17 Mar Corona Virus and the future of Teaching Yoga
The implications of the Corona Virus on Teaching Yoga
Complex, worrying and difficult times are upon us.
The entire world is having to reflect and consider how we live and how we work.
How will the Yoga Community respond?
Nationwide isolation and quarantine protocols have lead to Working From Home being the option for those whom are usually office bound. This potentially creates a new demand for online fitness, yoga & wellbeing content. A demand that anxious Yoga Studios and Self Employed Yoga Teachers have been very quick to meet in an endeavour to keep clients, cover bills and protect their livelihoods.
No one knows how long the situation will last but many Yoga studios and teachers have been very quick to act. Thanks to technology and social media In-person classes can be replaced by either pre-recorded content or live stream online classes.
It will be interesting to see if the increase in Working From Home will drive increased future demand for online and live stream offerings of yoga classes.
I wonder whether this will result in a long term increase in student demand and structural increase in online offerings from Studios & Teachers. All leading to long lasting changes in how yoga is practiced and sold.
Will this be the final nail in the coffin for the already financially stretched Yoga Studios and the barely-making-ends-meet Yoga Teacher?
Or Will Studios and Teachers be innovative and resourceful and make this difficult situation an opportunity to grow their offerings?
PROS OF ONLINE LIVE STREAM CLASSES
- The transition from In-person group classes to online classes from home is very simple and straight forward for the client. For live stream, all they need to do is to log into the chosen platform on their device at the scheduled time. Students are already accustomed to being in class at that scheduled time. So there’s a sense of continuity for all despite the world life disruptions and chaos.
- Live stream offers even more flexibility and free time and less effort for Student & Teacher because it cuts out the need for getting dressed, (you can choose to hide your vid), let alone travel time to class.
- Live stream still provides a sense of camaraderie with fellow class participants and Teacher, which offers impetus for turning up to support each other and their wellbeing community. Camaraderie can really motivate participants to continue to practice.
- Another potential PRO for the Studio or Teacher is entering a new market – online classes can be opened up to a larger target market that is not dictated by location. So the Teacher can access clients internationally.
HOWEVER. Some of the factors that provide the Pros, for different reasons are a double sided coin and create Cons!
CONS OF ONLINE LIVE STREAM CLASSES
- Entering a new market- the online class market is a different kettle of fish. Now the Studio or Teacher up against many professional online wellbeing platforms that have tonnes of high quality diverse content. Also YouTube where you have tonnes of free content. Competition is fierce in this space and if the Studio or Teacher is just starting out, and doesn’t have a lot of time or resources (financial or otherwise) they are already behind the curve. Thenecessary skill set to create content and teach online on a camera is totally different to teaching yoga in person. These skills require a lot of time and investment and possibly training in order to develop and hone.
- Sound and video quality remain an issue if student or teacher haven’t got a good set up. If you can’t hear or see properly it’s hard to follow what’s going on and user experience really suffers which will result in low repeat demand.
- Distractions and lack of accountability is an issue when you don’t have a teacher there In-person. It means there’s more chance for Students to get distracted or drift off (especially if sound quality is an issue). The student may not have a relaxing environment or space conducive or yoga and furthermore, they may get distracted with other apps on their device. (As a student, despite my best intentions to focus, I found myself scrolling through Instagram mid-live stream class!)
So…how will it all play out? Will regular clients look to support their regular Studio or Teacher during this unprecedented situation?
Will this isolation create a new appetite for live stream classes that has potential and scope to sustain in the long run?
Ultimately no amount of online classes can fully 100% replace human In-person connection which is ultimately why people continue go to yoga class and studios despite the technology for online offerings being around for years. So it is in my view unlikely that online offerings will completely replace In-person classes in the long run.
Who knows what uptake will be like within the coming months and how much of this uptake actually translates into monetary income for those Studios and Yoga Teachers that desperately need it.
I do strongly suspect that this pandemic will be the start of some real sustained changes within the yoga community where we will see an increase in Student preferences towards online yoga content but because competition is so fierce, only the most professional online yoga platforms, that have already an established user base are likely to benefit. Unfortunately it is doubtful to me that the smaller Yoga Studios and Independent Teachers will be able to keep pace.
Survival and ability to generate sustainable income as a Studio or Yoga Teacher going forward may well depend on how well they can adapt and provide decent and professional high quality online classes.