A Perspective for Yoga Schools, Institutions and Retreat Centers
The IMPACT the lockdown has had on businesses worldwide has either been a blessing or a curse. Many of us have been forced to break free from conventions. Yoga is all about connecting on various levels: not just with our minds and bodies, but also with others. Soul connections can be deeply healing experiences and give people who do in-person yoga something to look forward to. With this New Normal in effect, we are being asked to isolate others from others and pivot to embrace online connections.
Global travel restrictions have shaken many of our practices, studios, schools, and retreat centers. Many institutions have come to rely on an influx of foreign visitors eager to seek training at top yoga schools in Rishikesh or the Himalayas. Without this kind of traffic, they find that revenues fall to almost zero, indefinitely. This scenario requires creativity and a forward-thinking approach. Enter online yoga: a great solution to decreased freedom and mobility.
There are so many BENEFITS to combining your school’s offline instruction (where possible!) with online offerings. Consider these three approaches:
On-demand viewing is the way of the future for fitness—just check out the success that Peloton has had in the past year. This approach is great for both school and student: you can pre-record all of your courses so that students can access your classes on their schedules. Classes that aren’t live allow you to record and document your training practice. Here’s where you can get really creative: add captions for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, or pop-up text bubbles for interesting facts that you might want participants to learn. Pre-recording your content and sharing it as part of an online training course allows you to manage your time wisely, and it’s perfect for introverted students and those who prefer self-paced learning.
While on-demand learning is convenient for students, it might not always be convenient for instructors. Perhaps you enjoy the community of meeting your students, hearing their voices, or seeing what they’re doing. Consider an interactive learning approach: part pre-recorded on-demand classes, part live online classes. This ensures that you’re giving your students options for the best learning approach for them, plus the sense of community that comes with being part of a class. Students can get to know one another, help each other with coursework, and build friendships. It can be really rewarding to have that open channel of communication!
This hybrid approach is perfect for extroverts! Some of us just learn best in-person alongside others—we thrive in social spaces, and appreciate having the option to do so safely during the pandemic. Make sure you’re following all COVID-19 protocols, adopt a disinfection plan for all mats, bands, and blocks, keep live classes small and extra socially-distanced, and make masks use a must for entry. Try making the first class in-person, or making one class in-person at intervals that work for your program. This approach allows you as the instructor to set the tone and pace, giving you a bit more control over how you teach. This is best for students who can take time off from other activities to fully devote themselves to their practice, those who can still travel, and those who just need that in-person interaction to bring out their best selves.
Taking some, or all, of your yoga instruction online gives you unlimited potential. You can cut down on costs like high rents and the costs of running a brick-and-mortar studio, saving spend for enhancing your brand and community. You can also generate a more stable and predictable income by offering online subscriptions through a globally-accessible e-commerce platform. This also allows you the flexibility to teach from anywhere you might want to—whether it’s an ashram halfway around the world or in your own backyard.
Use online learning as an opportunity to SPREAD YOUR LIGHT. Reach new audiences: older people with strict isolation restrictions; families who can connect by doing the same classes together across generations and borders; bored kids in need of some fun mind-body exercise while they’re stuck indoors; and new mothers who find it easier to practice at home with their little ones. By making your classes available online, you’re spreading the message of yoga and building a vastly larger community than you might ever have by just focusing on in-person instruction.
Students stand to benefit in a myriad of ways as well. Working professionals looking to take the leap into full-time teaching can transition more easily using your on-demand classes. Toddler moms who are eager to start their journey into yoga instruction will also appreciate the flexibility that online classes offer. Students who might have needed to take a 30-minute drive just to get to your studio can now comfortably take your classes at home, avoiding a stressful commute or a mad dash to the studio during rush hour traffic. Offering busy or stressed people convenience when it comes to learning is a great way to show that your yoga practice is dedicated to carrying the message of calming and centering oneself throughout your entire brand.
We can’t wait to help guide you through the process of taking your yoga practice online. Reach out to us at Voyayoga today.
Going online doesn’t have to mean shutting down online. The best part of the New Normal is that you can combine the best of both worlds. Use your online presence to complement—not replace—your offline activities. This is a chance to diversify your offerings and your income, which will prepare you for growth as you enter the next amazing phase. Be limitless.