By April Geary for Yoga Medicine®.
A few things I have learned in the last 6 months:
- Take Care of Yourself First. COVID is overwhelming for us as teachers and we must put our “masks” on first. Keep up with your own practice and rituals. Use the tools you use to keep yourself in a healthy mental state. What you use and know will be your best tools, especially when it comes to communicating it to them.
- Explore the Viability of Digital Tools. If being around people is causing your clients anxiety, offer to meet with them online, via Zoom, Facetime, IGTV, Youtube or even offering to send them videos you prepare for them of guided meditations, sun salutations or breathing techniques.
- Let Go of the Emphasis of Your Aesthetics. Your videos and appearance do not have to be perfect. Letting our students know we are still human is comforting to them. Your space, you, your phone camera is all you need.
- Make a Schedule for Your Online Offerings. This will help keep you grounded as a teacher, and allow you to keep your time for yourself.
- Consider Being of Service As Well As Compensation for Yourself. I Like to offer my clients bundles of classes, 6 for a certain price, one being free. Or a free first session to discuss their needs. Usually paid upfront and a guaranteed time slot if they prefer every week. This guarantees me that we can be consistent with their practice and there won’t be that weird exchange of money in the end. With Paypal, Cashapp, and Venmo it makes it very easy.
- Communicate. Don’t be afraid to ask things. Since this will be a very personal space they will tell you lots of things. As a teacher, be transparent and real and don’t forget your Code of Ethics.
- Less is More. Don’t overwhelm them with so many tools that it causes more anxiety. I like to offer 3 things at a time for my clients and we build on those once they have been doing them for a while.
Here are 3 things that I have been doing and has been working well for my clients:
- Breathe Work. Learning Ujjayi and Bhramari pranayama (humming bee breath) are simple but powerful options. I recommend a daily, just a few minutes is all that’s needed.
- Sun Salutations. Teaching them simple sun salutation variations to meet their needs so they can do them the days we don’t meet, I offer to send them a video of me doing them to follow along with if they haven’t got it down just yet.
- Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra can be a powerful practice for mental health, stress, anxiety and so much more. There are many scripts available for free on Youtube as well as on apps to use. Headspace offered their app for free for a year to people who have lost their jobs due to COVID.