While teaching yoga in the traditional studio setting can be a rewarding profession, many yoga instructors today are extending their contributions beyond the studio walls by offering online courses.
Online yoga courses can be a great way to expand your yoga business while, at the same time, continuing to further your own personal yoga practice. Online courses can offer a platform to reach people from all over the country.
Whether you’re thinking about starting your own online yoga course or seeking to improve your established online course, these 10 tips will guide you toward online success.
1. Set your intention.
As yoga has taught us, it’s essential to set an intention as you approach not only your yoga practice, but all things in life. By setting a clear intention of the course, you are laying the foundation of what you hope to manifest through the course.
Intention-setting is not quite like goal-setting. Instead of thinking about the external benefits (i.e. money, new clients, etc.) you will attain from the course, imagine how you would like to feel during the course and how you would like your participants to feel. By centering the course on internal sensations of well-being rather than external gains, you will have a clear and direct vision of your online course from the start.
2. Develop an action plan.
Once you have set your intention for the course, an action plan is key. An action plan sets out all of the details of the tasks you’ll need to complete to reach your end goal, a successful online yoga course. Any business, even that of yoga, requires a plan with concrete, easy-to-follow steps with specific deadlines.
In order to create your action plan, use the principles of SMART goal-planning. Set goals that are:
Determine your last deadline first: the date you wish to release your online course. From this deadline, work backward systematically, creating milestones that will help you achieve your final goal. Schedule time within your daily routine or work-week to follow through on your milestone deadlines.
3. Create a course outline.
Developing a course outline will be of utmost importance in designing a coherent and well-structured online course. Creating a course outline is similar to developing an action plan; however, a course outline is the framework for the content that you’ll be offering in your course, again, working backward from your overall objective for the course. Course objectives should be specific.
For example, a course with an overall objective of asana sequencing is too broad and can be vague to your audience - think of narrowing the course to be as specific as possible, such as sequencing for safe backbends or hamstring and hip-opening. This way, your overall product will reflect an expertise on the subject. As you create your course outline, don’t forget to come back to your initial intention. Use your intention to guide your course objectives and how your participants will learn these objectives.
4. Determine your audience.
Who will be interested in your course? Remember, you’re designing the course for them! Having your course outline with well-defined objectives will help you to determine your target audience. If your objectives are centered around foundational yoga postures, it’s likely your audience includes beginner yogis. Thus, it’s important to structure the course in such a way that a beginner can understand the vocabulary and finds the pace of the course comfortable.
On the other hand, if you are planning an advanced course, you may be sure to provide stimulating and challenging content to keep your audience engaged throughout the course. Participants want to participate--know who they are and offer them a meaningful opportunity to interact with your course content.
5. Create instructional videos.
Online courses differ tremendously from face-to-face classes because the hands-on component is often missing from online courses. By designing instructional videos that are intelligently and artistically crafted, you can bring the hands-on aspect of learning to your participants at home.
Before filming your instructional videos, plan a script and practice. If it is within your budget, work with a professional to film and edit your videos. Professional videos will give you an edge over competitors and show your participants that you are skillful in what your teaching.
6. Offer content on various platforms.
On top of offering instructional videos, think about other ways of presenting the content for your online course. Podcasts are one way to reach your participants on a weekly or daily basis. Podcasts can allow your course participants to listen to content when they cannot watch, such as when driving to work or working out at the gym.
Other options for sharing content can include live webinars, an online forum for group discussions, or even one-on-one personal phone consultations. As you design your course, try to include at least a visual and auditory component for your participants. By sharing content in various formats, you’ll appeal to a wider audience and support individual’s personal learning styles.
7. Social media and other marketing.
Nowadays, social media and other online services make marketing and advertising possible without the help of a professional. Use Facebook and Instagram as a platform for sharing information about your upcoming course. Both platforms have an option to create paid advertisements that can reach a larger audience aside from your existing followers.
When creating your advertisements or social media postings, include a short video clip as a course preview, similar to a movie trailer, to give viewers a glimpse of the content and quality of your course. Also, don’t forget the power of an email! Put together an email list of potentially interested parties based on your knowledge of your target audience. Send emails weekly that include your course preview and information on deadlines to sign up for your course.
8. Integrate a support system for students.
Online learning can be difficult for some learners in that online courses are often self-guided with little support from the instructor. To have a successful online course, try integrating a support system for users, such as a Q&A forum in which participants can discuss with the instructor as well as other course members.
You might offer email correspondence, online live chats, conference calls, or even an option for video conferencing. By accommodating the questions and needs of your course members, you can connect with your participants in a meaningful way while discovering ways to improve the quality of your course.
9. Utilize an established online learning platform.
If you are having difficulties getting started on your online yoga course or have limited knowledge in the tech-side of things, there are several online platforms that charge a nominal fee to help you design and market your online course. Teachable, iSpring, Udemy, and Academy of Mine are just a few of the resources available to help you get started today. You’ll have access to various course templates, photo galleries, and an already established community of students.
10. Be patient and enjoy yourself.
Embarking on any new journey can seem overwhelming from the start, but don’t forget why you are doing what you are doing! Keep returning to your breath and your intention as you move forward with both your external and internal goals. Stay focused on your long-term and short-term goals that you’ve set, but with patience. As you steadily make progress in developing your ideal online yoga course, remember your passion for sharing the practice. It is your diligence and devotion to yoga itself that will grant you the greatest success!