How can we continue to serve our students as our concern for the safety of those most vulnerable among us as the Covid-19 pandemic begins to disrupt our lives? For many teachers, the answer is to take our teaching online. If you’ve never taught online before, you might have questions about how exactly to make it happen.

Basics of Teaching Online

In order to teach online AND accept payment, you need a video host, a way to accept payments (ie a shopping cart), and a payment processor. Some platforms will do all of this for you, and those are obviously the easiest to work with – however they will also take the biggest cut of your profit.

To livestream or not to livestream?

The first decision you need to make when choosing how to teach online is whether you want to offer LIVE classes, pre-recorded, or both. Live classes will allow students to practice along with you as you record and they are intended to be imperfect production-wise. Pre-recorded videos allow you to edit, which will make your videos appear more polished, but also adds another step to the process.

The simplest way to teach online

The absolute simplest way to teach yoga online is to NOT charge your students. When you do not need to handle payment, then the only technology you need is a video host. You can use Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or a video conferencing platform such as Zoom.

All In One Platforms

If you want to charge for your classes, the simplest way to teach yoga online is to choose an all -in-one platform. This platform will host your videos AND provide a shopping cart. They will need to integrate with a payment gateway such as paypal or stripe, but should walk you though the processing of setting that up step-by-step. No matter what platform you use, you will need to pay approximately 2.5% for payment processing in addition to the platform fees. Here is a breakdown of some of the most popular all in one platforms and what they cost:

Teachable: $29/month + 5% of sales (pre-recorded videos only, no streaming)
Thinkific: 10% of sales (pre-recorded videos only, no streaming)
Membervault: free up to 50 members (pre-recorded videos only, no streaming)
Namastream: $125/month (pre-recorded videos AND streaming – yoga specific platform)

Manual payment

If none of the all-in-one platforms meet your needs, but you still want to charge for your classes you will need to either do it manually or integrate two or more platforms. If you only have a handful of students, it may not be a big deal to ask them to send you the fee and then send them the link to the streaming platform (private facebook group, Zoom link, etc) or pre-recorded video (private facebook group, private youtube video, etc)

Automated integrations

If you have more than a handful of students, you probably don’t want to deal with sending people a link manually and keeping track of who has paid for what. If you don’t want to use an all in one platform for any reason, there are ways to automatically integrate a payment gateway with video hosting.

For example, Zoom video platform integrates with Acuity scheduling platform. Acuity will allow you to run a group class and take payment (using paypal, stripe, or square). This will probably take you a few hours to set up, but once it is ready it will automatically register an almost unlimited number of students without your intervention.

Audio Only Option

If you don’t feel that you need video, or you prefer to start teaching online without video – there are audio only options.

  • The platform audible yoga will pay you a small amount for your audio classes, based on number of downloads.
  • The Insight Timer app allows listeners to send you a ‘thank you’ tip for your audio offerings.
  • Anchor is a free podcast host – collect donations through patreon.

What else do you want to know about taking your teaching online? Tell me in the comments what you have tried so far and what you still want to learn about.

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