With all that’s going on in our world today, we need to offer our yoga community new and innovative ways to maintain their practices and stay connected.
As you can imagine, many yoga teachers are beginning to offer online yoga classes via Zoom, a video conferencing platform that allows for live streaming for a virtual yoga practice. Through a Zoom meeting, yoga instructors are giving their students the live interaction they crave amid these times of social distancing.
And I am all about it.
I have been offering online 200-hour and 300/500-hour yoga teacher training programs for the past 5 years and I lead them through live calls through the Zoom app. All that you need is the Zoom app, a Zoom link to direct your students to the meeting, and access to a solid internet connection.
With that, you can lead online yoga classes from anywhere in the world (including your self-imposed quarantine).
This article is broken down into two sections, which you can jump ahead to based on what you want to know right now:
As you begin your virtual teaching journey, I want to share my best practices for leading live classes so that you can start teaching online yoga classes too.
Once you have your Zoom account set up, follow these steps to navigate your way through live streaming your online yoga classes.
1. Test The Zoom Link
Email your students a test link ahead of time to test their connection and familiarize themselves with Zoom. This way, there is no time lost during the yoga class and you can begin at the scheduled start time.
Pro Tip: Send the link to your students ahead of time and then again 10 minutes before class begins so that they can find it easily.
2. Test Your Connection And Audio
Always test your connection and audio before going live each time. As reliable as your internet provider may be, you’d be surprised how many issues pop up at the last minute, throwing your entire schedule off. You can easily run your browser through a speed test or just click around a few web pages to make sure it’s working alright.
To test your audio, simply run through these steps with Zoom open:
- Click the upward pointing arrow next to the microphone icon to open the Audio options.
- Select Test Speaker & Microphone.
- Follow the prompts to test your speakers (whether external or via headset)
- Follow the prompts to test your microphone (whether external or via headset)
- Once you’ve finished the testing, click finish and close the window
3. Open Your Room Early
Open your meeting 10-15 minutes before the scheduled start time. Prior to starting your meeting, log on to Zoom and check for any software updates.
I like to open the app ahead of the start time just to make sure that my speakers and microphone are working, that my connection is stable, and that I’m in the right mind space to begin when the others join.
Pro Tip: As your students join your room, chat with them a bit to make sure that the audio and playback is working properly.
4. Select Speaker View
When you are ready to begin your meeting, ensure that your screen is on Speaker View and that all other participants are muted (option for you to mute all by clicking on “Manage Participants” and selecting “mute all”).
This is helpful for those who join late and sometimes do so noisily. It also helps keep the studio atmosphere, staying true to the mindfulness aspect of your yoga practice.
You can also choose which video to keep the focus on by selecting “Spotlight Video”. This ensures that your instructional video remains at the forefront of the meeting, even if others are speaking or accidentally making distracting sounds (which would normally pull the focus to them).
First, go to “Manage Participants”:
Then select “Spotlight Video”:
5. Invest in Quality Equipment
Even with the best online course platforms available, it’s still important to invest in a few tools to make the learning experience as best as it can be for your students. Consider investing in a quality webcam and wireless microphone to create a quality, high-touch experience for your audience. I use Logitech Webcam and Samson Microphone.
If you plan to move through the asana practice with your students as you teach yoga, then a wearable microphone will significantly improve the experience for both you as the instructor and for the students. These are my top picks for microphones for making YouTube videos and this is a breakdown of how to choose a microphone for your DSLR or smartphone camera.
While these tools aren’t absolutely necessary, it will certainly make the entire experience better for your students. There is nothing worse than having to step off your yoga mat to turn up the volume or double-check what yoga postures are being called out simply because the sound is good.
Pro Tip: Using a Bluetooth microphone allows you to move around your room and yoga mat without getting tangled up in wires.
6. Create A High-Touch Experience
Balance the use of visual demonstration and verbal cueing, just as you would in a studio class. When students are holding postures, switch your view from Speaker View to Gallery View so can observe and offer personalized cues.
In restorative yoga or hatha yoga, for example, you might take the time to guide their attention or breath. With more technical yoga styles, like Iyengar yoga or Ashtanga yoga, it’s super important to check on their alignment. Just like you would in regular classes, check in on your students throughout the duration of the class time.
Pro Tip: Ask everyone to turn their cameras on so that you can remain engaged with them. Be mindful that some might not be comfortable with that and that’s okay. In that case, you will need to demo the whole class just to keep the energy and engagement up.
7. Build a Reusable Product
Record your Live classes and create reusable digital assets for your business now and moving forward. By recording your Zoom meeting (aka online yoga class), you not only allow yourself to observe the flow and learn how to improve your skills as an online yoga instructor, but you also give yourself the opportunity to offer that class again, even when you’re not there.
Some of my most lucrative work comes from offering yoga and meditation classes via yoga videos that anyone can join, even if they’re not live.
I’ve also recorded many live classes in my online teacher training courses about the different types of yoga, the Yoga Sutras, and other yoga lessons that are not necessarily asana practice just so that I can offer this valuable information to students later on.
Anything teachable can be made into videos if you have the right tools 🙂
To record your meetings and online yoga classes, first go to “Meeting Settings” and then go to the “Recording” tab. Navigate to the “Local Recording” option and move the toggle so that the setting is on.
Once your meeting begins, click the “Record” button and select “Record on this Computer.”
Pro Tip: Recording it to your computer makes it SO much easier to find your recordings later and upload them to your YouTube channel or website.
#1 Can I stream music live on Zoom?
Yes, and very few people know this HUGE secret tip I am about to share with you! You can stream music directly from your computer into Zoom so your students are hearing high-quality music just as if they were streaming Spotify from their own computer.
Most people just play their music from external speakers in the background but the quality is not good and if you are wearing a microphone the sound will become even more distorted. Use this secret tip to create a quality audio experience for your students!
Follow these steps for how to stream your music live on Zoom:
- Start or join a meeting
- Click the “Share Screen” button in the bottom toolbar
- Click “Music or Computer Sound Only”
- Click “Share”
#2 How can I collect payment?
The easiest way to collect payment is to arrange payments or donations through Venmo or Paypal. Both are easy to set up and don’t require any credit card processing.
Alternatively, if you use a yoga scheduling program, then you can automatically collect payments through the app.
#3 Can I record my Zoom yoga class and share replays?
Yes, you can record to the cloud or your computer.
Once you have started your meeting, look for the record button in the bottom toolbar, click record to choose where you would like to record (I prefer to record directly to my computer).
Recording will automatically begin once you make your selection. You can pause the recording at any time and resume by clicking the play button. Once you stop recording, you will not be able to resume, so if you plan to only record portions of your recording, be sure to use pause.
After you end your meeting, and your video has converted, you will be asked where you would like to save your recording.
Another option is to record the class on one computer while maintaining ‘gallery view’ on another device. If you want to be able to check on your students during the class without disrupting the recording, then follow these steps:
- Sign in to your Zoom meeting using your computer. If you don’t have a webcam, you can use a wide-angle lens over your computer camera to be able to get more of your body in the frame. Keep your computer on “speaker view” or pin your video. You will use your computer to record.
- Sign in to zoom on your phone or iPad, you will automatically become a co-host. Mute your audio phone/iPad and turn off the camera.
- Keep your phone or iPad near you as you teach on “gallery view”. Using an iPad will allow for you to be able to see more students in the gallery than your phone. If you had a second computer available (borrow your spouse’s, partner’s or maybe one of your kids’) you would be able to see and interact with your students even more!
If you want to share, sell or post your replay on Youtube and plan to incorporate music, make certain that the music you use is royalty-free.
#4 How do I get royalty-free music for Zoom or Youtube videos?
I know hunting down good royalty-free yoga music takes time, but it’s worth it! If you upload videos to Youtube with non-royalty free music they will be taken down.
You might also like: Making a Yoga Playlist? Where to Get Music for Your Online Classes
#5 Can I highlight different people to look at them while teaching?
Yes, but it will affect your recording. Your computer is going to record whatever you are seeing on your screen, so if you are constantly changing screen views or spotlighting certain people, that is what your students will see in your replay.
If you plan to share, sell or post your live class replays, you will want to record on “Speaker View” for the duration of your class.
You might also like: How To Prioritize Student Feedback On Zoom
#6 What is the best wireless microphone?
Investing in a high-quality wireless microphone will enhance the experience for your students and the sound quality of your recording. This Samson microphone is my go to!
You might also like: Want The Best Microphone For YouTube? Here Are My Top Picks
#7 What is the best webcam?
To ensure your students have the most high touch, quality viewing experience, invest in a quality webcam like this Logitech webcam I use.
#8 What can I use as a tripod?
There are many creative ways to prop up your computer or phone to film yourself teaching yoga. You can use your sneaker, yoga blocks or a selfie stick.
You might also like: How to Record Yourself Teaching Yoga & Film Yoga Videos
#9 Can I use my phone and computer to teach on Zoom?
Yes! This would be a great way to be able to create a recording of yourself teaching while also being able to closely monitor your students.
I would suggest propping up or using a tripod for your phone to record you teaching and have your computer in a place where you can easily see your students. This would give you the opportunity to offer your students individualized attention, creating a high touch experience, while also recording.
#10 How do I protect my Zoom meeting room from uninvited guests?
There have been many reports of uninvited visitors crashing into Zoom meeting rooms. There are some steps you can take to help prevent this from happening in your classes.
- Consider where you post your Zoom meeting invitation. If you are posting on social media, posting in private groups may be a safer option.
- When scheduling your meeting keep your personal meeting ID private.
- Use a password. When you go into Zoom and click “Schedule”, you can check the box to require meeting password and your password will generate automatically.
Technology and online offerings have made it possible to practice physical distancing without having to sacrifice our basic human need for social interaction. After all, a community is there to connect with and not necessarily physically.
So let’s aim to practice physical distancing instead of social, keeping our communities in touch and continuing to be the leaders and healers they need in these unsettling and often isolating times.
While our current state of the world and the spread of Coronavirus has created an immediate need for offering online yoga and meditation classes, this isn’t a trend that will die down once the virus is sorted. This trend is here to stay, so it’s best to start now and grow your yoga instructor brand online over the years to come.
The best part?
This applies to all niches within the health and wellness industry. You can schedule workouts as a private fitness trainer, coaching sessions for general health and well-being, live streaming for teacher training courses, and even create a virtual yoga studio if you’d like.
This is no longer the way of the future. It is happening now and it’s easier than ever to do it.