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Yoga Teacher Tips for 2021: Are you ready?

Teacher Tips in 2021

Congratulations! We made it through 2020 – a year with more ups and downs and challenges than normal. Hopefully, you can look back and see the variety of ways you met these challenges both professionally and personally so you can be ready to take on 2021 with new insight, energy, and knowledge to move forward with courage and confidence!

One of the biggest professional challenges for yoga instructors was moving to online classes as well as working with smaller in-person classes with the addition of talking and breathing through a face mask.

For at least the first part of 2021, it looks like we are still working within these parameters so I thought I would provide some helpful teacher tips for 2021 in navigating these challenges whether you have already done so or are deciding to venture out into this brave new world for the first time.

Find Success in Online Teaching

Teaching online yoga classes is a wonderful way to stay connected to your current students, build your audience by reaching more people, and have the flexibility to manage your own schedule in the comfort of your home. beYogi has a wonderful eBook to help successfully navigate this adventure and I highly recommend downloading it. The following tips are a mixture of the advice from this book and my own experiences.

Download the Comprehensive Guide to Running Successful Online Classes E-Book

Find the Best Fit for your Teaching

There are so many different formats for teaching online classes, it can be hard to decide which is best for you.

Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube are just a few of the available companies you can work with to offer online classes. Let’s take a moment to delve into each of these options, although there are many other options to choose from as well.

Zoom is a wonderful format for staying connected to your current students since it provides the ability to chat before and after class and to be interactive throughout class. There is a charge for this service if you want to teach an hour-long class (or longer), but there is also a free option if you want to teach for 40 minutes or less.

Facebook provides the ability to reach out to a bigger audience through social media and once your class is finished it remains on your page for as long as you want it to be available for people to take at their own convenience.

YouTube offers the ability to have a live class or record your class and upload it to a private or public channel.

Along with deciding which format you wish to teach your classes through, there are also the considerations of using your laptop, tablet or phone camera and microphone options based on your preference and level of comfortability with technology.

The last and probably most important part of setting up your online teaching space is choosing your background. My recommendation is less is more. Make your space open, clutter free, relaxing, inviting, and with good camera angles and lighting to focus on you doing the yoga poses.

Maintain your Teaching Style

Whether you are recording and uploading your classes or teaching live it is easiest to keep your regular teaching style.

Be friendly, relaxed and provide an introduction of your class and you as a teacher. Throughout class provide clear and direct cues. At the end of class, request feedback, whether that is through providing online written comments or verbal comments.

Do not Forget the Legal Considerations – The eBook provides a good amount of detail in this regard, however, the basics to remember are to have a waiver detailing the risks of yoga and the online class format, an agreement of your services and student expectations, and your privacy policy.

Embrace the New In-person Class Format

Whether you have been teaching in-person throughout 2020 or are going back to doing so, here are some things to keep in mind.

Masks and Other Alterations

The most important part of teaching in person in 2021 is finding the best mask to feel comfortable in while talking, doing yogic breathing exercises, and participating in the poses. You may have to experiment with a few different styles to find the right one or you may be lucky enough to already have this mastered; either way this was my biggest hurdle to cross with staying focused on my students and their needs, so I recommend investing all the time you need to find the best option for you.

Be aware that each location you teach at has different rules and regulations so be prepared to have students bring their own equipment to reduce the spread of germs, get comfortable with not having fans circulating air, and make sure to allow enough time for everything to be cleaned at the end of class.

Smaller & More Intimate Class Sizes

Most states are mandating 5-10 people per class in order to abide by social distancing guidelines.

If you are used to bigger classes, this provides the opportunity to get to know your students better, tune into their specific needs, and increase your ability to provide the best education of each pose and the available modifications. For example, I have a few older students who prefer more blocks for the poses. Some of them brought their own blocks but for those who did not, having this time to focus on them provided space to increase my knowledge of supportive ways to modify poses without the need for accessories such as blocks, bolsters, and blankets.

Try Out New Things

It may sound weird but having a smaller class with more space in between people also provides the ability to explore new ideas for your teaching that you may have been afraid of due to the worry of losing students. New poses, new theming, and new cueing with a smaller audience that can provide more one on one feedback is a wonderful opportunity for growth.

Yoga is a practice of creating flexibility in body and mind while becoming more mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Each class is a space to learn, grow, and evolve as a teacher and a student. You have all the tools and teacher tips you need to navigate this new environment of online and in-person teaching with grace and dignity. You’ve got this!

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Michelle Finerty
Michelle Finerty
Michelle has been writing professionally for over a decade. She started in the business world, focusing on cross-cultural communication and technical writing, and is now infusing the teachings of yoga with modern life, blending two of her passions...yoga and writing. Michelle also teaches yoga. Receiving her teacher training in Vinyasa Yoga in 2007 and adding Prenatal and Kids Yoga after becoming a mother. In her spare time, Michelle likes to meditate, hike, and read.