissues, dirty coffee cups or last night’s dinner plates still sitting on the coffee table, but it doesn’t give your students a very good impression! Treat your home practice area the same you would a yoga studio and your students will thank you for it.
5. Check your technical settings
Zoom gives you lots of options for personalising your sessions and it’s a good idea to keep up to speed on these settings, so you can adjust them to your liking.
One useful feature you can decide on is whether you want to allow students to join your session while you’re still setting up, or opt to have them sent to an automatic waiting room so that you can manually allow them entry. This can be great if you want everyone to enter the room together, if you want to allow a few minutes for people to chat at the start, or if you want to avoid any awkward silences with the one student who shows up 10 minutes early. There’s always one.
Another option you can decide on is whether everyone joins your class with their microphones unmuted. By selecting this option, it allows your students to do all of the chatting their hearts desire, until it’s time to start and you can ask them to mute their mics, or mute everyone yourself.
Some other useful settings you might want to take a look at are:
- Passcode for entry
- Meeting lock
- Prior authentication of who can join
- Access to the chat
- Sound alert notifications
For more technical info about setting up your online yoga classes, see 7 tips for yoga teachers using Zoom.
6. Make sure your housekeeping is tip top
It may seem obvious, but taking a few minutes before each class to run through any housekeeping points with your students, can help them feel relaxed and reassured.
The best way for your sessions to run smoothly without any interruptions is for everyone to be on the same page and understand what they need to do. These are examples of some of the points you might want to mention:
- Should students mute their own mics during the session?
- Should they keep their camera on so you can offer guidance?
- Do they need any props to take part in the session?
- What should they do if they need to ask a question? (E.g. unmute themselves or type in the chat box?)
- A short explanation of the structure of the class might be useful, especially if there’s a meditation session at the end, for example.
Feel free to pick out the points that are relevant to you and best suit your teaching style and run through them before you begin. The aim of this step is to set your students’ expectations and the clearer you can make this, the smoother your class will run.
7. Post a troubleshooting guide on your website
As mentioned above, your website is your central hub for your class information, and you’ll undoubtedly receive emails or messages from students with technical questions about Zoom.
It’s very likely that after some time of teaching your yoga classes online, you’ll have noticed a lot of frequently asked questions and other common technical issues that students face.
In order to plan ahead and cover all bases, create a section on your website (linked to from your confirmation email) with a troubleshooting guide. This should cover all the frequently asked questions you’ve received and any technical guidance that may be useful. It could include where to find the access code and password, how to join the class, and guidance on other technical issues, such as what to do if you can’t join and how to set your Zoom session to speaker view.
It may even be a good idea to mention in your initial confirmation email that students should take a quick look at this guide, prior to the class, in order to prevent any technical issues at the time of the session.
As I’m sure you’ve heard time and time again, communication is key. And that’s never been more true than with your own yoga classes.
Personal acknowledgement can help your students to push themselves in your sessions and really get the most out of the time with you. A great way of doing this is to periodically communicate with them during the class. This can be done by complementing students on a great pose, or offering any minor adjustments or alternatives if you see someone struggling.
Another method of good communication is to take a few moments at the start of the session to learn your students’ names. It may seem trivial, but it will give a personal touch to your class, help your students feel more engaged, and also help to minimise interruption if you need to speak directly to a student during the class.
9. Breathe in. Breathe out. And smile.
As much as you prepare, and as many blog posts as you read, there’s always room to make mistakes. So do as you teach, and take a nice big deep breath.
It’s guaranteed that over the numerous classes you give, you’ll make some mistakes either in your teaching or with any technical issues. So, don’t take yourself too seriously, highlight it when it happens and laugh at yourself!
If anything, it’ll help to break down any barriers between you and your students and let them know that you’re just as capable as they are of making mistakes. So, encourage your students to not take their practice too seriously either, and remind them to smile every now and then. It’s a great way to release tension and to hold things a little more lightly.
Give it a go as you’re reading this, it’ll work wonders 🙂
10. Take some time to reconnect
Finally, at the end of the session, come together, unmute mics, and say goodbye.
After spending time together in the session, it’s nice to take a moment to thank your students for joining you and offer to answer any questions if you’re able to stick around. Alternatively, let them know how they can get hold of you if they want to ask any questions following the class.
It’s important to be available as a teacher, just like you would if you were finishing up an in-person session in a studio. Your students will feel connected and supported by you, and it’s a great opportunity to get a feel for how they found the session and whether there’s anything that needs to be adjusted for next time
Need more help?
There’s always room to make your classes rock even more, so that both you and your students can make the most of your time together.
If you have any questions about any of the tips in this post, or you’re after some guidance on how to run your own Zoom yoga sessions, get in touch to book a free consultation.
We’re happy to help.