How to Create an Authentic, Awesome Virtual Yoga Studio

So, you want to teach yoga online? Alrighty then! We have a comprehensive guide to getting you set up and practising with your students in a way that works for you. We know how important it is for you to reach your students, helping them to move and look after their physical and mental wellbeing whilst they’re at home. In this comprehensive article, we dive into a variety of different themes and topics to help you set up a successful digital yoga practice that will be a sustainable success. 

Finding the right mindset

First up – when it comes to creating your online yoga studio, think of it as a long game with quick wins. You want to teach yoga online, and that’s awesome! And once you’ve made that decision, it’s super tempting to jump straight in, building as you go. Just as a yoga teacher training course takes time, creating an online yoga studio practice benefits from careful planning and thoughtful action. 

It’s a cliché, of course, but we really are living in unprecedented times. That’s why the first tip we have is to set yourself up for sustainable success. 

Starting up a digital yoga studio doesn’t need to be difficult (we’ve built an app for that!) but we’re really cautioning teachers against burn out – creating in a frenzy and falling off the radar within a few months, getting so tired by the work you’re doing that you can’t keep it up. No, thank you!

Plan, plan, plan

Instead, try and break down the aspects of setting up an online studio into a plan with clear steps you can take. Other things to consider include:

  1. Is the platform user-friendly for you? Any tech you use should be set up to make your life easy.
  2. Can you film and upload 2 videos as week, and host a single live class? Starting small can be the key to success.
  3. When you’re ready to add more classes, how can you make these flex with your schedule?
  4. Offering ‘snackable’ content in place of full classes can be a way to gently increase your offering without sending you over the edge. Try specific pose guides, meditation moments, or morning breathing exercises to keep students engaged. 

Be okay with starting with the smallest action that you can take. Just like learning a new pose, you wouldn’t expect to go from newbie yogi to a full crow pose without progressing through the natural stages! Building things up slowly, trusting in the process and the journey – these things will help you and your students have great experiences alike as you head out on your online yoga journey. 

Choosing a platform

Now you have a sustainable plan to teach yoga online – you need a platform! When it comes to choosing one, there are a few key things to consider:

  • What are all the functions you need to teach classes?
    • Do you want to do live-stream videos, or just video on demand?
    • Do you want a space to write blogs?
    • Do you want a platform that lets you host other kinds of content, such as photo galleries or forums?
  • How important is accessibility to you? 
    • What student needs does your platform need to cater to?
    • How can you make life as easy for your students as possible?
    • How much admin work (sending reminders, chasing payment) are you prepared to do?
  • Does the platform in question integrate with other tools you use, such as Google Cal, Mailchimp, or social media?
  • How is payment taken, is it secure, and what are the costs associated with using the platform?
  • Does the platform let you devise flexible payments for your students?
  • Are the platform creators on hand to help you with any tech issues you might have?

Brainstorm your own questions and add them to the list!

Calendar planning and creativity!

Right, you’ve chosen your fantastic platform, and you’re ready to start creating content. But wait! What are you actually going to make?

In some yoga studios, practice can last anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours (looking at you, Mysore!) For students that are joining you from home, this may no longer be a feasible amount of time to expect of them. This is where a bit of careful calendar planning and some creativity can work wonders.

By plotting the classes you want to offer in advance, you can link sessions together with common themes, moon phases, or the seasons.

The great thing about a digital yoga studio is the flexibility that’s offered. Try shorter sessions, longer sessions, meditations, coffee circles and more!

For example, you could put together a 15-minute morning wake up yoga session, or a fast and fabulous Friday night power flow. By choosing a platform that automatically records live-stream sessions as video on demand, you’ll also getting two classes for effort of one.

Getting creative

Thinking of your content calendar a month in advance gives you a real overview of how it is that you are going to best serve your students, and look after yourself. This will help to ensure that you have a greater degree of sustainability around setting up your digital studio. And, best of all, you know exactly what you’re doing for the month ahead – no surprises, and no thinking ‘what the heck do I teach?!’ when another week rolls around and you’re bereft of content. 

Bonus tip – if you’re using a platform that enables it, you can also gather data to help you to make more informed decisions your classes. Data capture enables you to see how popular certain classes are, what the uptake is, or if students drop off after a certain point (is a pose too long for comfort, perhaps?). 

Flexible payment for flexible people

Be open to considering flexible payment options, and consider a variety of different ways in which people can engage with you. A Karma class on a weekend, where people can pay what they want, enables your students to enjoy a community session and a pause in their busy lives to reconnect and recentre. 

Other flexible payment ideas can be different block bookings – students could book in blocks of five, 10, or more. Single live classes could also be made available with a limited-time replay, and you can always offer an unlimited class pass with a subscription fee.

Safety first!

A quick word of caution – make sure that you have a really solid payment system set up.

Rather than send out a PayPal or Venmo link and then having to check everyone’s paid before commencing class, or doing all the tracking of who’s got a membership or who hasn’t, choose a platform that integrates safe, secure payment for you. If nothing else, it avoids awkward conversations with freeloaders who haven’t paid.

An automated system leaves little room for human error, you ensure you’re getting paid on time, and students know exactly where they stand. 

The result? Confident students and teachers that can get on with doing the yoga they love. 

Planning content around you

When it comes to teaching yoga online, the temptation may be to do all live classes to begin with – and if that’s your style of yoga, that’s fantastic. But if you’re new to the technology, may we make a case for video on demand? The great thing about video on demand is that you can take a couple of days at the start of every month and record as much as you are able to or would like to! By concentrating your efforts and taking some dedicated time, you might find you get into a real ‘flow’ so to speak. And, on top of this, you then get the time to tweak and polish your classes before you release them.

Once they’re all ready to go, just upload them, and your students can practice with you whenever it suits them best.

Making it user-friendly

Speaking of making things user-friendly, there are a number of things to bear in mind when choosing a platform that works for you and your students.

Ideally, you would choose a system that enables you to set up automatic notifications and emails. For example, when a student books into a live class, you would both get a confirmation email and an invite to add it to their calendar. Then, a few hours before your class, the student will get a reminder email. And if they didn’t manage to make it to class? Another email should go out to let them know there’s a replay option.

This kind of user-friendly focus not only helps your students get more practice in, it helps them feel cherished and cared for, just as they’d be in your studio. 

Accessible schedules & booking systems

Is it easy for your students to see your schedule? Are they able to access a calendar of upcoming classes and how will they know when they can practice with you? Is your content playable and optimized for mobile and TV apps? Another word on user-friendliness – make sure you have a really robust and user-friendly booking system. 

The last thing you want to do is for your students to have to jump through 400 different hoops for them to be able to book class with you.

Not only is that going to be frustrating for them, it also means you could potentially miss out on classes, and therefore on revenue.

Live-stream or VOD?

If you are doing a live stream class, make sure it’s set up to make your life as easy as possible! Try a couple of practice run throughs, to make sure there aren’t any gremlins in the system. This is especially true of classes that are set to music. Unless you’re using a platform that offers a music and voice-streaming service so both can be heard distinctly, consider sending a playlist over in advance of music for your students to play whilst they practice. 

Consider having a waiting room for students and opening them up a good few minutes in advance so that people can get settled before they practice with you.

We also recommend that you make sure that you’re managing expectations in terms of what people can see when they engage with you – is it two-way video, or just one? And because you aren’t there in person to support people with pose adjustments during a class, make sure that you also encourage people to come back and rest in a child’s pose or Savasana when they need to. 

This helps people to find their stillness and space if something is becoming too challenging and will help them avoid preventable injury.

Marketing with heart 

Of course, some of the most impactful action you can take is outside of your platform! Marketing with heart and honesty is one of the best ways to educate students about your new online yoga classes. One of the biggest things to consider if you’re choosing to teach yoga online is making sure that your yogis are aware of everything on offer in your digital studio before they sign up. Not only will you increase the likelihood that they’ll come on board, but highlighting the benefits of your digital studio could also capture new students.

Try a fun weekly newsletter, a monthly update, or a gentle daily nudge on social media to remind people of the great stuff that you have coming up in your calendar. Making sure your marketing is all focused on your customers’ perspectives will lead to success in the long run. 

A word on vulnerability

And lastly, have fun!

Your people love you for your practice and for your authentic self. Make sure that that’s what you bring to the camera, every single time. If you’re having a rough day (and yes, it’s 2020 – we’ve all had at least one!) – that’s okay! Share it with your students. The chances are that your vulnerability will help them to realize that there are spots that they’re avoiding getting in touch with, so they don’t feel their feelings. 

Showing up and being human and vulnerable when we teach yoga can only be beneficial, for us, and our wider community. 

How To Offer An Online Yoga Teacher Training

Photo of woman with laptop

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.

How To Be A Great Yoga Teacher Trainer: Assign Real Tasks

A sign saying Next Steps

I know it’s tempting. You want to assign your yoga trainees to do something fun, like write an essay on how the chakra system developed in India or describe their personal relationship to their dosha. But as diligent yoga teacher trainers we have to ask: do these assignments get them closer to their training goal?

Prioritizing What To Teach

When we first start creating a teacher training, 200 hours sounds like a long time. But once we start factoring in asana labs, practices, practice teaching, cueing techniques and sequencing exercises…suddenly 200 hours is really very little time. 

When you design – or refine – your yoga teacher training, consider: What am I asking students to do at the end of the training to demonstrate that they have learned the necessary skills to teach? What is the primary task that they must perform for me to say, “Ah-ha! by Jove they’ve got it!”

For many yoga teacher trainings, the primary task is teaching part of an asana class. We rarely ask students to lecture on Ayurveda or describe key events from yoga history. So our focus as yoga teacher trainers must first prioritize the learnings, tasks, and activities that will help students to teach asana effectively.

Incorporating the Fun Stuff

This doesn’t mean that we can’t include more theoretical subjects. After all, students come to teacher training to deepen their relationship with themselves and investigate the yoga tradition, not simply learn how to cue asana. Most of us would probably agree that having a healthy respect for the yoga tradition and its many facets fosters essential knowledge, respect and humility in our teachers in their relationship to the practice.

However, if you want your students to have a working and applicable knowledge of these aspects of the tradition, then you can support their learning by making this information immediately relevant to their teaching. We can do this by assigning real tasks.

Real Tasks

A real task is one that practically supports the student’s work as a teacher.  By ensuring that we are assigning real tasks in our training, we help our students transfer theoretical knowledge into real-world skills. For example: 

  • Rather than assigning students to write an essay on the chakras, task them to create a class themed around manipura chakra.
  • Rather than ask a student to describe their relationship to their own dosha, task them to create a sequence for someone who has an excess of vata.
  • Rather than test students on their yoga history knowledge, ask students to teach a meditation practice described by Patanjali, an asana practice rooted in the concept of the Bhagavad Gita’s definition of yoga, “yoga is skill in action,” and a pranayama practice as described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. \

And if you feel that the more theoretical aspects of the yoga practice are essential the style of yoga that you wish your students to teach, then include these elements in their primary task and final assessment. By tweaking your tasks to be “real,” you will help students refine their skills more quickly. Also, students will recognize the practical value of the assignment, which will motivate them to do it well. 🙂 

Livestreaming? Get tips on how to do this in the online format.

Students: What You Need To Know About Online Yoga Teacher Trainings

Girl sitting at computre

COVID-19 has struck. Yoga Alliance has given the thumb’s up for online yoga teacher trainings through the end of 2020. And now there is an onslaught of online yoga TT’s cropping up worldwide.

Online yoga teacher trainings seem great: convenient, often well priced, and timely. But are they good? Here’s what you need to know.

About Online Education

When planned properly, here’s what online education does really well:

  • Allows students to study material at their own pace (some students may like to move slowly, some will move quickly; having material online allows the rewatching of videos).
  • Allows students to study material when it fits into their lives (at different times of day and on different days).
  • Can be very useful for learning brain stuff. In yoga, this translates to taking courses on yoga theory, sequencing, philosophy, some anatomy, and history.

Here’s what an online yoga teacher training has challenges with:

  • Teaching material where you need to touch a physical body on hand (like learning hands on assists).
  • Teaching asana labs, or looking at variety of bodies in 3-d in real time.
  • Mimicking the environment of teaching an in-person class (if you’re going to teach an in-person class, you need to practice teaching real people in real-time).
  • More challenging to create community and sense of connection between the students.

100% Online Yoga Teacher Trainings

Some schools are moving all their training hours onto Zoom and livestreaming their programs. This is a great stop gap measure and I personally can vouch the quality of two schools – YYoga and YogaWorks – that are using the method to support their teacher trainees. After all, it’s very tough out there for yoga schools right now; livestreaming a TT can be welcome solution to keep your program going and to connect with your students. Meeting in real-time in a virtual space is the next best thing to meeting in person. This is called synchronous learning, where everyone shows up in a virtual space at the same time.

However, there are some limitations with livestreaming an entire yoga teacher training that you should be aware of (which is why Yoga Alliance is permitting online learning as a stop gap rather than fully embracing it for all course hours). If you want your trainees to teach a group class in-person, then it’s better that they practice teach in-person students. Teaching on a zoom call is not the same thing. Schools that need to deliver a 100% livestream course would do well to consider some innovative solutions to address this particular missing link, such as:

  • In-person teaching at a safe social distance, perhaps with limited numbers.
  • Having students recruit other members of their household to teach so that their online teachers can watch them teach a “class with students” via livestream (get your family to sign a waiver :).
  • When students practice teach, have them mimic being in a real space. Lay out mats to represent students so that your online trainer can watch how you navigate a real room.
  • Utilize the online format to practice skills such as verbal alignment corrections in real-time.

Although the 100% livestream option is a good stop gap, it can also miss out on some advantages of online training: namely, the ability for students to work at their own pace at their own time. This is called asynchronous learning, where students work by themselves, rather than having to meet a group online at a specific time.

However, for asynchronous learning to be effective, it must be well-planned and well-crafted. They cannot be easily thrown together, but must be structured with love, skill, and care. To give you an idea, it takes at least 8 hours of work for every asynchronous course hour. That means that creating a 200-hour teacher training would take 40 weeks of working 40 hours of week, or almost a year. Yikes! That’s a long time. So if the training that you are considering is not 100% livestreaming, but is using asynchronous learning, then it’s a good idea to ask a few questions about how they created their asynchronous content.

What You Should Ask

Taking an online yoga teacher training now may be an excellent opportunity for you to deepen your love of yoga, fuel your passion, and advance your practice. And as I mentioned, there are many reputable schools (like Yoga Works and YYoga) that have moved their courses online to accommodate the times. Hybrid schools such as DoYogaWithMe blend online learning with in-person components to take advantage of both modalities. However, there are probably also some schools out there that may be jumping on the online train that aren’t fully prepared. It’s important that you can ask some questions so that you can tell the difference.

To protect your investment and the quality of your experience, here are some good questions to ask your school before you jump in:

  • How is the training delivered (how many hours of the training are online versus in-person)?
  • Of the online hours, how many are synchronous (requiring me to show up at a specific time in a livestream) versus asynchronous (where I study, watch videos, read, or move through course material on my own)?
  • What kinds of activities happen in those online hours?
  • What kinds of activities happen in asynchronous hours?
  • How are you encouraging peer to peer interaction? (This is huge for having a good experience.)
  • How are you managing/ enabling faculty to student interaction? How much contact will I personally have with faculty members? (Also huge.)
  • How will you assess me – both at the end of the training, as well as during the training – to make sure I’m learning how to teach effectively and safely?
  • How will you assess the advancement of my own personal practice?
  • If we’re 100% online, what kinds of activities will you provide to ensure that I can teach a group public class?
  • If you have online content (not livestream), where did the content come from and how was it organized (ie: recordings of previous trainings, YouTube videos, etc.)?

Any yoga teacher training worth its salt will be happy to sit down with you and discuss these details. For a more generalized look at how to think about yoga teacher training, check out my article with Yoga International, “How To Choose A Teacher Training.”

How To Record, Edit, & Upload An Online Yoga Class

Rachel Scott recording online yoga class

As everyone looks for ways to connect with their communities, I wanted to share some tips I’ve learned along the way about recording and uploading an online yoga class. Make sure to check out Five Ways To To Livesteam An Online Yoga Class and Five Best Practices: How To Teach An Online Yoga Class, where I cover the technical aspects of space, sounds, lighting, teacher presence, etc. Those elements remain the same, whether you’re recording or livestreaming, and that’s a good resource to check out.

In this blog, I’m going to look at how you shoot, edit, record, and upload classes, which is a slightly different animal than livestreaming. I am also going to assume that you are a DIY’er, and may not have the budget to have a video team on your payroll.

Before we jump in, let’s look at of livestreaming versus recording.

Livestreaming

  • Less time commitment (the work is over once your stop streaming)
  • More “in the moment feel” (you have to welcome a little messiness and screw ups)
  • Can connect directly with a live audience
  • Can record and post later

Benefits of Recording / Posting

  • Can control final product more
  • Can use two cameras
  • Requires post-production skills (editing, uploading)
  • Generally requires a more polished look
  • Available for posterity forever!

How To Record A Class

The easiest way to shoot your class these days is on your phone. The internal videocam on your computer just won’t have enough power, unless you buy an external webcam. Nowadays you can shoot as high as 4K on your phone. However, I don’t think 4K is necessary for your average class video just because it’ll eat up a lot of storage space on your phone and computer. Personally, I record in 1080p HD at 30 fps (frames per second). If you’re an Apple gal like me, go to Settings, Camera, then “Record Video” to see what you’re setting is at. When we record, we’re always balancing video quality, with “How much damn space will this file take up??” Apple has an excellent compressor, so you can get high quality video at not too high a storage space price.

Now, if you have a video recorder, you can shoot on that as well, you’ll just have to off-load your video footage to your computer afterwards.

You must have good audio. Your students aren’t going to watch your video so much as they are going to listen to it. Bad audio will kill the experience. And if you are recording and uploading, students will expect the audio to be nearly flawless. (For my audio tips, see, Five Best Practices: How To Teach An Online Yoga Class.) Unless you have a wireless body mic, your sound won’t be great because you’re likely demonstrating the class as you go.

However, as a low-cost solution, you could record the visuals of the class for practice (without talking), then record a voice over to replace the audio. It adds some work, but in a pinch, that’ll do. Recording the v/o (voice over) later helps because you can 1. sit next to your mic, and 2. not move.

One Camera Shoot

If you are recording a class, you can edit the footage after you shoot it. Therefore, you get to choose: one camera or two?

If you’re just starting out and don’t want to do a lot of editing, then have one camera. Accept that you will make mistakes or need to do cross-fade cuts if you mess up.

Pro Tip: if you screw up during the class flow, pause. Stay still. Take a breath, then go back a few beats in your “script” and do it again. Later, you can splice those takes together and remove your mistake. And if you’ve stayed really still, when you cut them together, students probably won’t even notice.

Two Camera Shoot

The benefit of shooting on two cameras is that you can go back and easily edit out mistakes. The bummer? More editing.

If you shoot with two cameras, then place one directly in front of you one diagonally to the side. Make sure to check both angles in advance to make sure they capture you (and remember, you’re going to be moving all over the place and lifting your arms over your head, so account for that. We don’t want your hands to get cut off :)).

Pro Tip: when you’re shooting with two cameras and you’ve got them rolling, clap your hands loudly. The clap will show up as a sharp spike in the audio and allow you sync the footage easily if you need to.

I recommend that you shoot your class straight through. Don’t restart the camera unless you really need to. You can note down where you’ve made mistakes if you need, or just assume you’ll be watching all the footage again and will catch the mistakes if you’re editing.

If you prefer to shoot in small bite-sized pieces, you’ll have a lot of video files. In this case, I recommend that you “slate” your videos by holding up a little whiteboard that keeps count of the shots. If you have a lot of videos, editing can get confusing if they’re not well-labelled.

Pro Tip: when you’re recording, speak slowly and leave pauses. Those pauses are gold when you’re editing, as it will allow you to make cuts.

Editing

Candidly, I’m an Apple gal through and through. For easy editing apps, I’d use IMovie. It’s intuitive and plays nicely with your phone videos. You don’t need a lot of bells and whistles to edit a yoga class. If you’re new to editing, then stick with IMovie rather than spending money on Final Cut or Adobe Premiere (good lord, those programs will overwhelm you with options!). If you’re using different software, you may need to export your videos from your IPhoto library in order to edit them. It’s not hard to do, but it may be an extra step.

Pro Tip: There is a phone app for IMovie, but I prefer to edit on my computer as it’s far easier to see what you’re doing.

Tips For Editing

How to edit is beyond the scope of one blog, but let me give you my top tips:

  • Add a title screen (if you need help adding an intro to your YouTube video, check these guys out at Design Wizard)
  • Edit out glaring mistakes (by cross fading if you’re on one camera, or by cutting between camera shots if you’re on two)
  • Record a short (30 second), friendly intro to the video where you tell people generally what you’re going to do, how hard the class is, and let them know if they need any props
  • If they do need props, give them “home friendly options” in case they don’t have yoga gear. Ie: you can use a scarf instead of a strap. Remember, they’re practicing at home.
  • Do NOT use music. You probably don’t have the rights to use it. If for some reason you do (musician friend gives it to you), then input it as a second track in editing – obviously don’t record it while you’re recording your video. Or – my preference – create a Spotify playlist and link to it. Students can play it if they want to on their own.
  • End screen, add ways to stay in touch, why not!

How To Post

If you’re trying to get your work into the world and use it as a “get to know me” tool, then post your content to YouTube. This is where people look for everything. Make sure to use add tags so that your content is searchable.

I recommend creating a graphic thumbnail for your video personally rather than using one that YouTube auto-creates. You can use a free editing software Canva. You want your thumbnail to reflect the content of the video, and also include in nice text what the title is. Check out Yoga With Adrienne on YouTube to see what I mean.

If you want to have a membership site, then obviously you won’t be posting these on YouTube. Vimeo is a great solution for video (unlike YouTube, they don’t stick advertisements in the middle of your content or promote other channels). However you pay for it (Vimeo makes their money off you rather than advertising).

You could turn Vimeo into a membership site by having people pay to get the password, or you could use a platform that manages content and access for you. I’m mostly familiar with leveraging education sites such as Thinkific, Teachable, Kajabi for this purpose, but there are other video management systems, too, like Namastream. If you want to host your videos to your own website, you may need to get around file size upload restrictions.

Pro Tip: If you need to make your videos a smaller file size, a handy tool for is an app called Handbrake.

A wonderful low tech way to share your stuff it to send your subscribers an email with the video link, for example, to a Dropbox file, where they can stream it for themselves.

With so much free content out there, I recommend a combination approach. Post some of your content out there for free so that people can get to know you. However, then you can point students in the direction of your paid content. For example, post 15-minute mini classes on YouTube, then have students who want the 30 or 45 minute class to check out your paid stuff on Vimeo.

Final Thoughts

Whenever you’re filming, choose authenticity over perfection. Your students will want to connect to you because of who you are; not because you can speak perfectly for an hour of class time. Resist the urge to fix everything. Students want to feel the real you. Remember that beyond the camera are real people who are looking to connect, breathe, and feel better!

Questions, comments, resources to share? Put them below!

Five Ways To Livestream An Online Yoga Class

Live Streaming Video

Can’t meet face to face?

If you’ve never used tech to go online before, it can seem intimidating. Here are some tips and my favorite tools to get you started easily. In this post, we’re looking at “live” aka “streaming” options, which put you online in the moment. Also, for more info on how to shoot well, check out my tools and tips for “How To Teach Online Yoga Classes.”

1. Facebook Live

Facebook live is great for a quick check in, or live streaming a class or conversation in real time. Because the time limit is so generous (8 hours), FB is a great option for longer streams.

You can save the video to your profile to people can see asynchronously, and you can also save it to your camera roll to preserve for posterity. One note: Facebook is not an archive; people see your posts basically the day you post it and that’s it. So if it’s a good video, you will want to save it and post it elsewhere for posterity (I tell you how, below).

Now, you can post publicly, or you can post privately to a group. So if you want to use FB to livestream, but manages who sees it (for example, you’re streaming to a group of students who have paid to have access to your online classes), you can easily manage those permissions.

The Summary

  • Time Limit: 4 seconds – 8 hours
  • Orientation: Landscape (horizontal – recommended) or portrait
  • Good for: Short or longer one-way videos that you want to livecast and save
  • Access: From computer or phone

How To:

  • Go to facebook.
  • Start a new
  • Click, “Live”
  • Turn your phone into the orientation you want (I recommend landscape – horizontal, rather than portrait – vertical). It looks better in your post if it’s landscape.
  • Click “Start Live Video.”
  • In bottom right corner, click “Finish” when you’re done. Try not to be awkward.
  • Publish:
    • To save to your own camera roll, click the download button.
    • Make sure that “Post video to your timeline” is checked.
    • Then click “Share”

Ta da!

Easy. It will take while to process. Facebook will let you know when it’s done. You can click the three little buttons in the upper right hand corner of the post to edit.

2. Instagram Live – Stories

With Instagram, you can post live via your Stories. However, because IG Stories shoot in 15 second chunks, this platform is better for shorter conversations (I like a minute or two). Theoretically, you could have a really long video in there, but I don’t think it’s the right platform for that kind of duration.

Like Facebook, Instagram story lives are not an archive; people see your posts basically the day you post it and that’s it unless they scroll. So if it’s a good video, you will want to save it and post it elsewhere for posterity (I tell you how, below).

The Summary:

  • Time Limit: 1-15 second blocks, but you can have as many blocks as you like
  • Shooting Orientation: Portrait (vertical)
  • Good for shorter one-way videos, under a couple of minutes
  • Access: from phone

How To:

  • Open Instagram Profile page
  • Click on your profile picture to open “Stories”
  • At bottom of page, slide left to “Live”
  • Before you do anything, click the settings button in upper left corner to make sure “Save To Camera Roll” is checked (I recommend also “Saving to Archive” so you add them to highlights later if you wish)
  • Click the big circle button at the bottom of your screen to start recording.
  • Click “End” in upper right hand corner to stop.
  • Click “Share to Story” at bottom (or delete)

A note on the recording time: Instagram Stories are broken into 15 second clips. When someone watches your story, they will run together sequentially as if there is no break. So you can talk for as long as you like, but if you want to do any editing of your clips (color correcting or adding hashtags), you will have to edit each segment separately. It’s easy to do, but may be tedious if you decided to chat for 3 minutes (you’d have 12 clips to edit).

3. Zoom

My fave “third party” for streaming is Zoom. Tried and true, and used by organizations everywhere. Unlike Facebook or Instagram, you would use Zoom to stream to a specific group of invited individuals. However, you could still post the video later onto your social media streams if you wished.

With the free version of Zoom, you can 100 participants for up to 40 minutes. For longer (or more people), you’d have to pay if you want access for more than 40 continuous minutes. Prices are reasonable.

Some Zoom perks:

  • You can record the sessions and post them later.
  • You can record the whole group if you’re doing a discussion (the video will record whoever is talking) or you can “pin” your video to just you (which I would recommend if you’re streaming a class or don’t want to record participants).
  • You can also screen share with Zoom. While this feature is not so important if you’re streaming a class, it is perhaps important for webinars, etc..

Another perk of Zoom: unlike Facebook, Instagram, or Skype, you don’t have join Zoom to attend a Zoom meeting.

The Summary:

  • Time Limit: 40 minutes with free (for $15/month, you can have 24 hour duration)
  • Shooting Orientation: Landscape
  • Good for longer videos that you want to save, or live streaming to a select group
  • Access: from computer or phone (I recommend computer, feels a little easier to manage)

Go to zoom, and download for your desktop. You can create and schedule meetings, invite others to your meeting, and record your live cast for posterity. A rough guide “how to” is below.

How To:

  • Go to zoom.com, then download and install to your computer.
  • Open Zoom.
  • Ensure your audio and video are working from your computer through your preferences and settings.
  • Create a meeting and invite folks to attend.
  • At the time of your meeting, you can either livestream with everyone visible and audible; if you are running a session that is one-way (ie: you’re teaching a class) where you want your audience invisible or muted, then you may choose to “pin” your own video so it’s the only one visible, turn off everyone else’s video, and mute other participants. They will still be able to participate in the chat.
  • You can pause the recording as you go.
  • Click “Stop” to stop recording.
  • Click “End meeting” to stop the meeting.
  • Zoom will process and save the meeting recording to your computer.

4 & 5. Skype and Google Hangouts

These apps are free, and relatively easy to use. I’m grouping Skype and Google Hangouts together as – at least to me – they seem similarly limited in scope. They’re free, and both of them are good for conference calling and screensharing. However, participants need to be a member of these respective host sites to join a meeting on them.

With Skype, you have up to 50 people on a call, you can record the call and you can mute participants. However, I did not find an intuitive way to edit how the video was recorded so that you capture only the host. While this is okay for an educational broadcast, it’s awkward if you want to record and replay a live class stream.

On Google Hangouts, you can have up to 25 people on a video call. However, you can only record your calls if you have the Enterprise edition of a Google Suite. Also, when you record, it will record visible active participants (“pinning” a participant won’t impact how it’s recorded).

While Skype and Google Hangouts are useful for small group or 1-1 meetings, they fall short if you want to record your meeting for posterity.

A caveat: while you can screen record anything that you play on your computer with a third party app, this isn’t a great idea for two reasons: 1. it’s illegal in many places to record people without their knowledge, and 2. screen capturing can deliver bad audio. If you want to record a session, I think it’s generally better to use a service like Zoom that is more geared to conferencing and recording.

Final Word

Options out there for screencasting, livecasting, and recording are always developing. These are several common tools that are familiar to many people and your participants. If you have any faves that you want to share, please list them below.

How To Plan Your Yoga Teacher Training Schedule

Planning a yoga teacher training? Not sure what format to use? Here are some tips to get you thinking about your schedule in the most effective – and marketing friendly – way.

1. Plan with your students in mind

Who are your ideal students for your training? What is their life like? Do they work 9-5, or do they have flexible schedules? Do they need their weekends free for family, or is a Saturday/Sunday schedule perfect? Do they want to get away on a TT retreat for three weeks, or parse out the information over several months?

If you’re not sure what your community needs, consider sending a survey as well as asking potential students less formally. Proactively tailoring your format for your students will ensure that you are creating a program that people can actually attend.

2. Compare Formats

In a nutshell, teacher training formats are either long form (also called part time) or intensives (think full time). An intensive is usually 3-4 weeks long and runs for up to 12 hours/day. (Some teacher trainings try to get students certified in two weeks, which would require days that run from 7 AM-10 PM – eek).

Despite the challenges of working 9-5 and attending a full-time program, the intensive format is surprisingly popular! It’s perfect for students who are:

  • retirees with no 9-5 obligations
  • university students (during breaks)
  • those who have a flexible work schedule (personal trainers, service industry, consultants, etc.)
  • those in life/job transition

A part time program (usually these run over weekends and some combination of additional evenings) are perfect for students who:

  • love a slower, more integrated pace of learning
  • work 9-5 and need their weekdays free

You might also consider what I call a blended format, which combines elements of both the part time and intensive format. In a blended format, you break your training down into 4-5 day segments, then run these segments from Thursday-Sunday (or Wednesday-Sunday). In this kind of program, you may run your program once a month for four months to complete your full training.

A blended format can support 9-5’ers (they don’t have to take as many days off as they would in an intensive, since the TT is primarily over weekends), but can also appeal to students who have to travel long distances to take the training (they only have to travel five times, rather than every weekend).

3. Evaluate Tolerance

If you are running a 200-hour Yoga Alliance training, then you need to have 180 contact hours in the classroom to adhere to their standards. When are you considering schedule your days, I find the ideal length of day is no more than eight training hours (so 8-5 with a one hour lunch). Six hours feels even more civilized. Running a longer day is taxing not only for the students, but on the faculty as well.

If you are one faculty member holding space for the entire training, you will want to consider how you can manage your days so that you are not worn out (in other words, plan your days carefully and ensure that you’re not lecturing the whole time). If you have several faculty on your team, then manage their schedules carefully to support the preservation of energy. I’ve single-handedly run a 200-hour intensive; it’s not easy!

4. Consider the logistics of your training space

Check in with your proposed training space and find out if there are any scheduling requirements that you will need to work around. Often, trainings occur in spaces around public classes. If you are working around classes, don’t forget that you will need a buffer of at least 15 minutes before and after the class to allow for the flow of students. Checking in with your training space ahead of time will ensure that there are no disconcerting surprises where you suddenly lose classroom time.

5. Holidays!

When you are scheduling your program, look at your dates and compare them to the holidays. Not everyone may want to come to teacher training on Mother’s Day! There are pro’s and con’s to scheduling your training over statutory holidays; while some students will appreciate the time off, others will have reserved those holidays for family time (again, here is a great question for your survey!). Generally speaking, don’t schedule your TT over any major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s) as you will have a lot of absences and grouchy students needing to make up work. If you do schedule training over a holiday like Mother’s Day, proactively address the scheduling issue and offer sensible make up options to students so that the students feel supported.

Have questions? Schedule a free chat and let’s hear!

Be A Better Teacher Trainer: Say Less

When we are faculty, we think our job is to tell students what we know.

This is a recipe for disaster.

A studio owner recently spoke to me about the problem with this very issues: “One of our faculty – he’s so smart and experienced. But a student asks a question that’s off-topic, and suddenly everyone is going down rabbit hole after rabbit hole. The students don’t cover the material that they are supposed to, and they just get confused.”

That faculty member was undoubtedly trying to do a good (answer questions, give details, and share his knowledge). But in fact, he was making what I call, “The Great Mistake.”

The Great Mistake is when we focus on what we say to students, rather than focusing on what the students can actually do. It’s understandable that we would make this mistake. After all, in public yoga classes, our job is to be a “sage on the stage,” holding space and directing the show.

However, in teacher training, your skill often lies in what you don’t say.

Students know far less about your topic of expertise than you; if you inundate them with too much information, they will experience “cognitive overload” and fail to learn.

Here are five tips to keep you on task, and maximize your students’ ability to learn.

1. Know your learning objectives

Learning objective describe specific and measurable learning outcomes. What do you want students to be able to DO at the end of your time with them? Your learning objectives are your north star. Keep the end in mind in order to stay on track and avoid extraneous information.

2. Change your role from sage on the stage to “guide on the side”

Rather than see yourself as the expert, instead re-position your role to one of being a coach. Your work – rather than being about relaying the content that you are teaching, should be refocused on the skills your students can demonstrate. This shift in perspective will help to re-orient you to put the learner at the center. It will also take the pressure of you! With this shift, you don’t have to prove that you are a knowledgeable expert; your focus can remain on the students’ ability to perform.

3. Defer non-relevant topics

Rabbit holes are so tempting! Students will often come up with juicy questions that are not be part of the learning objectives or the flow of the content that you are teaching. Validate the student’s interest, but be relentless about postponing conversations that don’t serve your immediate learning objectives.

  • “Great question, we’re actually going to cover that shortly, so hold tight.”
  • “That’s an excellent conversation to have, and we’ll get there when we discuss ethics next week.”

If the topic is too far afield – or only pertains to that student’s personal interest rather than the class discussion at large – then don’t be shy about holding the boundaries of the class:

  • “That’s an interesting question, but beyond the scope of what we can really discuss today. But I’d be happy to chat with you about that one on one or share some resources with you that you can check out on your own!”

4. Use a question box

One great way to manage questions is to use a question box. A question box in any repository where students can anonymously drop any questions that may have come up for them. Not only is this a great way to defer irrelevant conversations, it also gives students a safe and anonymous place to ask about topics that may seem unclear and can give you a sense if students are understanding the material.

5. Hold questions

If you are trying to manage time effectively during a lecture, then ask students to write down and hold their questions til the end of the session. This will help you get through the material. Often, students find that their question is answered later during the lecture, and that they no longer need to ask the question anyway. You could save space to answer questions yourself at the end of the lecture, put students into group to discuss the “muddiest point” with their peers, or collect all the questions, determine the common themes, and circle back when there is more time.

As a trainer, silence can be golden. Remember, at the end of the day, the success of your training isn’t about what you tell your students; it’s what they can do that counts.

How To Be A Great Teacher Trainer: How To Motivate Your Students

This is part 1 of a 3-part series on motivation.

We’re lucky in the yoga world: we have students who want to be there!

In yoga teacher trainings, students have voluntarily decided to show up at (at whatever ungodly hour ) in order to participate in a yoga teacher training course. Why? Because they love yoga. They want to be there. Our students are what we call “intrinsically motivated.”

Intrinsic motivation is an energizing of behavior that comes from within an individual, out of will and interest for the activity at hand.  No external rewards are required to incite the intrinsically motivated person into action. The reward is the behavior itself. 

– Michigan State University

Unlike the employee obligated to attend the Food Safety or Sexual Harassment course, our students have usually paid good money to be in the room. However, this doesn’t mean that we can just relax and assume that their motivation will continue unabated!

By deliberately incorporating motivational techniques into your lesson plans, you can turn your “nice” teacher training program into an “amazing” and engaging experience for your students. (PS: If you missed it, here’s how you avoid the great trainer mistake.)

John Keller (and an emeritus professor at my alma mater, Florida State University) created the ARCs model to define the components that contribute to student motivation. By understanding these factors, you will set yourself up for success as a trainer, and learn how to recover a situation that has gone sideways.

In this article, we’re going to unpack the first Keller principle: Attention.

Attention

Attention refers to getting your students’ interest. Attention has three parts:

  • perceptual arousal: use surprise to gain interest
  • inquiry arousal: ask stimulating questions to gain interest
  • variability: use a variety of methods in presenting material (e.g. use of videos, short lectures, mini-discussion groups).

In a nutshell, “attention” means that you can use storytelling, anecdotes, humour, or a devil’s advocate approach to get your student’s creative juices flowing.

How does this relate to a yoga teacher training?

In almost every course that I teach, I start by asking the students a question. Not only does this draw upon the prior knowledge (see the activation principle), but it also helps to get students actively engaged in the learning process. I don’t want students to passively and absorb a lecture; I want them to wrestle with real life problems and take a personal interest in the learning content.

Doesn’t it seem far more interesting to ask a class, “what would you do if someone came to your yoga class dressed in a bathing suit?” than to drone on about dress codes?

In a yoga teacher training, you may have students with you for up to fourteen hours a day (yikes!). We cannot rest on our motivationa laurels. Deliberately plan for opportunities to include personal anecdotes, shake up the learning environment, and ask provoking questions. Rather than stick to just one method of content delivery (god help us, not another lecture or practice!) see if you can incorporate a wide variety of stimulation and media options, such as audio, powerpoint, demonstrations, or written activities.

Attention Tools

  • storytelling
  • humour
  • ask for or provide real life examples or scenarios
  • ask thought provoking or complex questions
  • change the pace suddenly (surprise)
  • change your delivery method (audio, video, written, research, hands on, role play, creating a skit, have a quiz show…shake it up!)

Incorporate the Attention Principle into your lesson plans. Even adding in a small personal story into your training content can can have a huge impact on your learner’s engagement and lead to better learning outcomes.

Yoga Teachers: Should I Create a Teacher Training?

Being a yoga teacher is hard. It’s time to think beyond the class to class grind and create a business strategy that helps you not just survive – but thrive financially. While creating a signature educational program can be a keystone of a successful business strategy, not everyone feels the call the be an educator in this way.

So if you want to make a change in how you’re running your business, you need to ask: Should I create a teacher training program?

There are so many great ways to be a yoga teacher and leader that don’t include a teacher training, such as:

  • creating community through classes,
  • creating a vibrant outreach program,
  • running a retreat centre or specialized yoga travel,
  • offering corporate yoga,
  • offering specialized yoga,
  • yoga privates,
  • offering amazing workshops.

OR, you may wish to be an educator, but you feel your niche will be specializing in continuing education programs, online classes, or online mentorship.

So now’s the time to pause and honestly reflect: what is your mission – as a yoga teacher and as an entrepreneur? Once you have clarified your true purpose, we can consider, how do you get above the daily grind and create a business model that really works.

Check out this great worksheet to clarify your mission as a yoga teacher. Jump in!

If the answer is YES, then it’s time to stop waiting and start doing. Check out how I can help you make it happen.

Check out the new yoga conference coming to Germany!

This week I caught up with Anastasia Shevchenko, founder of the Berlin Yoga Conference which is coming to Germany this May 24-26, 2019. Anyone have a hankering for Europe in the spring?
Anastasia Shevchenko is the founder and the managing director behind the Berlin Yoga Conference and is a freelance yoga teacher. She is a proponent of authentic yoga experience for self-healing and self-transformation. Her special interest lies in the creation of bridges between yoga, philosophy, science, art, and spirituality. Anastasia’s newest passion is to teach yoga teachers how to best apply themselves in this industry.
As a gesture of appreciation, Ana is offering our community a 10% discount on tickets! Promo code: Rachel-yoga

1. Tell us about this conference – why did you create it?

I put together the Berlin Yoga Conference coming May 24-26 2019 because I wanted to create a transformation space for people to experience yoga in an authentic and life-changing way, no matter what level of practice or personal background. This is why all yoga methods are celebrated, without emphasizing any specific one over others, and there is a strong focus on modern yoga philosophy and its connection to the sciences, although the yoga tradition is respected and put into a proper perspective.

Moreover, I wanted to create conditions for socializing, making friends, networking, and just meeting and connecting to people, with or without any specific goals in mind, enjoying the cultural and musical programs together, the communal food breaks, learning and getting inspired from each other, joining and enriching this expanding international yoga community. This basically covers the motto for the Berlin Yoga Conference: Breath – Learn – Connect.

2. What can visitors expect?

I don’t like the word “expectation”, because it almost always involves some kind of faulty precognition, which then makes it more difficult to experience the true present moment in all of its richness. Of course when one is looking at the website and making a decision whether to come or not, one naturally makes some kind of guesses about what the event is going to be about and if it is worth coming or not!
All I can say that at this point is that I’m trying my best to create and communicate a set of circumstances that are behind the project: the vision, the goals, the venue, the presenting teachers, the program, but how it will all play out at the Berlin Yoga Conference in May 2019 is ultimately a mystery, and I would like to leave room for this mystery to unfold and for true magic to happen. I’m absolutely sure that everyone who comes to the event will experience what they ought to experience, depending where they are on their yoga path and what lessons they need to learn about themselves and others.

3. How is this conference different from other events?

Since the Berlin Yoga Conference will happen for the first time in May 2019, it’s hard for me to speak about how it is “different” from other events – since it hasn’t happened yet. However, we did run already two pop up events in the frames of the conference in May, and they were very special events, according to the energy in the room and the subsequent positive feedback that we’ve got. First, each event featured high-quality programming that was very well though-out in terms of the flow and the fit, as well as in terms of the person leading the sessions. Second, these events came across as were touching, moving, and inspirational, across various yoga methods and formats (yoga workshop, meditation sitting, panel discussion, healing session, performance, and communal meals). Third, the community bonding element always did it’s job: people were gently motivated to leave their protective shells behind, and to naturally open up to others, without being forced or persuaded to do so in a “open your heart” kind of way. For me personally, this last point is very important.

4. What makes this conference unique?

To me, it is this sacred transformational community space that I’m set out to create (and that I have created at the Pop up events previously). Coming from a personal background of migration (Ukraine -> Canada -> Germany), living between cultures, languages, and different value systems (Socialist vs. Capitalist), having cured myself from scoliosis and a broken and paralyzed arm, my yoga path was characterized by self-healing, self-empowerment, and subsequent self-transformation. Now, I’m ready to share what I learned, and also to create a space for others to share what they have learned, in a safe, inclusive, diverse, open-minded, well-organized, well-though out (with attention to detail), and friendly kind of environment.
I think of course that the person behind the project has a very strong influence on setting the intention, values, and culture for the project, but I see my task primarily as that of being a hostess, a “holder of space”, a reader of faces and energies, and this is why I decided against teaching at my own event, so that I can dedicate myself entirely to others.

5. What do you think the future of yoga is looking like in Europe?

Wow, that’s a truly great question that I haven’t been asked by anyone yet, and I really appreciate it! I’m so blessed (or cursed, depending on the day) to work on this project and to learn about the yoga industry on the local, national, and international levels. Because I constantly try to connect and collaborate with people, I get a pretty good sense for where the yoga community is at these days: what are the challenges and what are the really cool and inspiring developments. So to answer your question, here’s what I think based on my experiences so far:
  • I see a tendency towards working with the pool of local teachers that are not “international” yoga stars, because the local teachers have much value to offer and are more pleasant to work with, while the “yoga stars” command fees that are too high for the European market. Sure you will still have a couple of very well-established teachers giving workshops here and there, but these will be the people who will have to adopt to the new circumstances and humble down.
  • I think that the Instagram Influencer days are almost over and that the concept is outliving itself and is becoming boring. People are tuning out of the same old pictures of handstands on the beach or arm balances on the top of a mountain, with some quote pasted on top of it and sponsored yoga clothing. On top of that, the new algorithms are making it progressively more difficult to reach people “organically”, and the companies are cutting down their “influencer” budgets.
  • I’m guessing there will be more and more yoga methods and styles created, with all kind of fusions and cross-disciplinary connections (yoga and dance, music, Eastern philosophy and various healing modalities, fitness directions, etc), because of the need of the teachers to, on the one hand, create a unique offer and occupy a niche in the market, and on the other hand – to express themselves creatively and according to their personal background, talents, and skills.
  • I am positive that because there are just too many (and constantly growing in numbers) yoga teachers out there, there will be many more products and services geared towards them and they would quite naturally have to find others ways of supporting themselves by maybe creating their own yoga brands, products, and services as well. There will be an expansion of yoga entrepreneurship and more funds available to this cause, since it is a booming industry, and all-in-all, that’s creating a positive change for the world, in many ways!

6. How can we find out more?

  • For information about the project, the presenters, and the programming, the best is to access the website.
  • To really get updates, news, and exclusive discounts, the best way is still the Newsletter
  • For cool features on the presenters and the programming: Facebook & Instagram
  • And for any questions and offers to work together, always per e-mail: info@berlinyogaconference.org

Create a 7K Course in One Week! Or, not.

Is anyone else tired of seeing, “I made 7K in my online course!” on every social media feed?

These days, education is big business.

Earn 7K in two weeks!

Increase your passive income!

Make a blockbuster course in three easy steps!

Most of these people who are selling these courses aren’t educators. They’re playing on our desire (old as time and the snake oil salesmen) to get rich quick. They’re riding the gravy train of the latest hot ticket. Who wouldn’t want to sit back and watch 7K roll in without lifting a finger?

But crappy education is still crappy education. And here’s the truth: if you create a lousy course, it will undermine your brand and your reputation.

Most of these “three-step-processes to create your course” are focused on how you get your information out; but very little about how the students get the information in. As a result, there are a lot of really, really bad courses out there, all creating this white noise called “education” when they’re really not. See why this is a problem.

There is an art to education. And it’s not in a three-step process.

I am passionate about education and see it as a pathway to human evolution, tolerance, and kindness. That’s one of the reasons that I spent three years earning my Masters in Instructional Design while I was working a full-time job. I’m a huge fan of the modern proliferation of modern education. We can now disseminate knowledge quickly and globally. Mobile phones make it possible for those without a computer to participate (amazing!). We have access to almost any information we need at our fingertips.

But there is an art to education.It’s not just what you teach, it’s how you teach it. And the art of instructional design has a deep and rich history that has been studied, explored and refined for hundreds of years. If you really want to support your students’ growth (and improve your own reputation as an expert), you want to create a course that is fundamentally sound. Not one that sounds like a sales pitch.

Don’t add to the white noise.

Add to the orchestra.

Don’t create a crappy get-rich-quick course.

Create a smart, transformational, and get-more-rich-over-time course.

Over time, an excellent course will provide an additional source of revenue, bolster your leadership and most importantly, support the growth and knowledge of your community.

That is something worth sharing.

How to deal with those talkative students in your yoga teacher training

Every training has a few students who love to talk. These students will be the first to raise their hands to answer questions, dominate discussion groups, and talk at length about their experiences.

Students can be big talkers for different reasons:

  • They process information by verbalizing it
  • They like the validation of being in the spotlight
  • They want to be good students and contribute
  • They hate to leave the class in silence

While having some good conversation starters is useful, it can sometimes be frustrating to manage a classroom environment when you want to hear everyone’s voice and the same students continue to hold the floor. Introverts want to think longer before offering a response, while extroverts tend to speak on the fly. If the discussion space isn’t moderated, your fast talking extroverts will almost always leap in to fill the silence first.

However, a yoga teacher will need to speak audibly and clearly when they are teaching their own class. Practicing speaking out during the training can help your students become more comfortable with holding the spotlight after they graduate.

Here are some of my favourite discussion tactics to help everyone be heard.

Set expectations from the start

I set expectations for discussion participation from the beginning of training by encouraging students to self-reflect on their habitual participation. I’ll usually say, “Teacher training is a place to learn to share your voice as well as hold silence. Both are important skills for a yoga teacher. Notice your habits. If you’re always jumping in to speak, consider holding space and silence. If you are not speaking to the group, then consider stepping in sooner.”

Setting expectations early can also help you avoid wounding egos if you ask certain members to practice holding back. After all, holding space for silence is also an incredibly important skill for a yoga teacher to cultivate.

Choose students to speak

To avoid having your fast talkers jump in first, you can call on certain students to share. However, I will only call students out to share when I know there’s no danger of them not knowing the answer to a question. For example, I’ll ask them to share their reaction to a sutra or give a personal response so they don’t feel they are being ambushed.

Put them in partners/ small groups with timers

If you put people in partners or small groups and give each person a certain amount of time to talk, everyone will have a designated space to participate free from interruption.

Assign them to speak…tomorrow

One great tactic is to assign students to share on a topic the following day. For example, you could give each student a sutra to share or a homework assignment to present. By giving the topic in advance, you make sure that your students have time to prepare and feel ready.

The classic, “Let’s hear from someone who hasn’t shared yet.”

When facilitating a discussion, it’s perfectly fine to ask to hear from students who have been quiet. Be willing to hold the space and silence until someone is ready to speak.

Have students raise hands to speak

While it’s common in many trainings to let students “popcorn participate” in group discussions (where they pop in their voices into the discussion without raising their hands), it can be useful to have a more formal discussion structure where students ask to speak. You can then choose to call on students who may have not been as forthcoming, and spread the verbal sharing around.

One last note:

For your students, taking a yoga teacher training provides an opportunity to address and overcome a fear of public speaking. Even students who are taking the course for self-development (and not to teach professionally) have the chance to hold space to be heard. Helping your students learn to share their voice in a public space can help the build confidence and develop life skills that extend far beyond the yoga classroom.

How To Teach Yoga Anatomy Like a Rock Star

I love teaching anatomy in yoga teacher trainings. LOVE IT. Sharing the mystery and miracle of the human body is incredibly inspiring and satisfying. However, teaching anatomy in a yoga teacher training course can be difficult, and it’s easy to fall into traps that can turn anatomy into a drag!

Top mistakes I see?

  • Cramming in too much information
  • Failing to teach the application to the yoga asana practice
  • Teaching names, not function

And I know, my dears, that we are not always set up for success. Often the anatomy portion of a 200 or 300 hour training is shoved into one weekend (who can remember their femur from their fibula after six hours of lecture??), which leads to brain overload for the students and a lack of relevance to the rest of the program.

So step number one for success:

Whenever possible, teach anatomy in bite-sized chunks.

Ideally, an anatomy session should be two hours max, and should directly relate to the other content (asana) that is being taught. Do your best to fight for a sane schedule. What good is including anatomy in a program if the students can’t remember it?

Teach relevance, not details.

What’s more important: remembering the names of the knee ligaments, or understanding why pigeon pose is hard on your meniscus?

Avoid bogging your students down in seductive (and irrelevant) details. Do they really need to know the word, “talus?” Focus on the big picture, and apply the anatomy that you teach immediately to the practice and teaching of yoga asana. For example, you would want to consider:

  • Why is understanding the labrum of the hip important for warrior two?
  • Why is understanding shoulder impingement relevant to chaturanga?
  • What is happening to a woman’s body in third trimester that may affect asana modification?
  • How does blood pressure relate to inversions?

Applied anatomy is the only kind that counts. For every module you teach, ask and answer, “how is this information relevant to a general yoga practice?”

Focus on the Scope of Practice

Dr. McCoy from Star Trek used to say, “Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a Klingon navigator!” Well, in this case, we are yoga teachers, dammit, not chiropractors or physiotherapists. Relieve students of the pressure to know everything. New teachers are afraid of hurting their students (for most of us, this is one of our greatest fears). However, you can’t possibly learn enough about anatomy in twenty five hours to have more than a layman’s understanding of the human body. While I am a firm believer in studying anatomy (yes, yes, more please!), we have to encourage our students to be realistic about their expectations. Help your trainees understand that their scope of practice as yoga teachers is to teach a healthy population a safe and effective yoga practice, and to offer students common sense modifications when appropriate. That’s it.

Inspire

The human body is amazing! As anatomy teacher trainers, we have the privilege of helping students understand the magnificence of the human body. What astonishing work! Have you seen a human tendon? Exquisitely beautiful. Have you considered the relentless and steadfast beating of the human heart (85,000 beats a day for your entire life)? How awe-inspiring. How about the mysterious electrical machinations of the nervous system? Sorcery!

If you are excited about sharing this mystery, your students will get excited too. Share your passion and enthusiasm. Not only will your energy make teaching anatomy fun, it will inspire your students to connect more deeply and respectfully with their work as asana teachers. After all, as hatha yoga teachers, we use the physical body as a vehicle for divine expression and transformation. How marvellous to appreciate the mysterious depths that lie within us  – right at our fingertips.

Teach well.

Plan your lessons carefully. Be clear why this information is relevant and important. Use photos and videos (respecting copyright of course) to make the anatomy visually exciting and understandable. Incorporate group exercises and fun activities that will bring the anatomy to life.

To get some inspiration and see how I do it, check out one of my free anatomy lesson plans. Plan in advance how you will get students out of their heads (memorizing details and words) and into their bodies (applying anatomy to the practice). Experiential learning is where the anatomy will best stick.

Happy teaching!

Market for success: what blockbuster movies have to do with being an entrepreneur

The Force Awakens cost $245 million dollars to make. And it cost between $100-150 million dollars to advertise.

More than one-third of their total expenditure on that movie was in advertising.

Surprised?

Even though The Force Awakens seems like a no-brainer for success, Disney invested more than $100 million in promotion. And this percentage is typical of major motion pictures, who routinely spend 1/3 of their production costs again to market their films. In the case of The Force Awakens, the investment was well worth it: Disney has raked in more than $2 billion dollars in global sales. Now while we don’t all need to go out there and make $2 billion dollars, the lesson from this blockbuster is applicable to all of us: it’s not enough to be awesome; to be successful, you must significantly invest in advertising your awesomeness.

You cannot take success (and word of mouth) for granted. Disney didn’t sit back and say, “Well, heck, everyone in the world has been waiting for this movie since those terrible prequels; we’ll be fine!” It’s no longer enough to create a great product and hope people hear about it. In a noisy world, only the loudest and most persistent voice gets heard. Marketing – for better or worse – is an essential component of doing business. Here are four tips to get you started.

Rule of Thirds

If you are an entrepreneur and doing a lot of your work yourself, then it’s important to allocate some substantial work time to growing your business and online presence.  Spending time and resources on marketing can feel counterintuitive; after all, I’d much rather spend three hours developing and editing curriculum than figuring out how to promote my Facebook page!

Do the “rule of thirds” reframe to shift your perspective.

You may have heard of the rule of thirds in photography: divide your frame into thirds and place your object of interest along an intersection. Now you can think of the rule of thirds for your marketing strategy. One third of your resources needs to go into marketing. Not only your money, but your time. If you’re working a nine-hour day, spend three of it on your marketing strategy. For the agile, DIY entrepreneur, this may mean that you spend a couple hours each day engaging with social media. Plan on spending a third of your budget on advertising and promotion.

Cross-promote

The big blockbuster movies don’t pay out of pocket for their advertising: they cross-promote. By partnering up with other vendors and products, they help to defray their own marketing costs with a little win-win. Take a lesson from the big boys: find similar vendors who would find an alliance with you advantageous and create partnerships that help you both.

Delegate

As entrepreneurs, we often feel that we need to do everything to get our small business to run. But once you accept that marketing is a high priority, you may realize that creating a team of helpers can save you time, money, and effort. Hiring a marketing strategist can help you to make sure that you are putting your precious time and effort in the right place. There’s nothing worse than spending a lot of time on marketing, only to have your strategy fail. Consider how much your own time is worth. If you can hire someone to do some legwork for you at the right price, having some marketing hands in you corner may help you to focus on what you do best. Use automated services like Planoly and Hootsuite to batch your advertising tasks and save you time.

Be consistent

Marketing can be exhausting. However, it’s not just the loudest horn that gets heard; it’s the most consistent horn. Set yourself up for success (and avoid burn out) by creating a slow and steady marketing strategy that allows you to stay in for the long haul. Cultivate patience. Be the consistent horn.

Regardless of whether you have a $100 or $1 million dollar marketing budget, the lesson is the same: marketing oomph is essential if you want to be successful.

Take it slow, have a plan, delegate when possible, and shine your light!

Are you a yoga educator? To hear more on marketing your educational courses, check out Marketing For Success.

How To Choose A Yoga Teacher Training Format

I was on the phone with a client this morning, who was considering revamping her course format. “Everyone is running their 200 hour teacher trainings in two weeks,” she said. “I don’t know how they do it.”

“Oy. Thirteen hour days, and no days off,” I said. “Now, that thirteen hours of training, which means that students are in the classroom from 6:30 am-10:30 pm, because you need to take an hour for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can do it, but it may not be pretty.”

And you could.

But first you must consider: who is your ideal student?

When you set the format (days and times) for your teacher training, the first thing you must consider is your student and their lifestyle.

Your Ideal Student

Is your target audience full of adventurous travellers? If students are travelling (ie: a retreat or coming from out of town), then they may want to make the time as intensive as possible in order to reduce the amount of vacation time that they have to take off (and likely the cost of the retreat itself). However, if you are running your training for your local 9-5er’s, then they are clearly going to prefer a format that will integrate well into their current lifestyle.

Popular Formats

Some popular training formats:

  • Weekends (great for for local trainings that need to appeal to working folks)
  • Intensives (cram it all into a shorter amount of time, great for retreats and destination trainings)
  • Bursts (5 day training x 4; great for folks who can travel every couple months to train)

or a combination of the above. For example, maybe you start your training with a five day burst, then run it on weekends.

To figure out which training format is best for you, consider:

  • what does the day to day of my ideal student look like?
  • what worries my ideal student (family obligations, evening obligations, early mornings, money, time)
  • are students travelling to come to the training?
  • are these students morning people/night owls?
  • when during the year can they take the time to train?
  • is there a financial incentive tied into a shorter or longer training?
  • how much homework or outside work does my course require?
  • how much integration time does my course require?

Get Information

To create your training format, it’s helpful to investigate the training structure of your direct competition. Usually, they’ve figured something out! Do some online research and make a chart of what everyone else is doing; this will give you some context. While it may mean that your competitors have stumbled upon the best training format for your area, it’s also possible that offering something different from your competitors would actually position you to appeal to a different segment of yogis.

Remember: don’t just investigate studio schedules. Check out what individual teachers who are popular in your area are doing as well.

Get information from your own students. Do a Facebook poll, send them a survey. Your own students are coming to you for a reason, and there may be something unique about their needs.

For more information on creating an awesome course format and choosing a training space, check out our online course!

For Yoga Teachers: How To See Your Students In A Yoga Class

When you’re learning to teach yoga and you begin to understand the principles of alignment, a whole new world opens up. All of a sudden, the hidden actions of the yoga practice are exposed like Illuminati secrets in a Dan Brown novel. The code is suddenly everywhere!

When this happens, it can be very tempting (especially for A-type students) to dive in – eagle-eyed – and start “fixing” student. But before you zero in with well-intentioned zeal, take a mental “whoa, Nelly!” and consider these five guidelines.

1. See the whole student.

Before you fixate your beady eyes on your student’s misaligned knee in warrior two, step back and see the whole picture. See the whole human.

  • What’s your student’s energy?
  • What’s their facial expression and emotional aspect?
  • How’s their muscle tone and tension?

Remember that this student has a life outside of the yoga class (job, family, stresses, love, loss). When you take time to see the whole student, you will be less likely to treat him or her like an object and more likely to approach them with good intent. At the very least, you’ll have the opportunity to take a breath and think, “Is this assist really going to elevate my student’s experience?” If the answer is no, then move on.

2. Speak to the foundation first.

We usually become fixated on what seems most obviously out of whack. While it’s normal to see the most blatant misalignment, pause and look to the student’s foundation. It’s amazing how much compensation can happen in the hips and upper body when the foundation is off-kilter. Look at the feet first (or hands, if they are weight-bearing), and work upwards from there. A well-adjusted foundation can shift the entire expression of a pose.

3. See the good.

Before you jump in to correct, notice what your student is doing well. Although I’m not shy about assisting students, it’s nice to give a positive note first: “Marjorie, good work with the straightness of your back thigh. Now, roll that right hip down a bit. Awesome!” Seeing the good first trains us to mentally affirm and celebrate our students’ progress and share that positivity with them. Students grow best when they are confident; by training yourself to see their good efforts, you will support them to celebrate their own.

4. They’re doing the best they can.

Remember: your students are doing the best they can. Sure, they may benefit from your intervention and loving support, but they have come to yoga class, gotten on their mat, and started to move. Some days, just getting to class is a triumph. As teachers, it’s important to remember that their presence in class is a testament of their dedication to their self care and the practice.

5. Be patient.

They’re not going to get it all today. Don’t fuss over the fine details. Your students’ practice will evolve at just the right pace for them. And sometimes, that may feel really slow. (My teachers are still giving me the same assists I was getting fifteen years ago. Learning to change our bodies is a slow, organic process.) Remember, aiding your students’ progress is your privilege, but ultimately their practice is their responsibility. Support and affirm their work, but give ownership of their practice back to them.

Happy teaching!

For what to do next, see, “Three steps to give a verbal assist.”

Three Must-Follow Rules For Marketing a Workshop or Teacher Training

Wouldn’t you love to know the magic formula for advertising?

I’d love someone to take me aside and say, “Psssst….put in $500 worth of Facebook Ads, three blogs posts, eight Instagram stories and you’re golden!” Yay! Mystery solved!

No such luck. Marketing is a fickle beast and every campaign is different. But while there may not be definitive recipe for maxing out attendance in your programs, these three must-follow rules will set a solid foundation to help you on your way. They seem simple, but you’d be amazed at how easy it is to miss these three basic principles!

Check it out.

Rule #1: go to where your people are.

Find out where you connect with your community and go find them there. By “your people,” I mean your ideal student. Not everyone. Your very specific, quirky, and unique ideal student.

In the virtual world, check out:

  • Where they hang on social media: Facebook? Instagram? Snapchat? Pinterest?
  • Do they hang out in online forums or Facebook Pages?
  • Are they reading blogs or online periodicals?
  • Are they participating in conversations in sister industries like naturopathy?
  • (Also find out where your competitors are making an online splash; chances are, there’s a strong community of students there!)

IRL:

  • Which studios are they at?
  • Where do they live?
  • Are they at neighborhood coffee shops, restaurant, juiceries?
  • Are they reading periodicals, listings?
  • Are they working with other service providers (chiros, naturopaths, retail vendors)?

And once you know where the majority of your people are: go there. Presto, this is where you should focus your energy.

Rule #2: build community before sales.

In social media, the number one mistake that people make is advertising to a cold audience. Social media is not a sales platform; it is a community platform. As my Instagram mentor said, “Compel, connect, convert.” This means that you put your party online, invite people to your party, and then you eventually tell them that – hey! – you’ve got something for sale that they might like.

Like Captain Picard says, “Engage!”

To create community on social media, it has to be a two-way street.  If you’re just posting your own stuff without connecting to what’s going on with other people, they are going to feel the lack of love. Engage with your community through discussions, commenting, and showing that you care about their lives and their photo of that really cute kitten.

Rule #3: Tell people what you’re doing.

Sometimes half the battle with marketing is just opening your mouth!

People won’t know about your offerings unless you tell them. It can be super uncomfortable at first to tell people what you’re doing if it feels like you’re just making a sales pitch. Reconnect to your greater purpose for creating your course (for a free course that helps you with this, check this out), and your mission as a yoga teacher. Feel the power of your mission in your bones. Think about your experiences as a student and how transformational it has been for you to work with your favorite teacher! Now, imagine that you are providing that same amazing experience for your students.

When you remember why your work is so darn important, you’ll realize that sharing it is just another way to deepen your connection with your peeps, and help make the world a better place.

Now go be successful!

For more how to’s on marketing, check out “Market For Success.”

Three Steps To Register for Yoga Alliance

Registering for Yoga Alliance is a pain in the ass.

And the bottom line: registration does not mean that a program is any good. Yoga Alliance lacks the manpower to enforce or monitor the standards of its schools, so being approved is unfortunately not an indicator of quality. However, if you’re running a teacher training, I usually suggest that you pay up and register. (If you’re registering as a teacher, however, it’s a toss up whether or not it’s worth it.)

Here’s why:

  • most students recognize and look for the affiliation
  • it’s currently the most widely recognized affiliation, at least in North America
  • it forces you to do some legwork that can be darn useful

If you’re new to creating education, the registration process can seem overwhelming. Here’s how to keep it simple and make the process work for you.

1. Brainstorm Your What

Step one: do a giant brainstorm. Think about your ideal student and what they will be able to DO and KNOW at the end of your training. Imagine your perfect graduate: how are they showing you that they understand your material? (Bonus: How to Avoid The Great Mistake.) Think about their actual teaching performance (cuing, voice, teaching skills) as well as what they need to be able to draw up on in knowledge (anatomy, philosophy, ethics, business, sequencing).

Then, group your brainstorm content into the Yoga Alliance buckets:

  • Techniques, Training & Practice – this includes all asana work, cuing, teaching skills, in class practice and asana labs
  • Teaching Methodology – this is a smaller bucket and includes “how to teach,” sequencing, and the business of yoga
  • Anatomy/ Physiology – includes both physical and subtle body
  • Philosophy – includes philosophy and ethics
  • Practicum – includes practice teaching, evaluation, class observation and class assisting time

I highly recommend that you use a spreadsheet for this (excel, Google Sheets, Numbers) and use one line for each primary learning requirement. We’ll call each of these a “topic.”

2. Brainstorm Your How

For each learning requirement, write a brief description of how the students will learn. Examples:

  • “Though discussion and lecture, students will learn to apply Ayurvedic principles to their class plan and create a targeted sequence for each dosha”
  • “Through discussion and practice teaching, students will learn strategies for teaching a multi-level class in a group class setting.”

Your “how” might include activities like lecture, group discussion, practice teaching, partner work, practice, powerpoint, or worksheets.

3. Estimate The Time

For each topic, take a guess at how many class hours you will allocate to this topic. You may have several lessons that fall under one topic, so you may allocate five hours to learning about Ayurveda, even if it’s broken up in your course into five one-hour sessions. You can designated these hours as “contact hours” with your Lead Trainer (registered with Yoga Alliance), contact hours with a non-lead Trainer (doesn’t have to be registered with Yoga Alliance) and non-contact hours (time they spend on the topic in the form of homework or outside the classroom).

Register!

Your sweet little spreadsheet now includes – in a wonderfully organized way – all the information that you need to get registered for Yoga Alliance. And you’ve also managed to take a good first draft at organizing all your course material.

Expert Tip: Register early

Don’t wait to complete writing your course before your register. Register early in your creation process so that you can start marketing your course as “Yoga Alliance Registered”as soon as possible! You’ll want to market your course at least six months in advance, so get registered first, start your marketing, then take your sweet time to build your awesome program while the buzz increases.

For more information on how to register for Yoga Alliance, check out this course that takes you step by step through the whole process (and includes sweet templates to make life easy! Yay!).

Stop Procrastinating And Make Your Dreams 80% Come True

We all procrastinate for different reasons. And usually they’re really GOOD reasons. (Gotta take care of the kids, gotta get to the doctors, need to clean the house, or I need ME time, dammit!)

Have you ever taken an online course? Students finish three weeks of the course and then disappear. Course progress remains half done. Attrition in the big massive online courses (MOOC) is about 95%. (95%!) The passion that drove us to sign up in the first place begins to wan in the mundane work that it actually takes to cross the finish line. We start thinking, “it’s not really that important, is it?”

Here are three tips to getting past procrastination so that you can do the stuff you say you want to do. For real.

1. Kill your children

Not literally.

But we all have those things in our lives that we love to do (your yoga class, your morning walk, your tea date with your friend). Here’s the thing: your life is already full of stuff that you do (and like to do). And you’re going to have to sacrifice something nice in order to get your new goal accomplished. It will not just “fit in.” And thinking that we’re going to get it all done at 10 PM after the kids are in bed is not realistic. We lose discipline during the day, and by 10 PM at night, you’re likely going to want to nothing more than to drink a glass of wine and watch Rupaul’s Drag Race.

So you’re going to have to kill your children.

Last year, I published “Head Over Heels: A Yogi’s Guide To Dating,” and I also finished my Masters in Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies. What I gave up? My two hour morning ashtanga practice. I simply didn’t have the time to do it all and work a full time job.

Accept that you need to kill your children. You can always resurrect them on the other side.

2. Stop striving for perfection

Here’s another reason that I procrastinate: I want it to be perfect.

I think I have to have to have it all figured out before I start creating. I just don’t want to screw it up, or have to redo work. When I created my online course, I agonized over the course structure. I was afraid to start because I didn’t want to do it wrong.

Accept right now that you’re only going to get it 80% right. It will not be perfect. And there are things that you will learn that you can only learn through the creative process, by jumping in and getting your hands dirty. I already know a million things that I want to tweak in my online course. But now at least I’m 75% there. And 75% is a heck of a lot better than 0%.

Shoot for a solid 80%. As one of my mentors said, “Done is better than perfect.”

3. Work when you’re uninspired

We often wait to feel inspired to do the work. This is backwards. Sitting down to DO the work will lead to inspiration. If you wait to “feel like it,” you will consistently fail to do anything. It’s by actually sitting in front of the blank page, logging into your online course, or starting your market research that you being to feel inspired to be there. Do the work and get inspired. Not the other way around. There will probably be a good five minutes of grouchiness when you sit down to dig in. It will pass. And if it doesn’t, then you’re still five minutes closer to your goal than you were before. And that should give you a tiny warm fuzzy.

Finally, give yourself some appreciation. It’s freakin’ hard to change your life. We think it will be magical unicorns and flowing bliss, but in reality it’s elbow grease, stop-starts, and grouchiness. So when you put in the time on your project, take a moment and give yourself a huge pat on the back in appreciation. Even five minutes makes you a warrior.

Check out this procrastination e-book from my fabulous friend and coach Christine Young for more inspiration.

Here’s the thing.

Making your dreams come true  – even if you get to 95% – will probably never match your image of what you thought it was going to be. You may always have that restless feeling of dissatisfaction and longing. There may always be “the next thing.” But the process of digging in is enormously rewarding in and of itself. Every creative act is an affirmation of your self-creation. And that’s a great reason to start now.