Teach Yoga Online: A Comprehensive Guide for Success

Feb 15, 2024

✍️ Author: Sinead O'Connor

🧘 Reviewer: Michael Jay


 

Are you thinking of taking your yoga teaching experience online? Look no further – this comprehensive guide will give you all the information you need to jump-start your online yoga teaching career, whether you’re a brand new yoga instructor or have been teaching in person for years.

Either way, it’s essential to understand the differences between teaching yoga online and in person so you can continue confidently supporting your clients with their overall wellness.

Table of Contents:

Understanding the Virtual Landscape

While teaching yoga online has been around for several years, it wasn’t until the pandemic hit in 2020 that teaching yoga online rapidly expanded. Suddenly, yoga teachers who only taught in person found themselves wondering how to keep working at a time when we needed yoga more than ever, and they quickly learned how to adapt their businesses. Luckily, yogis around the world joined in.

Today, online yoga classes have become mainstream, and by teaching yoga classes online, you can boost your business while giving your clients more offerings to select from. Or, you could have a 100% virtual yoga business. However, the online landscape has gotten a lot more competitive in recent years. To teach online exclusively, you’ll find more success if you niche down

Here are a few reasons your clients want you to teach yoga online.

  • Time and cost savings – it’s no secret that attending yoga classes in person is more time-consuming for your clients, and, depending on where you live, attending in person can cost more, especially if they have to pay for parking or public transportation.
  • Flexibility – with no geographic limitations, your clients can practice when they like and take classes that might not be available to them in person – especially if you offer on-demand.
  • Comfort – Let’s face it, there’s no place like home. Practicing with a mug of tea with a beloved pet nearby can enhance the experience for your clients. If you offer restorative or Yin yoga, the relaxing feeling achieved won’t evaporate once class ends, as sometimes happens in person.

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4 Steps to Successfully Teach Yoga Online

Now that you’ve decided to teach yoga online, there are several things to consider and do that will help ensure your success. While some trial and error is expected, the following will help you start on a positive note.

  • Choose Your Platform
  • Set Up Your Online Yoga Studio
  • Create Your Online Yoga Classes
  • Choose Your Monetization Strategy

Choose the Right Platform for Your Needs

Start with research. Talk to your network and scour the internet for reviews. You can even schedule demos with the platforms you’re most seriously considering to get a feel for how they work.

Next, outline the pros and cons of each to narrow down your list. This can help you understand your priorities – is cost the most significant factor? Time savings? Ease of use?

How to Assess Your Platform Needs for Teaching Yoga Online

Now’s the time to consider what your most important priorities are. What can you live without? What is absolutely essential for you?

If you’re a sole virtual studio owner, you may not need the same tools as a larger studio with multiple yoga teachers. Fortunately, many platforms offer tiered plans so you can select what’s best for you. Here are some basics to consider:

  • Website – Creating a website is easier than ever, and having one gives you instant credibility as a yoga professional
  • Scheduling & Payment – Online scheduling and payment capabilities mean less busy work for you and a more streamlined experience for students.
  • On-Demand – Offering on-demand content offers unmatched flexibility and convenience for students – and has the potential to create extra income for you without additional work.
  • Memberships – Memberships build community and loyalty between you and students while providing you with guaranteed recurring income.
  • Email Marketing – Many platforms offer email marketing options so you can spend more time teaching than managing email communications.

How Does OfferingTree Stack Up Against Competitors Like Mindbody?

Set Up Your Online Yoga Studio

Teaching online doesn’t require a full studio, but you will need a comfortable and ambient place to host classes. Many online yoga teachers use a space in their home, but you can teach from almost anywhere as long as you have a quiet space free from distractions.

We recommend trying out several spots to see what is best for you long-term. Below are more things to consider and plan for:

  • Background – Simple is best. You don’t want any distractions to take away from the experience. To create a relaxing vibe, you could add some plants or simple artwork – perhaps take some online classes to see what backgrounds you prefer.
  • LightingNatural light is best. Ideally, you can set up across from a large window. Light-filtering curtains can help on exceptionally bright days. If this isn’t possible, you could place lamps or studio lighting across from your teaching area. Whether you can finesse natural lighting or need to purchase some lamps, lighting is one of the most important aspects of creating an enjoyable online yoga experience.
  • Clothing – While this isn’t technically part of your studio setup, it is important to dress in colors that contrast nicely with your surroundings. For example, if your background wall is beige, you’ll want to wear darker colors to avoid blending in. Same for your yoga mat. If your mat is black, you’ll want to wear a lighter color.
  • Whiteboard – This is something to consider when you begin. Having a whiteboard off-camera with notes to help you remember key points you want to cover can help you feel more confident and comfortable.

Necessary Equipment to Teach Virtual Yoga

Investing in technical equipment will be critical to producing enjoyable online classes. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to break the bank.

Again, do your research. Check online yoga teacher forums and equipment reviews. Your video and sound quality must be high to create the best experience for your clients – below are a few things to consider.

  • Laptop – Most teachers prefer a laptop over a desktop because it’s easy to move around and has a big enough screen to see your students.
  • Microphone – There are many options to consider. If you teach primarily from your mat an external mic nearby will offer better sound quality than the built-in laptop mic. Also, it won’t get in the way of teaching.
  • Accessories – Personalize your space with plants, candles, or other objects that fit the vibe of the class.
  • Extras – Other items to consider would be a laptop stand or tripod for your phone to help you get the best angles for your classes.
  • Test It – Before teaching your first class, test the setup to iron out any bugs.

Create Your Online Yoga Class Schedule

This is where the fun starts – YOU get to choose what types of classes to teach and when.

Consider where your expertise and passions lie and shape your offerings from there. You’ll also want to understand the types of classes that work best for online yoga and when your community is most likely to attend.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Best Yoga Classes for Online Teaching – Try to avoid complex sequences. For example, Yin yoga consists of mostly floor-based postures held for several minutes, allowing teachers more time to check onscreen to see if anyone has put a message into the chat and monitor students. Same for meditation and yoga nidra classes. If you have experience teaching virtually, you can successfully host vinyasa and hatha classes online with a combination of verbal cues and demonstrations.
  • Timing – Over time, you’ll get a feel for client preferences. Some may prefer live classes; some might rather watch the recording independently. Timing is everything with teaching yoga, whether you’re online or offline. Early mornings, evenings, and weekends are best for most yogis, but there are always exceptions.
  • Create Connection – Genuine connection with clients can be more challenging online but not impossible. Making eye contact with those who have their cameras on is essential, but you can connect with people who prefer their cameras off by acknowledging their presence and welcoming everyone. Logging on early and sticking around at the end will go a long way, especially if you have clients who bump into technical issues.

Choose Your Monetization Strategy

The freedom to decide what to charge for your classes can be very empowering. However, you must strike the right balance between too much and too little. There are also a few different ways to go about monetization:

  • Subscriptions – This is a set price for a specific period. Most yoga teachers and studios offer monthly subscriptions, but there are quarterly and annual options.
  • Pay per class  – Your clients pay a one-time fee for each class or workshop. This is an excellent way for someone to try out your offerings with minimal commitment.
  • Memberships – Memberships are for loyal students who want to be a part of your community. Members may get special discounts or other perks. For example, if someone joins as a member, they could receive a free week or other discounts as a welcome gift with perks throughout their membership.
  • Flexible Pricing – Sliding scale pricing makes classes more accessible, allowing folks to pay what they can. Be careful with this model, though. You still need to make money to offset your costs and time.
  • Courses – Create courses around niche topics that resonate with your audience. Sell it as a self-guided course or launch it as a guided in-class experience. Have students sign up and pay in advance.

Download Our Comprehensive Yoga Marketing Checklist for 2024

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How to Fill Your Classes & Grow Your Virtual Community

Cultivating community is key in the virtual yoga space. It can sometimes be isolating when your clients are in different locations, especially if you have clients who are brand new to yoga. 

Encourage interaction before and after class with the following tips:

  • Try to get students used to coming to class a little early to chat face-to-face, not in the chat box
  • Acknowledge every person who comes online by name. Individual recognition is vital to creating community
  • Ask your students to unmute at the end of class so you can all say ‘Namaste’ together and feel that connection

You could also host an online Q&A as a part of launching your online yoga classes. This will help people feel comfortable and show that you care about their experience.

Market Your Virtual Offerings

Now that you’ve done the hard work of setting up your studio and creating your yoga class schedule, it’s time to share the news with current and prospective clients.

The platform you choose should have tools to support and simplify your marketing efforts so you can focus on teaching and fostering community.

The following will help you get started with your digital efforts, but don’t discount a good old-fashioned flyer — offline marketing techniques can still be effective!

  • Email MarketingDepending on your goals, you could create a comprehensive email campaign or commit to sending a weekly email to your subscribers, letting them know of your offerings while sharing relevant and helpful tips and news to keep them coming back. How about including your online yoga class schedule in your monthly newsletter?
  • Social Media Marketing – Social media is critical to establishing and sustaining your digital presence and online community. Post regularly so you stay top of mind. When creating content, focus on engaging and fostering your existing community.
  • Paid Ads – The quickest way to get your brand in front of people who care is through paid advertising. There are various ways to do this; boost social media posts, create ads on Facebook, or create Search Ads. It all depends on your budget and desired reach.
  • Content Marketing – Writing blog posts and creating videos are great ways to support your email and social media efforts.
  • SEO – Optimizing your website and content for search engines will help grow your online community. SEO is a vast topic, but focusing on local and technical will get you off to a great start.
woman leading an online class from her laptop

Tips for Great Online Yoga Instruction

By embracing these approaches, you can provide enriching, accessible, and engaging online classes that resonate with yogis across the globe, fostering a sense of community and personal growth no matter where they are.

Foster Your Community

Despite the distance between you and your students, creating a welcoming and inclusive environment helps foster a sense of community and belonging. Calling people out by name. Watch your students, and you can still help with modifications and corrections. 

These tips will make creating connections easier, which will support your long-term success.

  • Watch Your Students – Genuinely paying attention to what your students are doing and calling out individuals by name for corrections or modifications is a game-changer. The moment you start using students’ names, the vibe changes, and your students are present.
  • Karma Yoga – Consider offering donation-based classes where the proceeds benefit underserved populations or a worthy cause your community cares about.
  • Yoga Book Club – This is another way to leverage your online studio, and your clients will be able to get to know each other off the mat in a virtual format. There are countless yoga-related books out there. Your clients could even help you select the books.

Celebrate Together – Hosting online yoga classes on special occasions can create a sense of belonging, especially if any of your students could be lonely on holidays. Consider also a solstice class with the changing seasons. The opportunities are countless.

Create an Inclusive Environment

Teaching yoga online can present unique challenges in ensuring inclusivity for all participants, regardless of their experience, body type, or personal circumstances. It’s essential to foster a welcoming atmosphere even through a screen. This means offering a warm virtual greeting and ensuring that each participant feels seen and supported from the comfort of their home.

During your online sessions:

  • Emphasize that modifications and breaks are encouraged.
  • Promote a culture where students are invited to listen to their bodies and adapt the practice to suit their needs.
  • Encourage students to set an intention for their practice to forge a deeper connection with their yoga journey, even in a virtual space.

Celebrating our differences enriches the yoga community and makes the practice more accessible.

Cue the Poses in Detail 

Effective communication is crucial in online yoga teaching. Detailed, descriptive cues help students understand how to adjust their bodies into poses safely and enjoyably, especially when they don’t have the benefit of in-person adjustments.

Good cueing ensures participants remain engaged and truly benefit from your class, fostering a sense of achievement and progress that encourages them to return.

Like anything else, mastering virtual yoga cues takes practice, so keep the following in mind:

  • Approach your instruction with the mindset of a beginner to keep explanations straightforward and accessible.
  • The occasional slip-up is natural. What matters is maintaining your composure and continuing to guide your class confidently.

Teaching to Different Skill Levels

When teaching yoga online, accommodating various skill levels can be challenging without physical presence. Strive to explain poses and sequences in a way that is understandable and applicable to all, from complete beginners to more advanced practitioners.

  • For classes that include advanced poses, always begin with the foundational posture, offering more complex variations as options.
  • Providing modifications and suggesting adjustments ensures that your online yoga classes are inclusive and beneficial for everyone.

Thrive as an Online Yoga Teacher with Offering Tree

Now that you understand how to start teaching yoga online with confidence, it’s time to take your next steps. OfferingTree makes it simple for you – sign up for a free trial after watching a demo, and we’ll show you how straightforward managing your virtual studio and teaching yoga online can be.

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Written by Sinead O'Connor, (she/her) BA Hons, RYT-200. She is a Yoga Teacher, Community Manager, and OfferingTree team member who lives and works in Calgary, Canada.The landscape of the wellness industry has transformed dramatically in recent years. Gone are the days...

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