I wanted to talk about some of the things I’ve learnt from teaching 1-1 yoga online. TBF I don’t do much of that anymore, I’m mostly mentoring other yoga teachers – but I still have a very small handful of private clients that I love more than life, and I still use all these tips with them.
Also: if you’re a visual learner, I’ve posted a portion of this on IG: but if you’re into reading the unabridged version: this is for you!
Prob the biggest hack I’ve found when teaching online. Use your phone to film you demo the class, and then ALSO connect your laptop to the same call so you can keep it next to your mat and monitor your client’s moves as you flow through (I pin their screen on my laptop so when I’m speaking it doesn’t jump to me.) Cuz truth is – no matter how good a teacher you are, you can’t adjust form from 8 feet away. And while it’ll always be harder to instruct and catch micro movements when you’re teaching in person, you’ll still be able to see more of their form (and maintain a more personal connection) with a closer setup.
Maybe controversial, but I don’t play music when I teach – I send a playlist to them and they play it from their end. Playing it out of your speaker just sounds tinny and annoying on zoom… plus, they need to hear your instructions as clearly as possible. If you need a ‘vibe’ to teach to, stream Spotify to your headphones from your phone (yes, you can be on a Zoom call at the same time).
Lefts and rights are fine in class but on a Zoom call things get flipped – so if you’re facing them, make sure you say “left” when your right hand is reaching up etc. or stay away all together and say “reach towards me/away from me/to the wall behind you” etc. Use cues that are relative to the space they’re in. For example, one client of mine always trains in his living room, so I would say something like “push your hips towards the glass doors” so it’s crystal clear what I need him to do.
Obviously don’t drag out your words: that becomes grating af. But put more pauses in between your sentences so people have a chance to hear your instruction, see your transition, and get their body into position. I’m constantly re-learning this: trusting the silence is a life-long challenge of mine. But it can go a long way into keeping your clients emotionally regulated, so they’re not always rushing to keep in step with you.
I had a massage recently where the therapist got a little carried away – she was HAM in a 15 minute smackdown with this one little knot in my back. But the thing is, she lost track of time in the process – so she gave me a few quick sweeps across my back and said “okay done! The next client is outside so please change quickly.”
I left the session with one side of my back turned to mush – while the other side hardly touched. And as much as I know she wasn’t trying to be unprofessional – I won’t be going back, because I left feeling stressed and hurried, and that’s not how I want my nervous system to feel after a massage.
It was such an important reminder for me though: that how we start and end the session can be make or break for us. For that reason, I keep a 5 minute buffer before AND after clients – so that you can start the session feeling calm and collected, and also so you can end with a gentle, unhurried energy, not an “anxious about time” one.
There’s a concept I’ve rolling around in my head recently and it’s this: automate parts of the masculine so you can be intentional about the feminine. Like, automate the structure so that you can flow through the unpredictable bits.
The word “automate” seems so terrifying but really it’s simpler than you think: especially if you use a booking system like Calendly or Acuity. I use Acuity and it automatically generates a Zoom link for every appointment I make, AND it sends my client an automatic email because god knows I’m forgetful… plus I have more important things to focus on instead of worrying if my client actually received the correct link or not. It’s a small thing that’s actually not so small – it helps you be efficient, but it also goes a long way into helping you present a professional approach to your clients.
Talk to me: do you use any of these tips? Would you add anything to this list? Let me know :