3 Tips for Teaching Yoga Online
This guest post is written by Kaitlin King, the founder of Yoga Soule, which produces whimsically-designed yoga retreats and events infused with anthropology and fire.
I have a love-hate relationship with online yoga videos.
Sometimes I happily scroll through Instagram, inspired by others’ beautiful yoga sequences caught on film, absolutely grateful for the opportunity to share in and appreciate others’ practices. I hit up YouTube for inspiration planning my classes, completely encouraged by all the interesting classes teachers are showcasing, and I’m thankful that I can borrow from others’ creativity and expression. Those are the days when I roll out my mat, bust open the tripod, and confidently hit “record” on the camera. My juices are flowing, I’ve got a voice and some art to share, and I relish putting it all together. I feel a part of a community and I enjoy contributing to it.
There are other days however, when I cannot stand to think about putting my virtual self out into the interwebs. I cannot bear to watch my body onscreen, hear my voice streaming out of speakers, see myself try to exist alongside other Internet yoga stars. These kinds of days pass more often than I’d like to admit. I feel insignificant among big-budget, makeup and hair, crew-produced videos of professionals. I feel jealous of the flexibility, grace, and strength of the yogis I see on social media. I feel a burning embarrassment promoting the video to my students, posting it on social media, or shoot even showing the video to my mom!
This became a bigger problem when I got the brilliant idea to produce and sell yoga classes online as a part of my yoga business last year. I understood the power video has in marketing, I knew students (myself included) paid for their favorite teachers’ online classes, and I knew that my yoga retreats and studio classes in the Italian Riviera were sure as heck not getting me where I need to be financially. The yoga industry is modernizing and changing, and I wanted to be on the winning end of creative new business models for yogi-preneurs. So I just started.
This sounds like the part of the story where I learned everything, became a millionaire and changed my insecure ways, right? Well, I still haven’t sold a single yoga class online. Actually, I haven’t tried yet, I got too excited about making free videos for YouTube. This is in no way a lead in to a magical transformation and a 3-step formula.This is an honest reflection on this strange process of yoga video creation, 20-something yoga videos in:
The abundance mentality still applies to the digital space.
We often operate out of a mentality of scarcity. We think the universe only gives out so many passes for success, beauty, love, you name it. We compare our statistical odds of being able to be a “good” yoga teacher if there are already another 210 “good” instructors in our town, as though life operated like a pie chart, handing out slices of in limited quantities. Sometimes we think that someone else’s beauty makes us less beautiful, or someone’s awesome yoga video makes mine less awesome. Luckily, someone else’s achievement does not negatively impact our own ability to achieve what we want. There’s plenty of room for you, for me, and for every single person to be everything they want to be, even on the Internet.
Your yoga video is a creative expression of you!
From planning to filming to post-production, treating my yoga videos like an art project completely changed my attitude. Art is subjective, it’s funky, it’s raw, it’s imperfectly perfect, and as soon as I let myself sink into letting my videos be that, I started actually having fun. I stopped imitating what I saw others doing and started doing what felt good and what I liked. Now, this art project of yours here is not precious, Louvre-y, high art, so don’t get too freaked out about coloring inside the lines. Once you begin approaching the process like an artist, you can more freely find your own unique style and voice, reflective of your special personal practice and live classes. Which leads me to the final point…
Comparing will kill your vibe.
We know this, we hear this all the time, and yet we still compare ourselves to others and feel badly about it. With social media, it is especially hard not to get anxious when seeing thousands of likes on photos and videos of yogis on their hands upside-down all over the world. Remembering the just-like-you human being behind the cool leggings, smooth voice and huge online following also can help minimize the inferiority complex. Allow your creation to be out in the world and in relationship to no one else but yourself. As we say, do your practice and all is coming. And if you want to film it and share it with the world while you’re at it, more power to you; I’d love to know what insights you’ve gained along your journey!