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Given the challenges of meeting in person during COVID, most yoga teacher trainings have had to move their trainings online in order to accommodate social distancing. Yoga Alliance – notoriously sticky about allowing for online course hours – is allowing schools to teach online through the end of 2020 as a way of supporting studios to keep teaching during this strange time.

However, part of the magic of a yoga teacher training is that it is in person. So how do you take a course that has been designed to be face-to face and move it into the online space?

Take a deep breath, studios and teachers! Here are five tips to help you out.

1. Livestreaming Tips

There are actually some nice benefits to livestreaming your yoga teacher training rather than teaching it in person:

  • You can require students to keep the video on (make this mandatory), which keeps them from hiding in the “back of class.”
  • You can record the session so students can have access to the material again. Yay!
  • You can share your screen to easily present online resources, such as presentations, images, videos and other fun links.
  • If you’re using Zoom, you can use the “breakout room” feature to have students do activities together as a smaller group – which can mimic in-class activities.

When you’re livestreaming, I highly suggest that (like your classroom experience) you vary your activities. Lecture a bit, then have students use break out rooms to do activities or reflect in a smaller group, lead practices, get them on their feet, have them take a poll, have them do an online quiz on the material you just covered, show them online presentations or other relevant and curated material.

As a best practice, restrict your “lectures” to small chunks. I recommend that you talk for no more than six minutes before having students engage or work with your material. Also, whenever possible, engage them students actively. Put the onus on them to do activities, come up with solutions, or even present on a topic that they have researched.

2. Practice Video Tips

The greatest challenge to taking a yoga teacher training online is that students aren’t teaching other humans in person. If you want someone to learn to teach an in person yoga class, then they need to practice teaching an in person yoga class. Teaching on Zoom is not the same, because you don’t have to “work” the room the same way, see students, use your physical body language, deliver as many verbal assists, do hands on assists or hold space.

Your greatest challenge in delivering an online yoga teacher training is addressing these limitations. Here are some ideas:

  • If possible, meet in person for practice teaching while social distancing. You can put a mat 6′ from someone else. You can meet in smaller groups. Though the student can’t walk around the room in the same way, the trainer can assess the student’s body language and vocal projection.
  • Have students practice teach in environments that mimic a real classroom. Have them teach family members, or put down mats or objects to represent students in a classroom. The more “real life” their practice teaching can be, the better equipped they will be to teach when they leave your training.
  • Use video. Have students record and submit assessments to the trainer, as well as practice teach live to your online group. When they record themselves, they will invariably wind up practicing a few times before they submit their recording – bonus!
  • Provide clear rubrics that detail what skills students need to demonstrate in order to achieve success. Not only can you use these rubrics to assess their practice teaching, they can use them to record themselves and self-assess, or assess their peers.

Need help with your livestreaming? Check this out.

3. Use Pre-Made Resources

Let’s be honest: livestreaming an entire 200-hour yoga teacher training can be tiring. Are there already built resources that you can use to support the student experience outside of livestream hours? YouTube videos, recorded classes from your studio, articles from reputable magazines, assigned reading in your manual?

Now, there is a HUGE caveat to this: all resources must directly support the learning objectives of your teacher training. If you choose to let students use outside resources – or you use them during class time – you must be very clear that they serve your learning intention, the training’s vision, and are very clear. Putting together a bunch of disparate resources because they’re interesting won’t work; carefully curating resources that directly support your training objectives does.

4. Plan For Interaction

This may seem obvious – and it’s actually less relevant to livestreamed yoga teacher trainings than to asynchronous trainings – but it’s important to deliberately create opportunities for student-student interaction and faculty-student interaction.

For student-student interaction, consider putting students in buddies, small study groups, assigning group projects/ activities, having peer-peer practice teaching assessments, or integrating discussion forums.

For faculty-student interaction, consider personal check ins, small group mentorship, email availability for questions or “office hours,” or Q&A forums (for example, create a Google Site). Also, be very clear upfront how students can get in touch with faculty for questions and what the response time should be.

5. Assess

Assess, assess, assess. Remember, the training isn’t about what you tell your students, it’s about what they can do. Regularly provide opportunities to assess their skills and give them personalized feedback. Covering less material and incorporating practice/ feedback is far better than covering a ton of different material. By assessing your students regularly – and giving them real tasks – you will set them up for success, online and off.

Bonus: here are some tips from the Yoga Alliance site on offering online yoga teacher trainings. Also, check out the “student-side” article that I’ve written. It includes a list of questions that all online teacher training programs will want to be able to answer.

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  1. We think the hybrid YTT concept that Do Yoga With Me created is fantastic! We are curious to see if Do Yoga With Me will move to a solely online YTT model or stick with the same hybrid concept in 2021? We mentioned the Do Yoga With Me hybrid YTT in our Do Yoga With Me review 🙂

  2. Hi Heather!
    While our preference is to offer an in-person component, we may need to make our Level 3 online in order to accommodate our students in these interesting times! I’m a little less resistant to doing Level 3 online after speaking with some of the livestream players out there and seeing what can work. But I am very proud of our asynchronous component – that is, that students can take advantage of working at their own pace/ at their own time in Level 1 and 2 – I think it’s a huge benefit for folks out there who live complicated lives! 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing your tips to make a proper online yoga teacher training course , we appreciate your effort .

  4. I’m so glad that you have found it helpful 🙂 XO

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