How to Teach Great Online Yoga Classes
I love being on camera – something in me turns on. Like Bob Ross before me, I treat the lens like the single person that will one day be behind it, trying to talk to them like they’re sitting right there with me instead of the camera that currently represents them.
But it hasn’t always been like that…
I remember watching my first recorded yoga class with a certain amount of horror – I couldn’t stand to watch a full minute of it.
“Delete this shit.” I texted as fast as my fingers would fly to the director that had captured it. “I can do better.”
Watching yourself on camera provides uniquely productive feedback – it’ll turn you inside out, IF you let it…
A few thousand hours in front of the camera later and I feel pretty good whether I’m dressed like a cop or dressed like a yogi.
Like any practice done enough over time, it’s become second nature, and, lately, I’ve been particularly enjoying myself teaching recorded and LIVE classes online. There’s a different and rich connection that is still, somehow, available there IF you cultivate it.
I realize that’s not the case for every yogi though – we had a guest teacher in the studio the other day…their nerves reminded me of a different time when I wasn’t as comfortable or capable and I gave them some simple advice that I thought I’d pass along to the great many of my colleagues stepping into this new modality for the first time.
- Know your tech – I mean inside and out. Pre-trouble shoot it. Research the common fuck-ups before they occur, and then forgive them when they do. For some reason about 1/10 times the tech just shits itself – a charged battery dies, an app closes itself, a memory card is shockingly blank after you’ve just captured the perfect class.
- Control the lighting – by cancelling exterior lighting and adding interior. Avoid shadows, hot spots, and glares.
- Capture clean sound – in a number of ways that do not include talking to your phone from far away. A lapel mic, wireless earbuds (if you’re ok with the signal being that close to your brain), or a shotgun or boom (if you’re going to be stationary) are all great.
LIVE streaming and recording classes can be an incredibly intimate format to deliver yoga class, IF you embrace it as such. It can also come off forced, canned, faked, or just plain fucked…
With the rush for most yoga teachers to get online to ensure their incomes in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, their has been a glut of online yoga offerings…some of them quality. I’ve been asked for advice on this topic by so many great yogis that I thought I would offer a few of the mistakes I see often.
- DON’T pay attention to the current viewers – live streaming class is not a “real-time” popularity contest, it is a class delivered to a single person and a recording that will live forever and touch hundreds or thousands of lives…in time.
- Talk to the camera like it’s a person…I can’t stress this enough – on the other side of that camera is a real human who pulls inspiration not from your perfect delivery of class, but from your authenticity and the vulnerability that you are willing to display.
- Control your environment just like you would in the studio. You wouldn’t let your dog in the room randomly, allow for the wind to knock shit over, or lose track of time, volume, etc.
- Don’t rush! Make your first foray into this arena your best foot forward. Do some recorded test runs…test the LIVE stream with a simple video saying ‘hi’ to your students, and ask someone for feedback on your frame, lighting, and sound.
Embrace this chance to be your most authentic self in this rich, new revealing format. Sing and love life and grab it by it’s big, hairy underbelly and take it for a fuckin’ ride…gold star if someone complains, unsubscribes, or gets pissed off because you’re being your brightest self – there will be a corresponding audience that loves what you’re saying.
Teaching’s a little like dating – I’d rather know who I resonate with right off the bat, then waste anyone’s time courting an audience of one that likes who I seem to be instead of who I really am.
Authenticity is telling the truth in your own words.
Don’t ‘practice’ it…
Fuckin’ do it.
Good luck, yogis! Relax…the whole world is watching;)
Justin “Jud” Kaliszewski is the best-selling yoga teacher and renowned creator of Outlaw Yoga. Author. Artist. Adventurer. Though his studio is currently closed per state order, you can still take his class NOW at outlawyogaclub.com and www.youtube.com/outlawyoga. Find his writing and art at www.justinkaliszewski.com and his presence all over the internet – for an outlaw, he’s shockingly easy to get ahold of.