Okay so let's jump straight in with a few ideas of how we can support teaching our students through a screen.
Ask them to set their space well - make a calm space, clear the energy by making the physical space clear and clean, close the door, dim the light, all the things that make it feel scared almost shrine like. I promise this will help so much to encourage the student to actually step into this practice and not become distracted by their room and life.
Encourage them to listen to your cues and not to keep needing to see the screen - this also means you need to cue well. Looking at the screen breaks the flow and isn't helpful for them to actually be in their body and practice.
Cue clearly, don't over complicate your cues, get them into the posture and then feel free to add on all your eloquence & love.
Don't be too creative, have fun and be free, but really your students will receive more if they have clue where they are going. Trust in the asana's.
Make a plan, when teaching without bodies in the room, you may speed up or slow down and end up teaching a strangely unbalanced sequence. Have a plan so you teach something yummy and wise.
As much as their space is important so is yours, it does not need to be fancy or studio like, but it should be clear and calm to see. A busy screen doesn't help students to follow you. Even if it’s just your voice/cues they are following if this screen is all busy and all things, the mind becomes congested.
Start slower than you might ordinarily in a class, they are not stepping into the energy of a studio where they are used to leaving their life and work outside. They may have been working away, or be in the same room all day, so we need this slightly longer time to step into the practice to make the switch from the other stuff and into this practice.
Set clear and light themes, ones that are more widely open for many to connect with, not being in the same room means that you less aware of your students you may not know them and how they are feeling. Essentially make no assumptions.
Ask them to find props or prop like things i.e. books, cushion etc before the start of class there nothing worse than the whole class being taught around blocks and you don't have one or something similar.
**I might keep popping back and adding somethings in for you x
Now to go a little deeper into teaching beyond just a clear supportive class. To really truly teach something that serves on a deeper level.
Teaching online yoga is very very different, mainly as teachers a huge part of our job is to feel and connect with our students and then offer them a practice that is supportive and serving. A student will be giving so much information about themselves without them realising it at all, from the moment they step into the studio. The way they walk in, the way they get ready, the way they lay their mat, you are receiving in all these little snippets of information about your student.
For example, what mood they are in, the type of person they might tend to be, their energy levels today, the way they move their body etc etc.
So as the teacher we have come to class with a plan "I hope" and I'm not saying this needs to altered entirely because of the room that day but the delivery and the energy that we offer to communicate this class can be adjusted throughout depending on whether you are ruching your students or not. Most of this will be occurring sub consciously, teaching or not, on a daily basis we adjust ourselves within the way we connect and communicate with various people throughout our day, an obvious example might be that we don't chat in the same way to a best mate as we do to our in-laws, there's an adjustment in our behaviours. We would be perhaps a little less abrupt maybe more forgiving to one than another, this is also how we adjust ourselves when we teach.
Now when we teach though a screen we cannot feel into the energy of the class, we have received no prior information about who is stepping into to flow with us. Therefore, to still be able to deliver a class that is more than just going through the motions we must set ourselves up well.
You must take a few minutes of stillness and quiet before class, this doesn't need to be long, but grounding is key to teach from a place that is real and though out.
Imagination - when preparing what to teach consider yourself and your environment and energy yes but also consider what other people might be feeling and thinking. I'm writing this during Covid-19 therefore I'm always considering every situation, I make my class plans based on educated guesses and playing out various scenarios of life int his time. This will open your teaching skill up to a larger audience giving you an ability to captivate more student’s needs.
Options give options physically but also give options mentally
Don’t assume everyone feels the same - make sure your philosophy stays open to the masses.
I hope these few considerations really help you to connect and covey your message to your students. One more thing, you don’t need to teach many many classes a day your students will find you and join the classes you are offering. Make sure you are practicing yourself above all of these things.