At some point in your yoga journey, you may feel called to take it further and actually become a yoga instructor yourself, and in fact, this is what happened to me! If you are someone who doesn’t live in a city that even has a single yoga studio (also me) you may be asking yourself if you can train to be a yoga teacher online. Is that even an option?
Yes! There are yoga teacher trainings that you can take in the comfort of your own home completely online. Depending on the school, there are 200, 300, and 500-hour options available and are usually taught with a mix of study at your own pace content and personal feedback from a real human.
It is absolutely possible, you can become a yoga instructor online.
I did it and I will show you the ropes below, including a program that offers a great combination of pre-recorded instruction and a personal touch.
If you want to skip down to my recommendation, click here.
Can you get certified to teach yoga online?
Yes. If you use a credible online yoga school you will be considered a certified yoga instructor, CYT, once you have completed the course requirements.
Where some get confused is when we start talking about a “registered yoga instructor.”
Is there a difference between certified and registered?
Again, yes. The good news is, both certified and registered yoga teachers are absolutely considered to be “real” yoga teachers and can teach yoga to others.
When you go through any good yoga school, upon graduation your name will be added to a web page that future employers, or anyone, can refer to.
They will check that you were certified by that yoga school, and hence, a certified yoga instructor.
Some yoga instructors take it one step further and become “registered.”
To do this, enter the Yoga Alliance.
The Yoga Alliance is a non-profit that sets guidelines for yoga teacher training programs (you sometimes see this referred to as YTT) and yoga teachers to ensure they are meet quality standards.
On their website they explained “we foster and support the high quality, safe, accessible, and equitable teaching of yoga.”
Think of them as the gold seal.
If a yoga school meets their expectations, they will be considered a “registered school” and upon graduation, students have the option of signing up (and paying the fees) to be considered a “registered yoga instructor.”
When you see a yoga instructor described as an RYT, this means “registered yoga teacher” and they have gotten this title through the Yoga Alliance.
There are often numbers after it that denote how many hours of training as well, for instance, an RYT-200 means they went through a 200-hour Yoga Alliance registered training program.
Do you HAVE to register with the Yoga Alliance?
There are pros and cons to this. It can be a feather in your cap when looking for work, and there are other small benefits, like member discounts and access to online workshops.
One downside is the cost, which at the time of publishing this is a 50$ registration fee plus a 65$ yearly due for a total of $115. Check current costs here.
The $65 is due annually, and there are other education requirements to remain in registered status, which also require more money and time. See those requirements here.
*Note that, even if you aren’t registered, your yoga teacher training program may require continuing education hours to remain certified through them.
As I write this, the Yoga Alliance has adjusted some of their guidelines and currently doesn’t require any in-person hours during teacher trainings.
This means that at this moment many online-only yoga schools who usually many not now qualify to graduate students who can become registered with the Yoga Alliance.
If becoming registered is important to you, be sure to check with the yoga teacher training program you have in mind to find out if they can offer that to you as well as the date you would need to complete to course to be eligible!
*If you are interested in a handpicked list of great yoga YouTube channels, check out my article on YouTube yoga.
Can you do yoga teacher training as a beginner?
I hadn’t taken a single yoga class in years before I signed up for yoga teacher training and I don’t think it would’ve made much of a difference.
This is because yoga schools don’t teach you how to DO yoga, they teach you how to facilitate a yoga class safely, and there is a huge difference!
Sure, you will need to learn yoga poses and sequences, which actually just takes practice for you to memorize, but I felt the more “important” parts of my courses had nothing to do with learning the poses at all!
I will speak more to that later in the article.
Also, don’t worry if you aren’t very flexible and don’t feel as though your poses look “pretty” enough.
Do NOT let this stop you as your ability to twist into complicated poses absolutely does not translate to being a better teacher or having an easier time in yoga teacher training.
I am over 40 and not very “bendy” anymore, and this was never an issue.
When you teach a yoga class, in-person, at least, you don’t do the yoga yourself, so looking amazing while holding all of the poses is not a vital part of being a teacher.
Rather, you will be setting the tone for the class, observing your students looking for ways you can help improve their alignment or offering modifications, cueing breaths, and other tasks, not going through the sequence yourself.
In my class, I was never graded on how flexible I was or how “Instagram worthy” my poses looked.
I was graded on how well I understood how to conduct a safe and properly sequenced class.
If you feel called to get yoga education online, don’t let being a new yogi stop you.
*If you would like to see some perfect yoga poses and sequences for beginners, check out my post on beginner yoga.
How long does it take to train to be a yoga teacher?
I know everyone hates this answer, but it depends.
First of all, it depends on if you are going after a 200, 300, or 500-hour certification.
It also depends on how your course is offered, whether all of the information is already available to you or if it is “dripped” where sections are made available to you every week, for example.
Finally, it depends on you.
Some will naturally zoom through and others will inch through slowly.
It also depends on how much extra time you have.
I completed a 200-hour certification and it took 3-4 months, BUT I was home full-time when I took it.
The answer with most things is that it always takes longer than we want it to.
But, our brains learn things so much better when given time, so don’t focus on how long it takes, focus on learning as much as you can and forget about the timeline.
Is online yoga teacher training legit?
I can say with 100% confidence that you can get certified, and depending on the school and the current guidelines, registered to be a real yoga instructor completely online.
My mentor from my school gave me personal feedback on my assignments and was available to answer questions whenever I had them.
And in my experience, it wasn’t a “rubber stamp degree.”
I have a Master’s degree, and I didn’t think it was easy! BUT, it was definitely doable!
Just like with anything, the more practice you have the better you will be at it.
Traveling somewhere for a 2-week yoga teacher training course doesn’t offer any more time to reflect and practice than an online course that takes a few months to take.
There are benefits to in-person teacher trainings, of course, such as immediate personal feedback and being able to watch others around you to help you “get it” faster.
Also, there can be a bond and friendships formed in classes such as that.
However, there are also benefits to online yoga teacher trainings.
I live in a small town and time and money-wise there is no way I could leave my family for a few weeks to attend training.
Without online courses, yoga school would not have been an option for me.
Also, many online courses offer some kind of community, whether on Facebook or via live Zoom calls.
In an online 95-hour youth yoga teacher training I completed, there was a Zoom component that resulted in bonds I feel were as strong as they would have been in person.
So, yes, online yoga teacher training is legit.
*If you are also interested in practicing yoga from online classes, check out this post on online yoga.
What is it like to do yoga teacher training online?
In all honesty, it can feel both exciting and terrifying, sometimes at the same time!
You will be asked to challenge yourself and push yourself out of your comfort zone, which can be scary.
BUT, I can tell you from experience that when you succeed at something that seemed impossible or scary at first, it is an INCREDIBLE feeling!
I will probably say a million times in this post that each online yoga school will handle things differently, but many programs will serve their information on some kind of learning platform, like Teachable or Kajabi.
They will more than likely have many, many pre-recorded videos that you will work through and take notes on.
My YTT required tests to be taken and passed after a new topic was covered before you could move on to the next.
Depending on the concept being taught, the tests were either multiple choice online or a video that you made and handed in.
Feedback was given on all video assignments whether you pass or not, which I found to be valuable, and if you didn’t pass you were given an opportunity to try again.
Of course, each program will differ slightly, but some of the things I was taught in my yoga school were:
- What yoga actually is (hint: it’s not just a bunch of poses)
- How to cue breathing
- Muscle and joint actions
- Proper alignment for many poses
- How to sequence a class
- Ready to use sequences for standing poses, balance poses, twists, forward folds and backends, and inversions
- How to use props
- Yogic philosophy of how energy moves through the body
- Pranayama breathing exercises
- And more that I can’t think of right off the top of my head!
I found the anatomy portion to be the easiest, mostly because I have a science background, so I breezed through that fairly quickly.
Where I felt out of my comfort zone was filming me teaching my “student,” which was my teenage daughter, as though I were actually instructing a class.
I felt like everything I did and said was wrong or silly and this was where I second guessed myself the most.
BUT, I did it anyway! In my program, feedback is given to help you improve if your assignment doesn’t meet their standards so I had to keep telling myself that THIS is the learning part, making mistakes and getting help to correct them.
When I got the email that I passed those lessons it was a sense of accomplishment that, unfortunately, isn’t common for most adults because we don’t usually have a lot of “big” learning opportunities like we did when we were younger.
Yeah. I teared up ran around the house yelling.
My program has an incredibly active Facebook community and I was so excited when my mentor posted to the group that I had passed and many people congratulated me, just as I had done for many others before.
Some programs also include use of a “cohort”.
If you aren’t familiar with that term, it just means a group of people, so if you are in a training with a cohort those are the people you will learn and study with until graduation.
An in-person cohort would simply be the other students in your class, but there can be online cohorts as well that can either be organized over Zoom or through online messaging.
Sure, online YTT feels different than any in-person classes you have taken, but is no different than most online college courses that are now offered.
How to become a yoga teacher online
There are myriad options available for an online yoga teacher training program and you need to find one that feels like a good fit for you!
Many in-person, immersion style YTT programs are offered in amazing locations, such as Bali or Costa Rica, but obviously your experience will be different online!
BUT, what if you could get a taste of the best of both worlds by connecting with and learning from instructors located and filming in India?
That is exactly what Shree Hari Yoga offers!
Even though you are in your living room, you can learn yoga from incredibly experienced yogis from pilgrimage destination, Rishikesh.
Click here to learn more about how you can become a part of the Shree Hari Yoga family, and become a skilled yoga instructor, from the comfort of your own home
What is the YTT “hybrid option”?
What if you would like to learn as much as you can online, but still want some kind of in-person experience?
Enter the hybrid option!
With the hybrid option, you take much of your coursework online, but there is an in-studio component, as well, often referred to as a “retreat”.
Advantages of this over purely online yoga school is that you get that human touch.
To meet requirements, you would attend an in-person training session, although because you have completed the online study portion, it would be for a much shorter period of time than it would be if you did a purely in-person training course.
If this idea intrigues you, definitely take a look at the program offered from the DoYogaWithMe studio.
The DoYogaWithMe program offers a 3-step process for certification, the first 2 levels being offered completely online.
Once those levels are completed, there is an in-person retreat offered to wrap up the course.
What I think is fantastic about their program is that for the first 2 levels you also have the choice of taking it on your own, completely self-paced, or taking it with others online as part of a cohort.
You would begin the online portion on a specific day, the same day as the rest of your cohort, and then all finish at the same time, giving you the benefit of having others to share the experience with the learn with.
Both the self-paced and cohort versions end in the same result, but it is nice that they give you the option.
What is very impressive is their commitment to highly effective teaching, and they demonstrate this right out of the gate with their Level 1 Orientation.
This is a free mini-course that answers all of the questions you have about their yoga teacher training program, but it also gives you a taste of what their learning platform looks like and how it all works. If you would like to take a look at their orientation, click here.
Click here to see how you can become certified online and with a human touch through DoYogaWithMe.
I hope you have had some of your questions answered in this post, and I wish you luck on your yoga teacher training journey!
Thanks for reading and take care!
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