March 2020....Overnight, yoga teachers who were based in studios, community spaces and people's homes were forced to adapt to moving online. Coupled with a sudden influx in interest from those looking to keep moving in their homes in lockdown there was a rush to suddenly offer classes and adapt our homes into mini studios. I was one of these teachers, and despite sites reopening across London I still deliver more than 50% of my classes and workshops virtually.
We might not currently be in a lockdown at the time of writing, but online yoga is definitely here to stay and I will be continuing to offer virtual classes and workshops indefinitely to not only corporate clients (who are largely looking at moving towards flexible working) but also to those for whatever reason want to practise from their own home (the busy parent, self isolators, those who live out of London and carers to those that just have a preference).
Below is a quick run through of what I use and recommend for delivering virtual classes from your home or home studio*. It's not exhaustive but very much comprising of working with the technology that I had plus a few additions. I'm fortunate that most of my classes are live, with a few being recorded to the cloud for access after the classes, those who are looking to prerecord will likely need a different s
et up, with other considerations for digital storage.
1. A neutral(ish) backdrop - from a small London flat, especially if you house share, this can be a challenge! See if you can organise your space to have minimal clutter in the background and where possible, some natural light.
2. Natural or artificial light - again, depending on what you've got to hand, you may or may not need this. Good lighting really helps with the visual quality, especially important for early morning and late evening classes.
Although I haven't needed one yet, I'm thinking of investing in this ring light* when the days start getting shorter to give my lighting a boost.
3. Good quality visuals - realistically a webcam on a PC will not cut it. Your best bet is using a relatively new mobile device. I use my iPad pro, and occasionally my iPhone 11 Pro Max, both of which I can use the front camera for so I can simultaneously view anyone whose camera is on and have a view of myself if needed.
To improve the width of the view from this camera I invested in this clip on wide angle lens* which has meant that my set up can be much closer than before and I can see my students more easily.
On top of this I use an arm that attaches to tables, bookcases (you name it!)* and can get your phone or tablet angled perfectly. This arm also works great to help with tech neck by bringing devices to eye height at your desk!
The two of these have been a godsend in my smaller space, allowing me to work better with what I have.
4. Good quality sound - as an Apple fan, I cannot recommend the Apple Airpods Pro* enough. Because I am using Apple products to stream from, the ease of compatibility makes my life very easy and helps to filter out noises from neighbours
doing their at home workouts as you're trying to teach. I find I only wear one to teach in - for those with longer hair make sure you tie your hair up as otherwise you'll get some rustling!
The only thing that has improved them further is these silicone ear bud tips*, which secures the Airpods in place so that they don't budge, not even if you're going upside down.
When I say they don't move, they don't. Worth their weight in gold!
5. A pop of colour - to help add some colour and draw your eye to you, rather than your backdrop, a colourful yoga mat can make all the difference.
Most of my yoga equipment is from the amazing Yogi Bare, and I own not one but 2 of their rubber PAWS mats* which come in some great colours.
The 4mm versi
on offers extreme grip and has enough padding but isn't too heavy if you want to take it to an in person class. Their 2mm travel version offers the same grip in an even lighter and more portable form, great for when we can freely travel again!
6. Insurance - You'll also want comprehensive insurance that covers you for different variations of teaching online. Having had a number of years with Wellbeing, I had to opt for something more comprehensive, and BGi.uk seemed to cover all my bases.
*Please note there are other places to purchase other than Amazon. The links provided are affiliate, and if you do choose to purchase via Amazon I will earn a small commission.
I hope this helps anyone who feels nervous about teaching from home. Please know that your offerings have such value and deserved to be shared with an audience. Teaching does not need to be conducted in person for it to still have value. Most of these products are multipurpose and can be used for other day-to-day activities whilst not breaking the bank. If anyone has a cheaper and reliable alternative to the Airpods Pro let me know in the comments!