In this guide, I will show you how to teach yoga online using Zoom, Youtube Live, Facebook Live and other platforms.
Online yoga classes are currently burgeoning right now because of the virus. Many studios are trying to find ways to continue to make money, and the internet seems to be the way to go.
In my guide to becoming a yoga teacher I covered all the essential basics. In this guide I will focus on showing you how to teach yoga online, specifially.
How To Teach Yoga Online
Today I received an email from a studio asking me how to teach yoga online. That studio had been forced to close because of the current political situation. But I assured them that they can on the internet and continue to make money.
Not only this, but there are significant benefits to having a web presence in 2020.
The world is moving online. That’s why we’re seeing so many new courses, like online Buddhism courses lessons, meditation lessons, and more.
For studios, moving online is essential to keeping your business alive. The forced closure of gyms and studios means that delivering lessons online is currently the only option. The good news is that you can get set-up relatively quickly and cheaply, and I will show you how in this guide.
There’s good things about online yoga lessons for students, too.
For students, the forced closure of studios means that it is more important now than ever to support your health. If you have been forced to stop going to work then it is also an opportune moment to develop your practice. And finally, it is important to support your local teachers.
Live streaming on Zoom, Facebook Live or Youtube Live, or recording videos
When it comes to teaching yoga online, you have two basic options: live streaming classes, or creating a complete course that people can follow along to at their own base.
I am going to suggest that if you have a local studio that is currently closed, you should use live streaming. Why? Because the last thing you want is to lose your relationship with your students during this time, and doing live streams with videos will help people to feel like they are still there with you at the class. You can even live-stream your classes at the same time you usually do them at the studio. This will help to prevent the loss of students.
For those of you who already run a studio, I highly advise you to teach yoga online in live streams from your usual studio. You want your students to feel like they are still in your actual classes.
First up, ask your teachers to support you by doing videos at your location (if this is allowed in your area—which you will need to check). Otherwise, shoot the videos yourself.
To do this, you will need a high-quality camera with a tripod in the studio. I won’t talk about actually using the camera or lighting or anything like that because that’s more a topic for a tech blog.
Next, make sure to tell your members that you will be doing lessons on the internet. Hopefully, you have a Facebook page or some other way to reach out to your members to inform them. Give them at least a few days notice before the class.
Make sure you are interacting with your audience by responding to their comments. This will make them feel like they are part of the lesson, which is precisely what you want.
Have a place to accept donations, such as via PayPal. Ask your members to contribute via donations.
Thank your members for their support.
Rules for moving online
Before I reveal how to run a studio online, there are a few laws that we have to adhere to. I think that if we briefly recount these laws you will start to see why there is only one option for managing your lessons for however long this situation goes on for, which could be many months.
The Rules And Laws of moving your existing studio online
1: Keep your physical studio closed.
2: Do not use the virus for your marketing. Yes, some companies have intentionally used the fear of the situation to market their business and they have had their licenses revoked Not only is this immoral, it is a terrible business move.
3: Keep your studio alive no matter what, and maintain contact with your members. The current situation will end and you will want your members to still feel like part of the family when it does end.
4: Keep running lessons (more on this in just a moment)
5: Refuse to close your business. Period. As bad as the time is it is also a financial opportunity. Because other studios will close. You will end up with less competition. By fighting through this rough patch you will come out on the other side stronger (and with more students).
*If you need help with this, email me at Paulh [AT] TheDailyMeditation.com
So, here we come to the very essential question that every yoga teacher is asking: How do you run a studio when you are forced to close.
And honestly, as far as I am aware there is basically only one single solution here: You need to move online. Period.
Many studios have already started to do this. In Toronto I’ve seen MisFit Studio, F45 St. Clair West, YYOGA, Golden Chain, Planet Fitness, and Fit Factory all start (or continue) giving online yoga classes.
Many studios and are heading online to keep their businesses alive.
To manage your business during this time you are going to need to start giving yoga lessons onine [for inspiration, here are some of the best online yoga classes].
You will probably want to start streaming live.
But if this sounds daunting, don’t worry too much. The good news is: You already have members. Sure, your regular in-class members might not be able to actually go, physically, to your studio, but they can still take your lessons on the internet and many will want to do so because they already have a relationship with you and your business
So, to cut it short: You’re heading online. Now let’s talk about how.
When it comes to setting up a yoga studio online, or a meditation studio, there is the conventional way, and then there is the 2020 way.
The conventional way of setting up your online yoga studio involves creating a website (probably using WordPress), a Facebook page and other social media properties, marketing your website, and so on.
This is not the best strategy right now. Why? Because of time constraints. We’ve all been hit with this situation out of nowhere and you probably do not have the time to do conventional website set-up.
Instead, to keep your business alive during isolation, you want to go the fastest route possible.
The fastest route possible involves using whatever resources you have now. Do you have a Facebook or Instagram page, a Youtube channel, or, at least, your yoga students’ phone numbers or email addresses?
Whatever information you have, that is what you are going to use to start getting students to take your online yoga classes.
The method is simple: Take whatever information you have; message or call your students to tell them you’re going to give lessons online, and start giving the lessons.
Whatever method of contact you have for your students, send them a message saying that you’re moving online, and ask them to inform any of their friends who take your classes.
Setting it up
There are a few things you will need in order to produce yoga lessons online.
You will need:
- A space to film in
- A camera
- Someone to lead the lesson and someone to shoot the video
- A platform to stream live yoga lessons on
- A way for members to pay.
Let’s take a look at each of these things in turn.
What you will need
Because you already own a studio, you already have a space to film in. However, filming a yoga lesson with one person in the room (the teacher) is not the same as giving an actual group class.
You want your sessions to look professional on camera. That is not the same the same thing as looking professional in person.
Looking professional on camera requires proper lighting for your filming space (Trainerize has a good guide to this).
You also need the group atmosphere without the group. To do this, make sure you film the teacher close-up so it looks intimate and doesn’t show the painfully empty studio all around you.
You might also like to include branding elements in the shoot, which you can do with video overlays, with props, or with clothing (get the teacher to wear a branded t-shirt).
To look professional on film you’re going to need an excellent camera. You might get away with using a good phone like the iPhone 11 Pro Max. But for best results, you will want a good video camera. I recommend using an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, which has excellent video quality and which TheTechLounge calls the best camera for vlogging).
Yoga teacher or meditation teacher, and videographer
You will also need someone to record the yoga classes. You have a few different options here. You could simply get someone at your studio to film the classes, but the quality wouldn’t be too good. You could hire a professional videographer, but it would be an expense you don’t need right now. The third and best option is to reach-out to a local amateur videographer and get them to film it for you. They will be happy for the experience and you will get high-quality video. Obviously make sure you meet the World Health Organizations guidelines for safety during this time when working with other people.
Recording your yoga lessons is just one part of the puzzle. You also need a platform to host your sessions online.
You have a few options:
1: Facebook Live
Facebook Live is a very easy way to stream yoga classes online. You can choose your audience, get real-time feedback in comments, and track the number of viewers you have.
Live is an online live-streaming app for Windows, Mac, iOS and cameras like GoPro that have internet capabilities. You can stream multiple session and to live on Youtube Live and Facebook Live at the same.
3: Youtube Live
Youtube Live is Google’s free streaming tool that allows you to broadcast up to ten video streams simultaneously. To watch the stream, members will need a link (which is ideal because you can charge people for the link). Youtube Live also lets you create a community atmosphere with comments and there’s also event scheduling.
I’m going to suggest that the best option is to use Youtube Live for yoga classes. Then, you can charge students for the link so you can continue to make money.
Setting Up You Youtube Live Streams For Yoga Classes
It’s now time to set up your online yoga classes.
Because I believe it is the best option, I will show you how to set-up your Youtube Live stream and get paid for it. However, Zoom, Instagram, and Facebook are largely the same.
Youtube Live is a free service with an easy monetisation option. You can set your Youtube Live Event to Unlisted so that only people who have your stream URL can view it (for which you can charge). You might like to see Google’s official FAQ on this. You can also embed your video in a website page and then charge for access to that page. Reach out to me at PaulH [AT] TheDailyMeditation.com if you’d like to run your stream here.
To go live on Youtube Live all you need to do is click the camera button on the top-right of Youtube, then choose LIVE. From there you can fill out all your live stream information.
You can also use Youtube to manage your sessions as shown in the image.
Then, to start live streaming your lessons, all you need to do is hit STREAM NOW.
How To Get Paid Online
Getting paid for online yoga classes is actually easy if you follow the guide above.
Using the Youtube Live option, all you need to do is make sure that your stream is set to Unlisted (so that Youtube doesn’t make your live stream public). Then you can charge for the URL. You can simply use PayPal to accept payments in exchange for the link to your Youtube Live Stream. You’ll then want to create a different Youtube URL for each of your live streams so your students pay for each individual stream.
Whether you’re a new teacher or you’re a studio owner who’s been forced to close, there is a lot to gain by teaching yoga online. There’s a huge potential audience, the ability to show videos not just to local members but around the world, and the possibility of going viral (which would be huge for your business).
If you need help with any of this please either leave a comment or email me at paulh [AT] TheDailyMeditation.com
For more, read my guide to coronavirus & meditation / yoga.
- Information and Resources from Yoga Alliance
- Resource Guide for Yoga Teachers (compiled by the community, spear-headed by Amber Karnes)
- Accessible Yoga Facebook Group– lots of great information and resources here
- What You Need to Teach Online, by Ashley Zuberi
- Definitive Guide to Teaching Video Enabled Movement Classes
- Online Teaching Contracts & Agreements