Yoga has become one of the fastest growing industries of recent times. The growth of online teacher training courses has made it easier for people to pursue teaching yoga professionally. In this article we shed some light on the benefits and drawbacks of online yoga teacher training courses.
In the last few decades, yoga became a highly popular career choice. A yoga teacher training (YTT) course brings you the chance to help people work towards their own inner transformation. It lets you share the benefits of asana practice, meditation, pranayama, and other lessons on living a mindful life with others.
To be a good yoga teacher, one must first work upon oneself. Knowing about yoga history or doing a few sessions is not enough to be able to take this experience to others. A yoga teacher training course helps you deep dive into the whole yogic experience while learning how to become a teacher yourself.
Is Online Yoga Teacher Training Worth It?
It depends on what you are looking for. An in-person teacher training course is a life-changing experience, and an online course can also benefit you in many ways. It will deepen your knowledge, improve your ability to achieve better control and alignment in postures, inversions, and sequences. And most importantly, it will train you to help others practice yoga.
An online yoga certification program can be a highly valuable experience, but relying only on virtual sessions can hamper a student’s true learning. Much depends on the teachers and structure of the online course to be successful and meaningful.
What Should I Consider When Choosing an Online Yoga Teacher Training?
When you choose an online course, it’s really important that you first decide why you want to take it. Online yoga courses are designed for different levels and are meant to suit every learner in a certain way. If you are really keen to be a teacher, you need to know the answers to some basic questions. This article takes a look at the most important questions you should ask yourself.
Read on to know more about:
What Does an Online Yoga TTC Feel Like?
Online teacher training courses are usually comprehensive and thorough. They cover all the main aspects of a regular teacher training program including, theory, practice, and workshops. They also offer live trainings and one-on-one coaching sessions. Moreover, in some advanced programs, you get to do the entire course at your own pace and timing.
Even though a class is 100% virtual, a student can feel the teacher’s influence by the way they conduct their class. Being able to ask questions, getting live feedback, and more precise guidance makes a big difference for an online student.
No doubt an in-person training is always the best way to learn. But even an online yoga course can go a long way in delivering the teachings of a traditional training at a studio or ashram.
How to Choose an Online YTT Course?
Reviews about yoga teacher training certification offer good information about the benefits and drawbacks of an online TTC. You need to use the relevant advice and apply them in your own context to decide what will suit you.
There are many good online courses offered by Yoga Alliance RYT trainers and from Yoga Alliance accredited schools. Here are some points that can be useful when you choose an online YTT course:
1. Set your priorities
It’s important that you first decide what you wish to gain from the course. Next, you should decide which style you want to learn and how much expense you can afford. If you know your priorities, it’s easier to find a course that aligns with your goals.
Read more: Which Yoga Style Fits You?
2. Check the credentials
To be a really good teacher, it is important that you learn from a highly qualified source. It's important that you verify the credentials and experience of your teachers before choosing a school.
3. Time and location
Your schedule will depend on whether you pursue a course from your country or abroad. If you have a good grasp of the time-difference, it gets easy to balance your priorities along with your learning schedule.
It’s true that you can learn at your own pace and return back to a recorded session anytime you wish. But you’ll also need to attend some live sessions, so be sure to choose a course based on these factors.
Pros and Cons of Online Yoga Teacher Training
While earlier it wasn’t always possible to do a YTT course online, this has changed since COVID-19. Online YTTs were a great help for many in the face of challenges like social distancing and lock downs. It let people find respite from stress and cope with the new ways of living, working, and connecting. At the same time, many teachers were able to use their experience to help others cope and survive through these tough times.
All important aspects are kept in mind, and the best efforts are made to make online yoga learning an all-inclusive experience. But like everything, it has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Pros of online yoga teacher training:
1. It fits your already busy life.
An online course saves you the time you’d otherwise spend in going to a studio. As such, it fits more easily in your already busy schedule. You can opt to do the YTT course at one go or customize your study schedule to suit your timings. This works well for working people and for those who have families or other duties.
2. Online YTT puts lesser strain on your pockets
Honestly, a good YTT course can be expensive. The course fee is only one part of the expense. Your travel and preparations for staying in a retreat or an ashram will have their own costs. One of the main perks of doing an online YTT is that it becomes less expensive. You can choose from a range of options and pick a course that best suits your budget. Plus, many online programs offer good discounts.
3.You can play it back
Some places offer a free session which helps a student get to know the course better. Moreover, in an online YTT, one gets lifetime access to all the classes. But in a live teacher training, you get to do each session only once. Likewise, in an online TTC you can also access many good video tutorials from seasoned teachers and use them in developing your own teaching style and self-practice.
4. Online YTTs support an eco-friendly future
Living mindfully helps us rethink our priorities and accordingly make the necessary adjustments. Less number of vehicles on the streets and lesser use of consumer goods and services during COVID-19 has greatly reduced carbon emission. Online training supports this eco-friendly mindset.
Cons of online yoga teacher training:
1. It’s harder to find focus, discipline, and community in online classes
An in-person session is a community experience where students are trained in a particular set-up. Recreating the same in an online class is not fully possible. Living and learning with other people create more discipline and focus in a student. But doing so in online classes is harder, especially for beginners.
2. The depth and vibrancy of a live, interactive training is missing
Online teacher training certification programs are not as intense and vibrant as live, interactive sessions. In a non-virtual training, students gain a more in-depth knowledge of teaching methods and practices. Practicing with peers makes it easier to stay committed and motivated rather than doing it alone.
3. Same level of guidance is missing
You may understand your instructor’s guidance well and think that you are doing your asanas correctly. But you may need some light adjustment or guidance from your teacher now and then. It may also be easier to correct your own posture when you see a student being adjusted from up close. A teacher’s commitment and ability does not become less in an online training. However, the scope of guiding students more deeply tends to get reduced in an online class.
4. It becomes less personal and less immersive
A TTC is a life-changing experience where a person goes deep into a vigorous training. You experience a change in your diet, your daily routine, and your habits. You connect with other learners and your teachers in a personal and interactive way as you live and breathe yoga together. An online YTT course is good in many ways. But seeing videos and practicing or sharing views in online groups isn’t the same as learning via a traditional, on-site course.
Do I Need to Register with Yoga Alliance to Teach?
Yoga Alliance is a globally recognized organization that fosters and supports people in the yoga community. Their goal is to promote a high quality, safe, and accessible yoga teaching community.
You can teach yoga even without a Yoga Alliance registration. But if you register with them, it becomes easy to get hired by international yoga studios. You will have to pay a charge for registering and complete some other requirements like continuing education units (CEU). Please check the official Yoga Alliance site for more details.
A Yoga Alliance RYT certificate shows that one has done a certain level of training as a yoga instructor. But it is not the only way to assess a person’s ability to teach or have an idea of their experience in yoga.
FAQs about Online Yoga Teacher Training
If you’re thinking of becoming a yoga teacher by following an online certification course, probably you have questions about how to go about it. In this section, we look at some commonly asked questions about online yoga teacher training certification courses.
1. I am a beginner. Can I still take up an online teacher training course?
Yes, you can. Most courses are designed to cover everything from scratch, and you’ll be given all the support during your learning. The first yoga teacher trainings were given in the 80’s by seasoned teachers to loyal students. These students would share their practice with their teacher for a long time, before being initiated into teaching. These days the teacher trainings are open to anyone who is physically and mentally healthy and ready to take the responsibility of following a training. This created opportunities for many different people to enter a teacher training. Besides future teachers, any level student can now join a teacher training to deepen their practice. This means you don’t need much experience to enter a yoga teacher training.
2. Which styles of yoga can I learn?
You can find online YTT classes for any style of yoga you wish to learn. Every teacher has his/her own expertise, and they will design an online course based on their learning. You can join a Restorative Yoga class or a more classical Hatha Yoga program. You may also like Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga, or Kids and Teens Yoga.
If you wish to know about our online teacher training courses, you will find all the details here.
3. Are all teacher training courses of the same duration?
No, they are not. Every course is created around a certain approach, and the time span is based on the purpose of the course. So, a 50-hour course will require less time than a 200-hour course.
4. Will I receive an international certification after I complete my course?
After you complete 100% requirements of a teacher training course, most places will offer some sort of certification. But not all of them are internationally recognized.
For an international yoga teaching certificate, you must first complete an extensive course such as the 200-hour yoga teacher training. Such courses require a student to attend on-site training to complete a certain duration of contact hours.
But this has changed since the COVID-19 crisis. Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School (RYS) members who’ve applied and met the qualification requirements can offer virtual class hours (pre-recorded and live) in lieu of live contact hours.
Currently, this is applicable only till December 31, 2021.
5. Will I be able to teach after completing a teacher training course?
Yes, you will be able to teach after you complete your teacher training. Many choose to pursue an apprenticeship or higher training courses prior to starting a teaching career. It depends on how comfortable and prepared you feel.
What a yoga practice means to you and how it will influence your life will be based on many personal factors. But at the core, some things are the same for everyone who wishes to pursue a career as a yoga teacher. For many people, the possibility to attain even a part of their yoga training online makes it possible for them to learn in the first place.
And while we all remain concerned about prospects of a post-COVID future, we want to assure you that it is okay to go for an online TTC for yoga. The future will surely bring us a better scope to continue in-person trainings and live sessions.
About the Author
Ram is the Founding Director of the Arhanta Yoga Ashrams India and The Netherlands. Since 2009, the Arhanta Yoga Ashrams have become renowned internationally for their professional yoga teacher training courses, and have up to present trained over 6000 yoga teachers from all over the world.
Born in New Delhi, India, in a traditional and spiritual family, his yoga philosophy education started at the age of eight years as a part of his primary school education. Presently, he is the lead teacher for various teacher training programs at the ashrams as well as at the Arhanta Yoga Online Academy. You might be interested in his Yoga Alliance accredited Yin Yoga teacher training course.