Making Yoga Videos: The Dos and Don'ts

When I was asked to film with Yoga Anytime for the first time in 2016, I was honored, and I was horrified. I immediately signed-up for a challenging yoga class that night to try to get into “filming shape” and pulled one of my translations of the Bhagavad Gita from my bookshelf so I could be in tip-top "yoga philosophy shape" (as if that was a thing). As my Type A personality would have it, I began to plan the next three months of my life leading up to filming—hair, yoga costumes, pedicure, sequences, talking points, promotion plan, you name it. In the months that followed, I had a range of thoughts and emotions mostly along the lines of, “You’re not good enough” and “Who are you to teach among these amazing teachers?” Luckily, I had two of the best mentors in the biz that kept it real and I finally realized: yoga filming has absolutely nothing to do with me; it’s all about the Yoga.

Here are some dos and don’ts that I’ve learned along the way, both in filming and in experiencing other teachers who have filmed with Yoga Anytime.

Do: Prepare

You will feel a lot more confident going into filming if you are comfortable and familiar with the sequences you’ve created. In yoga teacher training, we are taught to prepare and then be prepared to throw it all away when you see who shows up for class. Half of that equation doesn’t apply here. Definitely be prepared AND you can’t really know if you should throw it all away when you walk into the room because the only student staring back at you is a giant camera. This was probably the weirdest part of the entire experience—imagining that you are teaching students while trying to make eye contact with a zoom lens. The question became: How do you connect with students when they aren’t actually present? From what I have discovered thus far, those who have most successfully broken down the screen-to-living-room barrier don’t take themselves too seriously, and they trust and feel held in the teachings of yoga.

Don’t: Underestimate Stamina

Imagine teaching a class and breaking down a chaturanga and then times that by one million. I didn’t quite realize how hard it was to talk and move at the same time for 45-minutes while doing a bunch of sun salutations and trying to smile and not swear during eka pada koundinyasana. Take good care of your body leading up to filming and practice teaching your sequences while cueing beforehand.

If one person feels better as a result of my online yoga class, then I have succeeded.

Do: Allow Yourself to Drop In

This was an invaluable piece of advice from my teacher and mentor, Kira Sloane. Clear your schedule the day before and allow yourself the time to drop into the teachings and the entire experience. It can be a beautifully transformative time if you do. Book a massage for the day after filming if you can.

Don’t: Make It About You

Every time I film, I always remind myself of the nugget of wisdom that fellow Yoga Anytime teacher, Alana Mitnick, bestowed upon me: “I hope this helps someone.” This mantra serves as a helpful reminder that sharing yoga practices isn’t about me. It isn’t about the way I look, whether my yoga costume looks fabulous, or if my sequences are perfectly executed. This is about sharing the teachings of yoga and what hopefully translates into an experience of yoga for the home yogi. If one person feels better as a result of my online yoga class, then I have succeeded.

Do: Trust Your Team

As with anything in life, surround yourself with people who are honest and who support you.

Don’t: Fart

I’m kidding, but you may end up on our seasonal blooper reel if you do.

Do: Mess Up

One of my favorite things about the yoga practice is that it is a practice. It’s not meant to be a highly rehearsed performance or a highly produced and edited bit. When you can show up as you—flaws and all—others can’t help but relate. And, as with most filming, we do still have that one magical word: “CUT.”

At the end of the day making yoga videos is about sharing the translations of yoga effectively through a crazy new medium that we are all still trying to navigate. The response thus far, the connections made across the globe, and that one comment on a class that says something like, “Thanks for making my day a little better,” make it all worth it.

Sarah Beston
About the Author

Sarah Beston

Sarah is a yoga teacher and writer based in Los Angeles, California. You can practice with her on Yoga Anytime in The Heart's Delight, 30-Minute Yoga Flows, and The Vinyasa Show.


Brett Williams
Sarah, you have succeeded, and continue to do so - about six times a week in my home on the opposite coast...
Sarah Beston
Thank you so very much, Brett Williams! I am so happy to be practicing with you here on Yoga Anytime. All the very best!
Kate M
1 person likes this.
So good to read this, Sarah! My community center is going to try recording some classes this week - I have a hatha all-levels class - and I felt so reassured to read your comments here. From my perspective, you guys are all superstars! But - you also come across as very grounded and kind. I just love the advice to focus on the yoga. It's all about serving the kula - not and never about me. I'm just a conduit...
Sarah Beston
1 person likes this.
Exactly, Kate! I am so happy to hear that you will be sharing practices with your community. I am sure they will be so grateful and happy to practice with you. Thank you so much for your kind words and as always, it is a true pleasure and honor to be a part of this community with you. Let me know how it goes! xo

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