During the COVID-19 pandemic, yoga is needed more than ever to ease anxiety and ground ourselves in the midst of this global crisis.
However, as studios around the world are shut down, yoga teachers are struggling to connect with their students.
Thanks to the wonders of technology, there are many options for digital platforms to host classes and workshops from the comfort of your own home. My personal favorite is Instagram Live.
What You Need to Know About Instagram Live
Instagram Live is not necessarily a traditional method of virtually hosting a yoga class, but after all, there’s nothing traditional about hosting a virtual yoga class in the first place.
Instagram Live is a platform that allows Instagram users to watch a stream of content live. Users can comment, but cannot be seen or heard. If you have a public profile, any user can watch your live stream.
If you are looking for a platform to teach a virtual yoga class to a few paying students, Instagram Live is not for you.
However, it is a critical tool for developing a brand and expanding your community. Viewers from all over the world can tune in to your live stream, increasing your reputation, and creating a following that will benefit you as you continue your yoga career.
Here’s How to Use Instagram Live as a Yoga Teaching Tool
Instagram Live can be used to teach a virtual yoga class, whether it’s a short 15 minute class, or a longer length practice (Instagram Live allows up to one hour).
I use Instagram Live as a tool to reach out to communities that may not be familiar with yoga. I have partnered with various non-yoga related organizations to host virtual workshops and classes that teach mindfulness skills.
This is not only beneficial for the users that gain knowledge about the practice of yoga, but also organization as they are producing content to keep their followers engaged. This also benefits you as the teacher, because you are expanding your influence as a yoga teacher beyond the existing yoga community.
Instagram Live is also useful for creating yoga content that may not be specifically a class.
Here are a few additional ideas of how you can utilize Instagram Live:
- Lead guided meditations
- Teach specific mindfulness skills, such as Pranayama
- Lead a workshop about specific concepts, like the Chakras
- Do “Q & A” style live streams using the Instagram Question Box feature
As a yoga teacher, you possess coveted knowledge and experience that people around the world would love to hear about and live streams are a great way to share that knowledge from a platform other than a traditional yoga class.
Here’s How to Teach a Yoga Class On Instagram Live
The good news is that promoting, preparing for, and teaching a yoga class on Instagram Live is simple and straightforward. You don’t have to be a technological genius!
Step 1: Post a picture on your Instagram page a few days before promoting your upcoming livestream. Be sure to include the date and time.
Step 2: Post a reminder on your Instagram Story a few hours before you go live to remind your followers to tune in.
You can post a Countdown Sticker which allows viewers to send themselves a reminder when your live yoga class is set to begin.
If you are doing a “Q & A” style live stream, create an Instagram Story post with a question and answer box included so your followers can ask you questions prior to your live session.
Step 3: Set up your space and test your technology before going live. See the “Do’s and Don’ts” section below for tips.
Step 3: Open the Instagram Stories camera and swipe right to find the Live button. This screen will show you the number of your followers that are currently on Instagram.
Step 4: While on your live video, you can read viewers’ comments at the bottom of the screen and at the top of the screen, you will see a number indicating your current number of viewers.
You can access your follower’s questions by pressing the question mark in the bottom right hand corner.
Step 5: If a viewer says something you’d like to highlight, you can press “Pin Comment.” You can also comment your own message and pin it to the top of the questions bar so that everyone can see it.
Step 6: You can invite someone to co-host your live by pressing the faces icon.
Step 7: Instagram Live will automatically end after one hour.
Once you’ve finished your livestream, you will be sent to a screen that asks you if you’d like to save a recording of your live on your profile. If you select yes, your followers will be able to access and view it for the next 24 hours.
Important Do’s and Don’ts for Teaching Yoga On Instagram Live
When teaching a yoga class via Instagram Live, I usually center my sequence around seated postures and learning mindfulness exercises like pranayama breathwork.
This way, I am able to stay close to the camera so that my device’s microphone can pick me up and I am also able to see user’s comments and stay engaged with them.
I would recommend avoiding complex full body sequences, particularly as the video quality is not the best.
Here are a few pro tips for using Instagram Live:
- Use a tripod for your phone
- Be sure to frame the entire mat so viewers can see what you’re doing
- Lighting is key! Make sure your space is brightly lit
- Interact with your viewers’ comments and answer their questions to keep engagement rates high
- Since Instagram will send followers who are currently online a message letting them know about your live stream is beginning, go live when your followers are most active
Yoga Teachers! Take Advantage of Instagram Live to Benefit Your Students and Your Business
All in all, Instagram Live is a critical tool for reaching students during the current crisis.
Even after COVID-19, Instagram Live will continue to be a great resource for building your community and sharing the practice of yoga with the digital world.