Best Online Yoga Teacher Training for Life After Lockdown
If you’re reading this, the odds are that you agree: Life is what we make it.
As we re-emerge from lockdown, many of us are realizing that things are not going back to the “normal” (what that even means) we experienced before this challenging period.
We’re seeing the world and ourselves with more clarity than ever. There is no better time than now to get in the drivers’ seats of your own life and go!
That’s exactly what I’m here to do. I empower yoga professionals to design the career they want. I am entirely dedicated to yoga teachers breaking through their income glass ceilings.
And that all begins with choosing the right 200 hour teacher training program.
Since we are in the “technological age” (a.k.a. totally overwhelmed with options!!), in this post I’ll share my honest, up-to-date advice on choosing the best online yoga teacher training for you.
Yep, I said “online”…more next on why I think it’s a great way to go right now.
Why Online Yoga Teacher Training Is More Legit Than Ever
The pandemic has given us the ability to do practically everything online.
Our lives at home are perhaps forever changed as many of us transition to remote and hybrid working lives, and many more navigate a more highly “interconnected” relationship with technology than ever before. At the same time, travel remains challenging to many parts of the world that have been devastated by the impact of the pandemic. The wellness industry has adapted to these conditions, offering a wide variety of services online that have only ever been available in person.
And these online options aren’t just passable. The quality and impact of virtual offerings continues to surpass expectations. Today, you cannot just only take yoga lessons in your bedroom, but you can even take an online yoga teacher training course curled up on your couch with your dog in your PJs (more on why I don’t exactly recommend that setup later).
But of course the question must be asked: Can we really do a yoga teacher certification online?
Believe it or not, yes.
Since Yoga Alliance USA approved online yoga teacher trainings under their temporary COVID-19 provision, yoga schools around the world have stepped up to offer training virtually. This means you can do your yoga certification online with a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School (RYS) and be eligible to become a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) after graduation.
There are several benefits to opting for an online yoga teacher training. Studying with an online yoga school will save you time commuting, the expense of travel, transportation, accommodation, and childcare, while having the flexibility to maintain your livelihood, relationships, hobbies, and responsibilities at home. Plus, attending an online training helps you start to learn how to teach online yourself as you get to be an online student first and learn best practices from your online trainers.
I really wouldn’t have believed it before either, but the high quality, Yoga Alliance approval, convenience, and affordability make online yoga teacher training an excellent choice for those who are ready to add an in-depth yoga training to their arsenal of wellness tools.
The New Normal: Living Your Yoga (Online & Live)
It’s more essential than ever to bring your professional life online.
Because online is our new normal.
The fact is, we live more of our lives in the online space than ever before.
Our new normal also looks like more working from home and less global certainty.
It goes without saying that this new normal comes with significant challenges: It can be difficult to work from home, create boundaries that stop technology from sucking the life out of our lives, and adjust to a less-than-certain global climate.
But, this shift comes with opportunities, too. The new normal also offers more freedom in how we work, more opportunities to connect virtually with people from around the world, and the chance to learn a new skill set that helps us thrive online.
The new normal is an invitation to anchor more deeply into yoga practice. As our practice helps us stay centered, grounded, and flexible, we develop the resilience to face challenges and the clear-sight to take advantage of opportunities.
If we accept this invitation to walk-our-talk and live our yoga, even more, we can adapt and make the new normal work for us.
How to Create A Great Remote Learning Experience
Are you one of the millions of people who have paid for an online course but never completed it? It’s a real problem. Many of us have tried…and failed…to complete an online course in the last couple of years. Everything has its learning curve, and how to actually complete and follow-through with online learning is definitely one of these things. If becoming a certified yoga teacher is something you want, you can do things to set yourself up for success in preparation for your online yoga teacher training.
- Commit. Like most things, our success (or lack of it) starts in our heads. Not committing is the only thing between you and successfully completing your yoga teacher training online. So first and foremost, take an HONEST look at your mindset. Ask yourself: Am I truly ready for the yoga teacher training journey and am I ready to give it my all? And if your answer is Yes, then fully commit to completing your online yoga training. Throw out your excuses and dedicate yourself to showing up and doing what it takes to get the job done.
- Have the hard convos. Once you’ve mentally committed, you need to let the important people in your life know what you’ve committed to, as it will absolutely affect them. So recruit them on-board to “operation 200-hour yoga teacher training”. Have the necessary conversations to work out logistics around how you can maintain your responsibilities while requesting help as needed to create space in your schedule to complete your program. This might mean talking about boundaries around space as well as time. But play fair. Make trade-offs for where you might be asking for extra support. This step is the perfect opportunity to live your yoga and practice some compassionate, clear, conscious communication that honors yourself and others.
- Set-up your space. Think of this like setting up your own at home mini-yoga studio and classroom. Creating a learning space that is comfortable and inviting will help you look forward to your online learning time. That means no more being huddled in the only un-cluttered presentable corner of your room, but showing up ready-to-rock in an organized space. As is your space, so is your mind. Clear away the clutter to minimize distractions and fill the space with what you’ll need for your learning, including practice space and a desk space for studying yoga philosophy and other written materials. Having a clearly differentiated learning space for your training will help you transition mentally from home to study.
- Schedule it in. Once you’ve committed, had the hard convos, and prepared your space, block out time for your learning. And I mean really block out the time. This is especially important for self-paced training when it’s easy to make excuses, get distracted or procrastinate. Put it in your calendar and tell whoever needs to know that you aren’t available during those times as much as possible to create a distraction-free learning zone.
- Find an accountability buddy. Reaching out to classmates and making an accountability group is a great way to further connect with your fellow trainees while nipping procrastination in the bud. This will also help you find your tribe and surround yourself with those who are committed to getting the most from their online yoga teacher training. Support and encourage each other by making individual or shared goals and keeping each other accountable.
Factors That Set The Best Online YTTs Apart From the Rest
Business & Marketing Training
The majority of yoga students seek out teacher training for yoga, of course! But for those who wish to teach yoga and earn a living doing it, I have some news for you…whether you want to be or not, you’re about to become an entrepreneur. Welcome to the club!
Most yoga instructors don’t have a business and marketing background. And most aren’t prepared in their skillset or more importantly, their mindset, to do the work it takes to make yoga their business. Business and marketing training aren’t usually covered in yoga teacher training courses – either in-person or online; even the most reputable ones. Many yoga teachers graduate from training able to teach yoga poses and guide a yoga class, but totally un-equipped to actually get people to come to their yoga classes or to make a sustainable living from teaching.
So if you’re going to invest in yoga education, finding a 200-hour yoga teacher training that includes the business and marketing sides of yoga will allow you to more easily and quickly grow your yoga business.
Yoga Teacher Training Course Design
The design of your potential online yoga teacher certification corresponds directly with how well it will prepare you to teach. The course design is even more important for online yoga teacher training courses than live YTTs because it structures your interaction with the staff and other students. Poorly designed courses let students fall behind and get lost, and don’t provide adequate opportunities for students to learn with each other.
So check out the training design.
First of all, any training worth its salt will clearly lay out a training format and curriculum so you know exactly what you’ll be learning, when, and how the content will be delivered. Ideally, they even have a syllabus you can see and download.
The best online yoga teacher trainings will be organized with well thought-out, sequential and progressive module design. The session format will be varied and include audio, video, reading, writing, and live group participation aspects (more on that next) to accommodate various learning styles. There will be a clear policy for graduation that includes some assessment and practicum elements via homework, quizzes, and practice teaching.
And there will be a time limit for course completion to make sure you get it done. As a bonus, look for advanced learning options that resonate with your specific interests such as modules on yoga nidra, yoga philosophy (like the yoga sutras), yoga history, yoga anatomy, yin yoga, or restorative yoga.
All of these things will help you get the highest quality online education so you can teach confidently both virtually and in-person.
Live, Interactive Elements
Live, interactive elements are imperative.
In our “new normal”, they’re the equivalent of in-person training and they’ll up the value of your education, keeping you accountable and engaged. You’ll also be able to get your questions answered and receive feedback on your teaching through live feedback, study groups and lectures.
Live, interactive elements of yoga teacher training online are typically offered on a schedule and often with multiple options for different time zones. This comes with a tradeoff: The more live elements a training includes, the less freedom you have to learn at your own pace. However, these live elements are found in all of the best online YTTs because they boost the community motivation and help students commit to what they’re learning.
It’s just like how the best in-person yoga teacher training courses are those with the most contact hours. “Face-to-face” time is a huge value-add for online YTTs.
Look for a training with plenty of live question and answer calls and sessions with breakout rooms where you get to practice teaching with other students. Other modules that are especially helpful to attend live to engage with the material and ask questions include teaching methodology, yoga anatomy, and at least some yoga asana and yoga philosophy. Some hatha yoga and vinyasa yoga schools include yoga therapy modules that are also beneficial to do live.
Access to Training Materials
If you’re going to become a yoga instructor online, it can be helpful to have a deadline for graduation to encourage you to finish the training. But when it comes to the training materials, you’ll want to have lifetime access to the resources and training materials so you have continued support for your personal and teaching journey. Lifetime access is the standard with online YTTs these days, but it is not universal.
Some training programs make certain materials available for a limited time frame to encourage student engagement and to create an exclusive atmosphere around the offering, purely for marketing hype.
The top yoga teacher training certifications will offer a variety of materials, including digital media, the option for printed materials either via mail or an easy-to-print format you can print yourself, pre-recorded video content, live content, and quizzes.
The best yoga teacher training programs will also have their own comprehensive paper manual rather than external material, a downloadable PDF or a reading list.
Track Record with Online Learning
It takes more than you’d think to run a purely online yoga instructor training that transforms students’ lives and prepares them to teach. Many yoga schools that transitioned to offering online courses discovered that the process was like launching a production studio and actually involved more expertise and labor than running live training.
Online yoga teacher training programs need to have their space, audio, and visual equipment on-point for live-sessions, pre-produce professionally edited recorded materials, design and organize an online platform, systematize individual student progress tracking, produce extremely clear digital and/or printed resources aligned with the recorded material, streamline all materials for seamless access without tech issues, ensure that the content and format actually prepare you to teach online and in-person, be available to answer tech and teaching questions and issues…and then on top of this, they need to deliver high quality teaching!
Basically…it takes a lot of staff and many more years of operational experience to run a premium online program versus a live teacher training.
Plus, just as someone can be a great yoga practitioner but not a great yoga teacher, someone who teaches well live might have a pretty mediocre online presence.
So what will set the best online yoga schools apart from the rest?
Experience in the field.
Check the track record of your potential online yoga certification course and make sure they’ve been in the business for awhile. The best Yoga Alliance certified programs have been running trainings for at least a few years and have continued to improve their offerings so that you’re getting the highest quality online education.
The 5 Best Online Yoga Teacher Training Courses for Life After Lockdown
I’ve taken the time to sift through many of the online yoga teacher trainings out there and highlight the best. To make this top five list, I looked at the factors above plus the Yoga Alliance overall school rating, NPS score (basically how likely trainees are to recommend the training to others), the presence of practicum and live, interactive elements, curriculum and material quality, how much it prepares you to teach online, and the accessibility of student support.
1. Brett Larkin’s Uplifted 200-Hour YTT
How it prepares you for the new normal: Established in 2015, the Uplifted Yoga Teacher Training was the first registered yoga school to offer an online yoga teacher certification. The lead teacher and creator of Uplifted, Brett Larkin, is known as a digital pioneer in training online yoga teachers. Talk about online and video production experience? Brett’s been devoted to perfecting online teaching, creating yoga content through her award winning YouTube channel since 2012.
As the leader in the online yoga teaching and training field, Brett gives you the full scoop on teaching in the new normal and shares all of her secrets about social media,entrepreneurship, running a yoga business in the digital age, designing an online presence, filming video content, and developing a killer marketing strategy. She was (literally!) first to this market. So she shares her keys to success on YouTube, how to find your niche, create your yoga brand, style guide, and logo, and how to choose your brand colors and fonts.
Featured experts: Brett Larkin (Lead Teacher Trainer); Kelly McHugh (Yoga Branding, Retreats, Business); Kristen Leal (MetaAnatomy); Tom Myers (Myofascia); Yogiraj Alan Finger; Anodea Judith Ph.D.
Yoga Alliance Approved: Yes
Vibes: Achieve the femme-powered goddess #goals you’ve been dreaming of. Go big as your own boss or achieve a personal transformation. Be ready to look into your soul and stare down what’s holding you back. This online universe supports anyone who is both serious about living their yoga and making a living while doing it. The community is also very inclusive. Brett celebrates the a-typical yoga body and those with injuries flock to her training.
What you won’t learn anywhere else: How to create your own signature meditation practice that works for you and that you can teach your students.How to use myofascial release,and yoga philosophy in your daily life to become the best version of you. How to build your brand and thrive as a yogipreneur authentically in a way that feels good.
2. Akasha Yoga Academy Online Yoga Teacher Training
How it prepares you for the new normal: TheAkasha Yoga Academy 200-hour online yoga teacher training program has a high-tech studio and has been in the media field for many years. They aim to elevate even tech amateurs with best practices and teach them how to avoid technical pitfalls in a relatable, hands-on, down-to-earth way. You will receive audio, lighting, and camera tips and tricks to help you successfully lead online yoga classes.
You will learn how to use Zoom like a pro with multiple device set-up so you can demo while seeing student alignment, how to give alignment feedback when it’s tougher to spot virtually, how to communicate in the context of leading an online class, and more.
Featured experts: Burkhard (Lead Teacher Trainer); Kirsten (Lead Teacher Trainer); Devdas (Lead Teacher Trainer)
Yoga Alliance Approved: Yes
Vibes: Authentic, traditional, breath-based Hatha yoga. Heart-centered lead trainers with depth and embodiment of practice rooted in the Eastern tradition. Be ready to go deep with genuine, uplifting, non-guru spiritual teachers with a commitment to excellence.
What you won’t learn anywhere else: How to use self-knowledge to overcome doubt and fear so you can live from your heart and step into your potential with passion and purpose. How to apply theory and philosophy to your daily life. Understand the power of Bhakti yoga and who you are on a spiritual level.
3. Yoga Farm Ithaca Online Yoga Certification Programs
How it prepares you for the new normal: Yoga Farm Ithaca strives to equip you with the professional skills to teach confidently both in-person and online. Mini-lessons on how to best set up to teach are infused into each of their live classes and pre-recorded workshops. Their “Business of Yoga” module covers topics such as teaching in online formats, the pros and cons of streaming services such as Zoom, Facebook, and Vimeo, using camera, microphones, and lighting, and how to teach well if no one is in the room with you.
Featured experts: Christopher Grant (Lead Educator and Director); Daniela Hess (Lead Educator and Director); Jeannie O’Neill (Lead Educator and Director); Lazarra Leonard (Anatomy, Physiology, Body Mechanics, Sequencing, Alignment); Lynn Fraser (Meditation, Trauma-informed Meditation, Presence Practices, Inquiry); Jaya Lalita (Self-acceptance, Presence Practice, Embodiment, Inquiry); Kim Beekman (Ayurvedic Psychology, Yogic Subtle Body Anatomy, Uncovering Trauma in the Body); Shula Stern (Practice Teaching Evaluation)
Yoga Alliance Approved: Yes
Vibes: A non-profit online teacher training program with a mission: to reduce the epidemics of anxiety, depression, and loneliness through spreading yoga. Welcoming vibes in a community that’s called the “most ‘in-person’ online training”. Be ready to do your own inner work and to step into your power.
What you won’t learn anywhere else: How to cultivate awareness of your own mind, navigate personal challenges, and tend to your tensions so that you can reconnect with your calm center and clear mind. How to fully reap the benefits of yoga’s medicine yourself so that you can share it masterfully with others.
4. YogaRenew 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Certification Online
How it prepares you for the new normal: The YogaRenew 200-hour online yoga teacher training offers several live Zoom calls each week where the teaching team offers insights and answers to student questions such as how to teach yoga online. This Registered Yoga School has an active Facebook group where these types of topics are shared among fellow yoga teachers and after graduation, they offer a collective coaching program that mentors training graduates in the business aspects of being a yoga teacher.
Featured experts: Patrick Franco (Yoga Director); Kate Lombardo (Yoga Director); Morgan S. Gertler (Curriculum Director); Rajaa Azouqa (Curriculum Director); Lindsay Monal (Curriculum Director)
Yoga Alliance Approved: Yes
Vibes: Down-to-earth instructors that you feel like you’ve known your whole life. A positive, friends-and-family community feel. A comprehensive and easy to follow self-paced training that is polished, organized, and thorough with ample resources.
What you won’t learn anywhere else: The nitty-gritty not-so-pretty but important details of teaching yoga. Learn how to write your yoga resume and cover letter, make a liability, client intake, and health history form, get teaching cue flashcards and yoga class playlists, and more. Learn about chakra therapy, how to take your yoga off the mat, and understand your soul’s purpose.
5. Stone Yoga School
How it prepares you for the new normal: In this online yoga teacher training, you will practice teaching online to your peer group and learn new aspects for framing and tech setup in each session. You will have areas of focus for your practice teaching sessions that will help you learn different online teaching skills such as sessions where you will focus on demoing the flow and others where you will practice staying with your students and observing them without demoing.
Lead trainers and mentors also facilitate group discussions and question and answer sessions where topics like how to best teach online can be addressed. As part of your final teaching capstone recording, you will exemplify how to best position your camera, and yourself, and how to get the best audio quality.
Featured experts: Janet Stone (Lead Teacher Trainer); Dr. Sujatha Kekada (Ayurveda); Girish (Bhakti); Harvey Deutch (Physical Therapy and Yoga); Manoj Dias (Mindfulness and Meditation); Mark Haviland (Anatomy of Emotion); Nat Kendall; Shiva Kumar; Sita Devi; Justin Michael Williams
Yoga Alliance Approved: Yes
Vibes: Deep, devotional, and heart-centered traditions translated into a modern context. A yoga immersion container that holds a safe, “brave” space for self-study and exploration. Be ready to stop the drama cycle and bring every part of yourself to the table for healing work.
What you won’t learn anywhere else: How to cultivate a deep sadhana (spiritual practice) to unwind old habits patterns, remember your true, whole nature, discover your soul vision for your life, and align your actions with this highest intention. How to be an excellent teacher by being an excellent student first. Learn what interests you—for your 80 elective hours you can choose from topics such as Ayurveda, chanting, the anatomy of emotion, resilience, energetic alignment, and more.
Closing Thoughts On YTT & The New Normal
Nothing is certain. Ever. Period.
If we didn’t know this before the pandemic, we hopefully do now.
And we can choose to either live in fear because of this or we can choose to accept this truth and move on.
We can also choose to adapt to our new normal and focus on what’s in our control so we can thrive no matter our outer circumstances.
Yoga is one of THE most powerful practices that helps us do exactly that.
That’s why even if you don’t want to teach yoga, becoming a certified yoga instructor can help prepare you for the future by helping you better manage your own state, thoughts, and actions, so you can be resilient and successful no matter what life throws at you.
If your yoga practice helped you through the pandemic and you’re ready to meet this transformative moment, you might be surprised to discover that there are a wide variety of yoga teacher training options available entirely online.
A yoga teacher training program will definitely take you far beyond your typical 60-minute vinyasa practice. It’s a game-changer, folks! Even if you don’t want to become a yoga instructor and teach yoga, a yoga certification will fill your toolbox with body-mind insights and self-regulation strategies that will catapult you on your growth path. And if you’re thinking of becoming a certified yoga instructor, now is a great time. It’s exceptionally accessible thanks to the Yoga Alliance approval of online yoga certification programs. If you decide to take advantage of this opportunity to take a Yoga Alliance approved program at home, do your research and choose the right online training for you that will best help you take ownership of your life and live more vibrantly.
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