228: How to Personalize Zoom Yoga with Arundhati Baitmangalkar
Are you teaching yoga online and wondering how to make your classes more personalized, create more connection with your students, and continue building that sense of community – from behind a screen? Arundhati Baitmangalkar has some insights about how to personalize yoga classes on Zoom, and create connections with students in yoga teacher trainings.
Arundhati is the founder of Aham Yoga, a full-service yoga studio, and Bollyworks, a part-time Bollywood dance studio, in Redmond, WA. Born and raised in India, Arundhati came to yoga after nearly a decade of teaching dance, and started teaching yoga in 2006. She is trained in vinyasa and hatha styles of yoga from renowned yoga masters, and is one of the leading yoga teachers in her area. Arundhati represents a great balance of classical and modern yoga, and in addition to yoga classes, she offers yoga teacher trainings and workshops. She also runs a blog, YouTube channel, hosts the Let’s Talk Yoga podcast, and was voted one of the top 20 yoga teachers of color to watch out for in 2020 by YogaWalla.
Shannon and Arundhati discuss some simple strategies to connect and engage with students, like using their names and letting them ask questions. Arundhati also shares some tips on how to create the best experience possible for your YTT students, and the tools she uses to enhance teaching online.
If you’re teaching any of your yoga classes online, this podcast is full of useful info on how to give your students a personalized experience even on Zoom.
[8:07] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Arundhati Baitmangalkar
[10:39] What is the work that Arundhati does and who does she do it for?
[11:45] What helps to feel like we have a connection with our students when we are teaching online?
“[For online YTTs], make sure your spaces are well-lit, make sure you can provide multiple angles if possible.” ~ Arundhati Baitmangalkar
[12:58] Arundhati makes it a point to acknowledge every person in her class by name, and encourages questions in her classes.
[17:13] One thing many yoga teachers struggle with is seeing their students on Zoom, either because they don’t want to turn on their cameras, or have poor placement of their cameras. What are Arundhati’s tips around this?
[21:27] Shannon shares a struggle she has been having recently with leading yoga teacher training.
“Understand that teaching in person and teaching online are two completely different experiences.” ~ Arundhati Baitmangalkar
[27:22] Shannon and Arundhati discuss some of the elements students would get from an in-person class that are missing from the online environment, and how to cater to that.
[29:05] Breakout rooms in Zoom are a good tool to do activities in smaller groups. Arundhati explains how she uses them in her yoga teacher trainings.
“When we plan these trainings, we have to keep extra time for those breakout rooms because I feel like that’s where you really get your hands-on experience.” ~ Arundhati Baitmangalkar
[31:31] How does Arundhati instruct people to get help from her when they are in a breakout room session?
[34:00] Shannon shares something that has worked really well for her in leading online sessions.
[35:57] What kind of comments has Arundhati received from students about Zoom classes and being tired of being on screens and Zoom?
[39:18] Arundhati explains why she puts more energy into serving the students she has now, instead of trying to convince people who are resistant to having Zoom classes, and how she keeps students interested in coming back to classes.
[41:37] What are some things Arundhati has learned along the way from teaching yoga online?
[44:55] Arundhati reflects on what going with the flow is like for her.
“It’s about accepting the moment, even if that moment is unpleasant.” ~ Arundhati Baitmangalkar
[46:35] Find out more about Arundhati and the work she does by visiting her website and following her on Instagram.
[47:29] How did Arundhati ensure that her trainees in yoga teacher trainings got teaching practice?
[49:59] Shannon shares her key takeaways from this interview.
- Acknowledge everyone by name (before and after class)
- Encourage students to unmute and ask questions during class
- Leave time at the end of class to ask questions
- Send personal messages (type in chat to just that person) to a few students each class
- Log in, and then sit like you would in a studio
- Use breakout rooms
- Zoom fatigue is real – try out themes / exciting class titles, focus on the students who are there with you
- Arundhati Baitmangalkar, Aham Yoga
- Arundhati Baitmangalkar on Instagram and YouTube
- Let’s Talk Yoga Podcast
- Pelvic Health Professionals
- The Connected Yoga Teacher Facebook Group
Gratitude to our Sponsors Schedulicity and Yoga for Pelvic Health Teacher Training.