Pros And Cons of an Online Yoga Teacher Training Course
Jake is a yoga and meditation teacher. He loves stream-of-consciousness…
I used to believe that there was no way I could do an online yoga class. I felt it was too impersonal, too distant, and not inspiring. Fast forward two years later and I am so used to it that I feel like it’s the new normal.
With Zoom being the new standard I’ve used it for just about everything: working, socializing, listening to concerts, and now yoga. It seems that the whole world has moved online.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how to adjust to an online world. While going online has its problems: addiction, isolation, and lack of embodied connections – I do feel that classes and courses online that help us connect to ourselves is a massive step forward.
Yoga and meditation courses that have gone online are now accessible to more people than ever.
Yoga has changed a lot recently, now with a few clicks, you can start a class, listen to a yoga talk, connect with a teacher, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
That being said, it’s not all peaches and cream, there are definitely some drawbacks to this whole online world and the same goes for yoga teacher trainings.
While traditionally they have all been done in-person, now there is number of yoga schools offering yoga teacher certifications.
In this article, we will talk pros and cons of doing online yoga teacher training course (YTTC).
What are the Pros & Cons of Doing an Online Yoga Teacher Training?
As you might expect, doing something online rather than in person are two very different experiences. This is even more so for online yoga teacher trainings. Why? This is because it takes a very detail-orientated course instructor together with a comprehensive program in order to effectively transmit what being a yoga teacher is all about.
Let’s start out by talking about some of the downsides.
Disadvantages of doing an Online Yoga Teacher Training
There are a few which might be important to you, especially if this is your first yoga teacher training course, as it will not be like an in-person training in many ways. Before deciding on whether an online a yoga teacher training is right for you read on.
1. Lacks an immersive experience
Yoga teacher trainings that are in-person are an immersive experience. Students learn in a number of different formats, both with a teacher and together with other peers discussing concepts, asking questions, studying and practicing with each other.
Not only that but eating food, sharing accommodation, forming friendships and going on weekend outings are something that you are going to miss out on. Sorry.
The physical process is a somatic, immersive experience, all of which can be found lacking in an online course.
It is hard to replace physical presnece and an online course does not transmit that in the same way. Presence is a hard thing to capture. As yoga deals with a lot of subtle practices, it can feel that there is an element missing.
2. Difficult in doing something alone
Let’s face it during things by yourself is hard. It can be difficult to feel inspired when doing something alone and without community support. Finding the self-discipline to do all the required work is also a challenge. While In-person trainings, discipline is forced on you, so you do the work. When you are at home and have no one there to tell you what to do, it’s largely up to you. For those of you that have to force yourself to do something – it might be extra difficult.
Students have to work alone and may feel isolated as a result. However, there are ways courses try and combat this. Many trainings offer live options, zoom calls, and interactive sessions where students can discuss topics and ask questions with other students and with the teacher. Online courses offer forums or FB groups where you can share your experience, ideas and get feedback. These features can be enough for some to feel driven and engaged, while others might just feel isolated and left behind.
3. Does not have the same depth
Yoga is first and foremost a physical practice. Although it is much more than just a physical practice, it has its roots in the physical and it is only when the foundation is set that you can go deeper.
An in-person training allows you the space to go deeper by giving a truly in depth experience that includes all aspects of life, not just asana: this includes getting up early, learning about the yogic lifestyle, eating the right foods, and learning how to do advanced kriyas (that you can only do with someone who knows what they are doing).
While an online YTTC is much harder to get to the same level of depth by yourself without the support that comes when you are in the shared energy space together with a teacher and a dedicated group of people. Online yoga courses, on the other hand require a lot more self-determination and self-inspiration, something that some people have, but might be especially difficult for beginners.
4. Lacks the same degree of personal interaction
There are limited contact hours that you can have with your yoga teachers. While some teachers are available every day (and have live sessions open to student discussion), it is still in a very different format than in person trainings where you can ask a thousand and one questions from the teacher at every step of the way.
Many online certification courses have a large part of the material pre-recorded so it can be hard to get clarifications or go deeper into a specific question you might have.
Many students like to have the in-person physical aspect when doing a course. This is especially so when it comes to learning modules like yoga adjustments, proper alignment, and practicing building and teaching a yoga sequence which just can not be done virtually. All of these aspects are going to be constrained because of the online format.
Advantages of an Online Yoga Teacher Training
While it may seem there are a lot of negatives. It’s not all bad. In fact, there are a number of reasons why we would recommend online yoga teacher training especially if you are looking to teach yoga online later. Let’s take a look at all the benefits.
1. More affordable
When you compare the price of an online program to that of a traditional in person one, you’ll see that online teacher trainings are much cheaper. At the low end, you are going to find courses that are around 300 USD while at the upper end, you are going to find a few ranging around 2000 USD.
In comparison, in-person yoga teacher trainings are going to start at around 3000USD and go up to 5000USD. There are cheaper in-person courses in places like Guatemala and India, however, then you need to actually need to pay all the costs to actually get there!
Without a doubt online programs are much cheaper which makes sense as you do not have to pay extra for food and accommodation.
2. Extra flexibility
Online yoga trainings provide additional flexibility for people who have full-time jobs or a family and can not find the time to commit to in person trainings. This is perhaps one of the major reasons that people decide to take an online course. It is flexible so that you can take classes when you want. Most in person courses take at least 1-month full time to complete and not everyone has the ability to take a month out of their life to commit to a course.
What’s nice about an online course is that you can access course materials at your own pace. Many online courses allow students to work at their own liesure and study at times that suit them best and complete the course within a 6 moth or 1-year timeframe. This means there’s no pressure to complete assignments within a deadline. Instead, students can squeeze in an hour or two whenever they have time.
3. Deepen your own practice
Doing an online course is a great addition to your home yoga practice. A lot of people decided to join a program not because they want to become a teacher but because they want to deepen their own practice and understanding of yoga. Often times we can reach plateaus in our practice or understanding, and whenever that happens, introducing yourself to new experiences, teachers, and information can help to re-inspire and break through those stagnant times.
Online courses are a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and expose yourself to a depth of yoga you have might not yet reached. And if later you decide that you want to become a yoga teacher, you already have your training so you can just jump right in.
4. Easy Access
This is another major reason why people jump online. It is just easy. You do not have to plan a trip and go halfway around the world, and go through all of the hassle it takes to finally arrive and start your course. It could take days and weeks of prep, planning, and waiting until you were there. Alternatively, by going online you literally could start the moment, now, today this minute the moment you click! That is pretty amazing to have access to some of the world’s greatest teachers all at the touch of a button. I wonder if we appreciate how fortunate were really are to have all of this connectivity.
All you need is a laptop, a steady connection and a credit card and boom, you could start today. I planned mine for months before I did mine, which has its own rewards, but it just can not beat easy access.
There you have it, the good and bad of the online yoga course world. While online courses are not perfect, they do provide a powerful alternative to the traditional in person trainings. Hopefully, this article gave you a bit of insight into the pros and cons so that you know what you are getting into. Good luck in deciding!
Jake is a yoga and meditation teacher. He loves stream-of-consciousness writing, good coffee, and a quiet mind. Not necessarily in that order. You can find him pursuing that wherever he goes.