Wanna Keep Yoga Students Happy and Safe During a Pandemic? Here’s How.
Yesterday, a student from a nearby city emailed me to let me know that she wouldn’t be attending my workshop this coming weekend because she’s a social worker and her agency is prohibiting all employees from traveling. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency yesterday so it’s gettin’ real around here. I also read this article and thought, wow, there’s a real potential that yoga studios and other venues are going to have to close for a while. So, let’s problem-solve how you and your yoga teaching can survive this pandemic!
The answer (which you may or may not feel enthusiastic about) is digital. But don’t stop reading! I assure you it’s not as hard as it sounds.
If you’re a yoga teacher, your students are counting on you to help them survive during the media-driven panic attack, if not the virus itself – let’s face it, our students invest a lot of trust in our teaching and our support. Of course yoga is not the medical solution for the virus, but it certainly can help people feel better during the crisis.
If it gets to the point where your locality goes on lockdown (like right now in Italy) then how are you going to keep getting yoga to your students?
Crises may be terrifying, but if you can get beyond the paralyzing fear part (and you may wish to reflect on your own self-care and the state of your practice for that), then you can start to see that there are also opportunities!
The opportunity here? Wake up and smell the twenty-first century and get your digital chops together. It’s a great time to offer classes online – yes, even the Luddites among us (and I consider myself one BTW), can do this!
And you don’t need a professional set up – really, all you need is a smart phone and a tripod (or a table and book will do in a pinch).
Let me walk you through 4 potential ways to digitally teach:
- Facebook Livestreams
This is perhaps the simplest way to teach online. If you don’t have a FB account, then create a temporary one, you can always delete it when the storm passes.
You have a few choices here. The simplest one is to set up your phone (a tripod like this is a great idea, otherwise you can MacGyver it with a table, a couple of books and maybe even a little tape). Put your mat in your living room or somewhere else in your house with good, natural light.
Go to “post” on FB and then click on “Live Video”. Make sure you can see your whole mat, and see your whole body when you stand up. Make sure to project your voice because you’re a bit far from the phone’s mic. The house should be as quiet as possible.
Press “Go Live” and Voila! You have a virtual class, (and hopefully it’s the only thing that goes viral!)
At this moment, part of you may be thinking, “Wait a minute, now I’m giving away a FREE class!” Yes, if you want to keep charging for classes during the crisis (and I think there’s really good reason to so please don’t feel guilty about making a living – you’re helping your students cope!), then here’s an easy fix. Create a Facebook group and livestream only for that group. If you are not sure how to do that, check out this video.
You can use either Venmo or PayPal to take payments (both are super easy to set up on your phone just look for a YouTube video if you need help – the advantage of Venmo is that they won’t charge you a fee to take payments, PayPal does.) Tell your students that you have set up a virtual studio and ask them to pay you a monthly rate for 1, 2, 3 or whatever classes a week. Set a fee, or ask for donations if you prefer (or have a “Surviving the Pandemic Sale!” – be creative!)
Then, you only let folks into your FB group who have paid you for a monthly pass to your classes. And give them the best virus defying classes ever!
Tip: Offer a freebie to your regular Facebook page or email list to get more students onboard. Let them know you are there ready and willing to support them through this crisis!
The best place to livestream on Instagram is your story. Click on your story and then, at the bottom, swipe over to the left and you’ll see a “live” option. Set up your tripod (or other phone arrangement) and push “Live.” Instagram will notify your followers that you are live and away you go. When you’re finished just push “end” and the livestream will save on your story for one day.
The drawback here is that there’s not really an easy way to accept payment. You could always do the livestreams and ask folks who are watching for donations – send them your PayPal email. The other problem is that once your 24 hours period is up, the video is gone forever.
YouTube may require a bit more skill than Facebook Lives, but it is still totally possible and you may want to consider this option. First thing you need to do is set up a YouTube channel. It’s not as daunting as it sounds! Here’s a tutorial.
You have two options here – you can film your class on your phone (same instructions as above) and then upload them to YouTube. Or you can use the YouTube live option. If you want to offer your classes free to your students, YouTube live is a great option. If you want to charge for them, then you make the link “unlisted” and only send it to those who have already paid you for virtual classes (again that could be through Venmo or PayPal).
A fourth option, if you really want to do this in the most professional way, is Zoom. You have to pay for anything longer than 40 minutes, but it is a very professional option. (Well, on second thought, there’s also GoToWebinar, worth checking out, but it’s a whole ‘nother level of investment).
You can set up Zoom as an app on your phone and then livestream and record from there. The advantage is that students can join and talk and interact in real time. You can share the meeting link with specific people only so it’s a lot more exclusive than the other options.
Not comfortable in front of a camera?
Dear reader, I feel your pain. I once had the same problem.
So I spent a lot of time reminding and convincing myself that it was more important to get my work out to the people who really need it than it was to worry about how my hair looked that day and whether or not I said “um” too many times. Your students need you right now so step up – you can do this!
The reality is that it gets easier and easier over time. Do a few practice runs with just the camera part of your phone, it will get easier, I promise!
The above may very well be great options for individual teachers, but they may also be transferable to studios.
Studio owners can have teachers come and record classes at their regular day and time, and then stream them all out to your student base in a Facebook group or as YouTube unlisted links.
If students are already paying a monthly membership, then they can watch all the Livestreamed classes during the social isolation period. This can also be a good incentive for students who don’t currently have monthly memberships to buy them now. Remind them that this is the perfect time to do more yoga AND to help the studio and keep the lights so it’s ready and waiting for them when things get back to normal.
Here’s a little video I made for you about tripods and making living room videos.
I’m sure there are other tips and tricks I have not covered here so if you have some – please share in the comments!
On a deeper note, times like this present us with an opportunity to self-reflect, deepen awareness, raise our vibration, create supportive community, and develop new visions for ourselves and our world – we miss these opportunities if we allow ourselves to be swept up entirely in the panic. You have many resources – both external and internal, this is the time to draw on them to create a new vision for the future.
Stay well. Stay safe. Practice more!
Thank you so much Kristine! More than anything else, you are providing creative ways for support and inspiration to your community…to your students and your readers like me, who rely upon being close up and personal in our work and the relationships we build. During these high anxiety-provoked times, finding ways to come “together” either in person or remote will be critical for us to be able to find some peace and support. As always, so grateful for what you do and how you make things feel simple and less complicated. That is a mark of a great teacher for all of us. Best, Barb Gibson
Thank you Barbara, that means SO much to me! xoxo
Thank you so much Kristine. This was so helpful and reassuring. Teaching live on Zoom is so out of my comfort zone but my students 60+ population are so in need of their classes continuing during this challenging uncertainty, I go live on Tuesday. Again thank you for providing this information.
Thank you so much for this today! I’ve been thinking about going online for awhile now. Did not know where to start now I do! Trying to keep a brick and mortar going alone in a small community has become daunting.
Yes and keep the faith. Let your students know you are there for them and if they follow you digitally and support your work, you will still be there for them when this all passes too!
Thank you and Blessing of Wellness and Peace to all.
Thanks so much Lisa!
Thank you so much! I’m going to record a Restorative class for my students right now. Wish me luck!!!
Thanks a lot Kristine,
Here in Denmark all yogastudios are closed and I am exactly where I have to choose what and where to put my classes online.
I found that YouTube is good for my clients, many have kids at home now, so they have to practice yoga other times than usual.
But I miss seeing my yogastudents, so next week I go live on zoom.
This was very helpful.
Kind regards Lene
Thanks for writing Lene and good luck going live!
Thank you! I was just wondering how to do this ( Facebook classes that aren’t free). Thank you so much for putting so much detail here!
Great Evangeline! Let use know how it goes!
Great information! This makes livestreaming seem much less intimidating.
Amazing idea and easy to use information! Thank you!
I’m so afraid to be on camera . . . but maybe this crisis is just what will get me to do it!?
Yes! you can do it! One time a teacher I respected told me, “Teaching adults is just like sitting around in your living room and talking to your friends.” I took that to heart! My video today is in fact me doing just that! Hopefully this advice will help you too. Being on camera is weird at first, but eventually it becomes a lot easier and more natural. Give it a shot!
Thank you so much Kristine – I have been thinking about recordings for a course I want to put together and only today thought I might need to do something for my current live lasses and I have been procrastinating alot about it not being perfect – your practicality and approach has made me feel so much more at ease. These are new times where we need to draw upon our kindness and compassion for our students and ourselves. Thank you from the UK .
Great! Yes, we all need to work together on this. Keep getting the yoga out there by any means necessary!
Your blog is so timely for me! I suspended my yoga classes as of today. There are several virus cases in our area and my students, who are mostly 60+, are nervous about coming to group classes. Thank you for your ideas and suggestions. I plan to take my teaching “live” in the next few days so I can continue to serve my students. Appreciate your generosity in all that you do. It’s a real joy to be part of the Subtle Yoga community.
yes, it’s scary for older people so I think you did the right thing. Please keep us posted as to how your livestreaming goes! So glad that you are a part of this community Beverly!
Thank you so much. I am a counsellor in Australia. I love what you are doing to bring good health and calm to people.
Thanks so much Patricia!
This was very nice of you to share your thoughts and know how to give us ideas what to do.
No problem Diana! I hope it helps!
Oh my goodness Kristine thank you so much for sharing this. I literally just got back from teaching my last class of the week wondering when I was going to teach again and how I was going to pay my bills for the next I don’t know how long. Attendance at my classes halved this week, even with no lockdown and 1 student asked when I was going to stop running classes because of the risk of transmission. As i drove home I started to think about how I could keep sharing yoga with my students (surely needed more than ever right now) and would I do videos, if so how would I do that? 10 minutes later you’ve read my mind and written just the article I needed! Now I can breathe again. Feeling very grateful to have come across your writing and your teaching🙏 Yay for yoga!
yay! So glad it’s helpful, your students will be so happy!
THANK YOU FOR SHARING!!! Very thoughtful of you.
You a Luddite??!!! Oh, come on! Thanks for all you do.
Hey, I finally finished the YNC course! (-:
Well, let’s just say that I have no natural ability for this thing. I had to really work to figure out the tech and there are lots of parts of it that completely elude me! So glad you finished the course BTW. Hope that you are doing well! xoxo
Thank you. So much. I was thinking about making videos and I am not computer person. The way you showed makes it easy. I will try .
I’m sure you can do it Kamini! Good luck!
Kristine, thank you very much, this is so very interesting and informative, you are a great teacher. I was looking into the future and could not find a vision until this email….
Aw thanks so much Linda! Give it a try, you can do it!
❤️ thank you 🐇
Thanks so Much, this was super helpful. You are an inspiration with divine timing. I love and appreciate you.:)
Aw thank you so much Donna – I feel the same way about you!! xoxo
thank you so much for this information. I happen to be one of the few people who do not own a Smartphone! I know, don’t pass out! Is this really the time to purchase one with no idea how one even turns it on???? I live in NYC and I am sure there are plenty of excellent teachers already doing this. However, I would never EVEN consider this if you hadn’t been so kind as to share the HOW. Blessing to you and thank you again.
You can get a cheap used smartphone and I’m sure someone at your provider’s office will help you with a quick tutorial to get started. You can do it Susanne. Yes, there are tons of other teachers out there doing it too, but they are not YOU!!!
I do not own a smartphone either. Totally get your “don’t pass out” comment. I use a Surface tablet to record video for my group. Anything that has a decent camera can be used to make videos or livestream. It might be a bit of a learning curve, but, like they say, learning a new skill is good for the brain!
Tablets work great too of course!
Thank you so much for all the inspiration and support you offer! I am humbled by your generosity. I’m so glad I found this community 🙏
Aw thanks Kathleen – it’s great to have you here and I hope that you can keep connected to your students! They really need you right now!!
Thanks so much Kristine. I really hope it does not come to this. But the powers that be are keen to push out Mandatory vac for everyone, and I guess this is how they are taking steps to achieve this. MASS PANIC FEAR TERROR!!
I am in QLD Australia. So far things are pretty normal here, but think its a matter of time. I guess i need to be grateful that we have these options. My students ate all membership so this will have to be my surving tool. I have done some video, but they always seems so dodgy.
Thanks again for your sharing of knowledge.
you can do it Chelsie! Just a tripod and some decent lighting. Good luck and please let us know how it goes.
Kristine, you are an angel! It literally was only minutes after I completed writing a letter to my students about how my studio, Greenleaf Yoga, is handling Covid-19, when I saw your email. Thank you for encouraging us to use tools such as Youtube; Facebook live, Zoom, to continue to service our community through this periord…. It was no sooner that I had that thought just minutes that I opened your email. Great, ‘subtle minded yoga’ teachers think alike. This is an opportune time for us perhaps, ahem, more mature, experienced yoga teacher who might be a little tec resistent to embrace the moment. I had just three weeks ago atteneded in the Chicago area digital media workshop that emphasized using platforms such as Youtube to reach our community. And the cool thing about Youtube is it is freeeeeee! I love the lighting idea with tripod, but got another idea I heard at the workshop on making your own footage, and that was to use an inexpensive microphone!!!
Thank you for helping us gentle, subtle yoga teachers unite and create community. Much in gratitute, Pamela Greenleaf Yoga , St. Charles, Il
Thanks so much Pamela! Yes, mics are really great – I have a few of them. They will definitely improve the quality.
You are so very generous with sharing your knowledge and time with the yoga world and we are fortunate to have you on our side. Thank you for all you do!
Aw, thanks so much Kathy! But I am the fortunate one to have you on my side!!
Thank you Kristine. So much appreciated your care and support of the yoga community. X
Thanks for this useful blog Kristine. I watched the video on tripods but what’s the name of the one with the light ring? Presumably you can buy from Amazon?
Sure Caron. Here’s a link to the one I bought. I thought it was $25 but it was actually $33, still a pretty good value! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QJXCB28/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Wonderful practical tips and encouragement… thanks for this. An example of our inter-connectedness and how resourceful we humans can be… when we put our mind and heart to it… will take a bravery pill and give this a go… x
Thanks very much for your generosity in giving us this useful information. It’s very much appreciated 🙂
Thanks Susie! You’re so welcome. ❤️❤️❤️
This is such a timely blessing! Thank you for sharing the nitty gritty details. I teach mainly private sessions and some one-on-one online sessions, but also a chair yoga class that is mainly seniors. I’m in Washington State, but on the Eastern side, but folks are getting very cautious here. I’m hoping the Facebook Live option will work for my Chair Yoginis! Again, thank you, thank you, thank you! -Nan
You’re so welcome Nan! I hope it helps you keep getting your chair yoga to your peeps! Take care!
Thank you, Kristine, you are a gem in the field of yoga teaching!! You give generously and tirelessly to those of us whose yoga offers a soothing balm to all the over-anxious nervous systems who desperately need these subtle practices – Humbly, I thank you!!
You mentioned that you have several microphones, and I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing which one(s) you find the easiest to use/most effective? TY again for everything you do!!
Thanks so much Kelli! Sure here’s the mic I use for professional video: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075FMSB65/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and I have something like this for my headset. https://www.amazon.com/Headworn-Unidirectional-Microphone-Compatible-Transmitter/dp/B07FNGN7TP/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?keywords=microphone+headset+flesh&qid=1584016255&s=musical-instruments&sr=1-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFEREhOSVpCMTNDVTAmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA5NzI3OTgzMFdLSE5OSjZHMVVQJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA4MzQxOTcyOUNMWDZYNzZDV1ZHJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
Thank you so much! I was trying to figure out how to do this and put it on my website. I’ve still got to figure that out but this helps! You are awesome!
Great Angela! Thanks so much for letting us know and good luck with your digital venture!
Really useful, thank you so much. In far South Tasmania, Australia and thinking ahead to how I’ll manage to keep serving my community if things get really challenging down here too, because as you say, it’s times like this that everyone really needs their Yoga. I really appreciate this.
Yes! Well keep us posted as to how things are going down there and I’m so glad the blog is useful for you!
I concur with all the comments of how thoughtful & generous it is of you to put out your Live Streaming 101 lesson.
People have frequently said that I should do a video and I have always resisted as it seems such a big leap. With your info and encouragement, I’m considering the leap.
You can do it Susan! Let us know how it goes!
I have been mulling this over in my mind the last few days, not knowing how to get started. Thank you so much for this article, what a blessing! I have already started to see a drop in numbers as people begin to spend less time in groups. This is the time for more yoga, not less. Thank you again!
Hey Peggy. It’s pretty natural for numbers to fluctuate. But of course this is a bit different so hopefully you can do some livestreaming or recording. Keep the faith! We’ll all get through this together and yes, your students need you now more than ever!
I have done two live classes now on facebook live with a private/closed group, mostly because I am not comfortable in the limelight. I’m trying to edit those videos and repost them on facebook but just having so much difficulty. Tried YouTube but got an error that the clips is too long, needs to be 15 minutes, which can’t be true. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Hi Peggy, Congrats! Please post your question to the SY Community Page, I’m sure there are people there who will give you advice on this. Tech can be really frustrating, I understand!
I really enjoy your blog posts! As usual, this one is smart, informative and lovingly light-hearted!
I live and work in a small community, teaching small classes in my home studio, and am currently not feeling too threatened by pandemic hysteria. Hopefully it doesn’t continue to escalate, and if it does your suggestions will be very useful!
Thanks, and be well.
Your teaching situation sounds ideal! Particularly for riding it out during this crisis. Thanks so much for writing Stephanie! I’m glad you found the blog useful. ❤️
Kristine! Your informative and supportive information comes at a perfect time! I am just back to my home in South West Ontario, Canada.from a month’s holiday in Spain. No concerns while I was there but as they say the virus will come and I now hear from friends there that it has shown up in another resort along the Costa del Sol.
So…I teach small classes from my home and had intended to start a new session next week. Although I personally do not feel threatened, I think that my students might be happier at this time to follow along in their own space. I will test it out ! And BTW they love the Slow Subtle Yoga!
Thanks so much Cheryl – glad you dodged the bullet and got back home BTW!
Thank you so much ~ I have been thinking about doing online for a while but always hesitated as I always promote the in-person experience but already realized this may be a great way to keep “in contact” and support others while also supporting myself during this pandemic. Sharing this blog gives me so much more appreciation for you — how you support us in growing this business including the behind the scenes stuff – the challenge in being an entrepreneur and solopreneur is the business side of it, not just the skill set of teaching yoga so I am super grateful for this kind of post! Thank you thank you thank you!
Thank you so much Kristine, you are incredibly generous with your time sharing all this information. I am giving utube a go. Best wishes to everyone.
Thanks so much Mary!
CommentThank you so much for this information and for your generosity, I was really concerned about this.
This may be the only way to keep yoga alive for our students so we all have to think about stepping up and going digital. I’m sure it will take some getting used to for many teachers (and Students!) but it is a way to keep everyone safe and help them stick with their regular practice. thanks for posting.
This is wonderful. Matter of fact, full of practical details, I can now see a way forward dealing with classes during this trying time. I’d never have got as far as trying to stream online classes if you hadn’t been so helpful! Love following your stuff. Thank you so much.
Janey, Scotland 💗🏴 (@janeyyogaangus)
So glad it’s helpful Janey! Give it a try I think you can do it!
Thank you so much Kristine! I have been paying for Zoom for the past three months, meaning to try it for a workshop or a class but feeling intimidated by the process. With the unfortunate synchronicity of the virus, and the fortunate synchronicity of your article/video, I have been gently pushed and encouraged. I just set up my tripod and will record today! Thank you!
Thank you for this information and encouragement
Thank you Kristine! I appreciate your generous spirit of sharing encouragement and your easy to understand “How To” instructions! I’ve been asked to start livestream online classes, on Mon, which just added to my ‘panic’ mindset. I have been following and just recently attempting to incorporate some of your “Slow and Gentle Yoga Flow” concepts into small class of middle age – seniors. Classes will be 60 min, twice weekly for 12 weeks.
Do you have suggestions for scripts, verbiage and ideas regarding: Self-Intro, Agenda, What is Yoga, What to include, Do’s & Don’ts, for the very 1st/initial class? i.e ‘Honor your Body’ etc. How much time should I allow for these preliminaries to get to actual class poses. I’ll also include a little meditation and breath work. Appreciate your input and feedback. Delphine
Thanks so much for your comment Delphine. I respond to questions like yours over in the Subtle Yoga Community group on Facebook, so feel free to inquire there. all the best!
Curious to know – for your live stream classes, are you still charging the same prices as for an in-person class? can you give a range on pricing? The studio I am at has opened back up, but i have a student reach out to me for a private online class. I want to charge an amount worth my time and work behind the class, for a private session. but I fear that because the studio’s drop in rate is less than what I would charge, that I would be losing an opportunity. Does this make sense? Thoughts?
I am charging less than I would for an in-person class. But my biz model is very different than most yoga teachers. For private sessions I charge a lot. I think it’s important to charge wat you think you’re worth.
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