Yoga Alliance CE Resources
Yoga Alliance has been presenting an enormous amount of online education since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and a couple of presentations have specifically been about the technology of teaching online that would be relevant to children’s teachers in the online space as well.
How to Teach Online: Quickstart Guide to Tech
with Lucas Rockwood (E-RYT 500, YACEP) and founder/owner of YogaBody and Yoga Teachers College.
There are some real gems and fabulous tips in this presentation. Lucas covers his tech preferences in and lessons he’s learned from doing online trainings and classes for several years and converting multiple studios to an online format for the past several months. The first 45 minutes of this video is on recording / broadcasting equipment, platforms, and management. The rest of the prepared content is on teaching to the camera. This is a long video but the last 35 min are all Q&A.
“What’s been really useful for me is to connect with people . . . Over the years I’ve seen these platforms rise and fall . . . What really stays consistent is that yoga is, at its heart, really about community. If you are a good teacher, that’s really important. If you are a good community builder, that’s even more important.”Lucas Rockwood
One of our takeaways from watching this one: Bluetooth headphones mic for Zoom/interactive classes. While a recording mic, like a lapel mic with a remote headset, would capture higher quality audio, recording mics are audio in only. You need to be able to hear your students when you are teaching a live class.
Zoom 101: Where’s the Mute Button?
These presenters have alternative recommendations for set up from Lucas, but offer other great tips specific to Zoom. It’s a good video if you’ve never run Zoom classes.
Interested in offering online yoga but unsure where to start or how to make it “work”? Join two members of Yoga Alliance’s Digital Events team to learn some of the basics of Zoom Meetings and how to capitalize on it as your online yoga studio. We will cover audio, video, waiting rooms, and more.
Note that the lead presenter is not teaching movement classes over Zoom multiple times a week. Someone who is doing that might have slightly different work-flow recommendations. The same presenters cover their recommendations for using Spotify, Canva, and more in another presentation.
More Resources for Shifting to Online Instruction
DC area instructor Francesca Cervero has generously posted multiple free video trainings and guides on how she has converted her business to online classes and private lessons. Her trainings are specific to the way she does things, which is different than a some of what we’re used to seeing online – live classes on Zoom with mostly verbal instruction and very little demonstration – and she focuses on adapting your teaching, communicating with your clients, and understanding the value of your offering, even in a virtual format. If you are teaching adults
Looking for Kids Yoga-specific tips?
Some things that work for adult classes wouldn’t be as appropriate for children but reviewing the tips for adults may give you fresh ideas and help you avoid pitfalls.
For example, kids teachers are often in the habit of doing poses along with their students because children sometimes need that constant visual cuing, but online instruction may create a different dynamic.
We’ve seen many videos for children where the teacher gives the whole class from a full frame view far away from the camera. That can feel very impersonal and it may even be hard for your students to see if they are viewing on a small screen.
Do you need to stay on your mat for the entire class or would varying your position make for better instruction. Are there times when, as Lucas describes in his tips video above, it makes sense to get off your mat and come interact with your students on Zoom?
Consider whether it makes sense to do your opening from a more intimate spot closer to the camera, even if your students can’t see your whole body. You up close holding a pose card may make a better connection than you far away doing the pose but unable to see your students.
Do you orient your body in multiple ways relative to the camera? Some poses are much clearer when viewed from the side, but if the students know the pose, facing the screen so you can see them better might be appropriate. You might use multiple orientations for a pose in the same class. Some teachers set up multiple mats in to facilitate these position changes. The mats can also serve as markers for you so you can easily position yourself somewhere you know is visible the frame.
Resources for You
Mastering the Virtual Kids Yoga Class
with Shari Vilchez-Blatt of Karma Kids Yoga. Earlier this month, Shari generously shared the lessons she’s learned since all in-person programming in New York City came to a grinding halt in March 2020. She spends about half to the time on logistics and technology and the other half on teaching techniques.
This is a great workshop if you are just getting starting with virtual teaching, wants some fresh ideas, or just want to hear Shari’s perspective. But, I’ve taught lots of classes online since March – from parenting/prenatal education, to baby yoga, toddler yoga, kids, and even camps . . . – and Shari presented several new ideas for me and things to consider as we continue in online education as well as validating for me things I already knew. (Plus, she’s delightful on any topic.)
If you missed it, never fear! There’s a recording.
Best Practices for Virtual Teaching – Panel Discussion
But different people offer different perspectives. This weekend we are bring several different people together to discuss their best tips for you on virtual yoga for children. Join us!
Don’t Let Fear of Technology Prevent You from Doing What You Love
In her presentation, Shari was really clear that technical perfection is not required to be a successful online children’s yoga instructor. Lucas reiterated that for adults too. Kids teachers are well poised to do exactly what Lucas thinks is the critical piece of online teaching: connecting. Kids and family yoga is all about connection and interaction.
“If you can dig into connected community, you can really, really do well for yourself online and it can be a little bit simpler when you understand that what people really want is just a real person.”Lucas Rockwood
Students care much more that you see and honor them for who they are than they do that you have a perfect backdrop and high resolution video.
Shari offers lots of tips for converting your lesson planning to the virtual world and recommends you spend time and energy thinking about your student’s experience in class. Yes, the technology has to work, but that’s all it has to do. You are offering much more.
Cover photo: Andrea Creel of Shining Kids Yoga offers her students a choice of poses in a virtual class.