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Last updated on September 26th, 2023.

Yoga as a practice and a niche has grown immensely over the years, and more people are looking to partake in YTT (yoga teacher training) courses to advance in their practice and be teachers. Even though it’s not essential to have a yoga teacher training certification to teach yoga, it is still best to have it in case you’d like to consider being a yoga teacher formally. Most studios expect you to have a YTT certification before they can give you the chance to teach. The question remains whether you prefer to do your YTT online or in person. 

Since the practice of yoga has grown, YTT courses have also become popular especially online YTT. Whether you’d prefer to do online teacher training or in-person is up to you. Online teacher training is suitable for anyone with other duties who still wants to earn that certification. But we can’t ignore that in-person teacher training is life-changing. To decide whether online teacher training is worth it, you must determine what you want and if those needs are met. Online teacher training will deepen your knowledge and practice, improve your alignment, and help you train others. 

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What does it take to become a yoga teacher?

Anyone and that means absolutely anyone, can train to become a yoga teacher. Even though practicing yoga and taking a YTT course will make you a yoga teacher, that will only be on paper. To become a yoga teacher, you must be good at cuing and compassion. With practice, anyone can be good at all those aesthetic yoga poses, but not everyone can tell yoga students what to do with their bodies during yoga practice, and they’ll understand. Teaching yoga doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and that’s okay because that’s why there exists YTT to help you learn how to teach if you’re already good at yoga practice and are passionate about sharing it with others. 

Before Yoga Alliance was created to help ensure all yoga teachers learn the same ethics and fundamentals, there used to be yoga teachers who were good at their job. Also, this goes to show that anyone can become a yoga teacher. You only need a Yoga Alliance certification because there are certain fundamentals you can only learn in YTT. If you want to help your students truly, you will sign up for a YTT where you’ll learn how to prevent injuries, attain flexibility, and learn pranayama and meditation. Once you combine your passion for teaching yoga with a YTT course, then every student will be safe in your hands, and you can help them deepen their spiritual journey. 

Is doing an online teacher training program legit?

Since you can easily find online teacher training, this has its own drawbacks since there are many scammy online yoga courses too. The main idea behind traveling worldwide to attend YTTs was to have a life-changing experience. Online teacher training should also offer the same. There are simple ways to determine whether the course you’re taking is a scam or not. 

The first rule of thumb in online YTT is ensuring the hours match the course you’re looking for. For example, if you’re getting started on your RYT 200, you must ensure that the course syllabus covers all those 200 hours. You’d not be a RYT 200 if you didn’t study for those hours. Shorter courses tend to have less material that is helpful to you but not enough to certify you.  

Before starting online yoga teacher training, you must know your teacher. If you’ve come across a teacher training that’s not specifying who’s going to teach but just dumping videos and DVDs on you to watch, that’s not legit. All legit teacher training clearly mentions who the teacher is and even gives you a glimpse of what’s waiting on the other end. It’s nice to know your instructor’s tone and teaching style because it’s what you’ll adapt to before you find your own style. Most instructors have videos where you can clearly see their teaching style and decide whether it’s something you want to get into or not. 

Most legit courses are also registered with Yoga Alliance. You’ll find that the institution offering you the online teacher training course is registered with Yoga Alliance, which shows how legit they are. All legit courses also have an exam at the end of your curriculum where passing determines whether you’ll get your certification or not. 

Online Vs. In-person teacher training and what to expect

Online and in-person teacher training have their differences, and each has its own benefits. We’ll look at each individually so you can get a clear picture when you decide which one to go with. 

Online teacher training is perfect for those with a busy schedule. A considerable time commitment comes with enrolling for YTT, and online teacher training helps those who don’t have the time by making learning flexible. Online teacher training is also relatively cheap compared to in-person. Past yoga teachers can attest that taking different yoga certifications meant spending thousands of dollars on many things, including accommodation and transport. But now that courses are online, even the institution has reduced its expenses, which reflects in the course price. 

Online teacher training also provides this opportunity to a diverse global community. In the past, one would attend a local yoga studio for months to earn their certification or travel to a destination for immersive training, but that’s no longer the case. Anyone anywhere can sign up for a YTT and get certified. Unlike in-person training, online YTT also creates a closer relationship with the instructor. Let’s say you attend a YTT with many other students. It gets hard to talk to your instructor because there are many of you. Also, some people get really uncomfortable in a room full of people, which is what happens in in-person YTT. You can check out these online yoga teacher training certification programs if you’re more interested. 

In-person yoga teacher training has been around for years, and for a good reason. Even though online teacher training has become rampant, there will always be room for in-person teacher training. There’s support, community, focus, and discipline when you attend yoga teacher training. In yoga seminars, you’ll find that there’s a specific routine that everyone follows and adheres to during the entirety of their time there. Because of such discipline and routine, it’s easy to focus on the course along with other students like you. You also get to be amongst a community of like-minded individuals. Most yoga teachers met their best friends or even friend groups in these YTTs. Recreating the same online community, discipline, and focus can be very hard. 

In-person teacher training has such vibrancy and depth that it’s pretty hard to get in online teacher training. In-person training helps a student gain more in-depth knowledge than non-virtual training. There is also the benefit of getting guidance from your yoga teacher when you’re in an in-person class. The teacher may not personally guide you, but even observing them guide another student will help you adjust your posture and do your asana better. An in-person teacher training is life-changing because you can adjust your routine, diet, and habits to accommodate your training. Such commitment changes a person. If you’re browsing for in-person teacher training, you can check out the best in-person yoga teacher training in the world. 

What does an online program typically look like?

Typically, you’ll get the course outline with all the topics and sub-topics that the course will cover. You will also join a private online group (mainly Facebook) where you can interact with your instructors and other students taking the same course as you. Most online programs also have weekly live video calls where students and teachers can interact and work hand-in-hand. After completing the online course, you should expect to have an exam, and upon passing, you’ll get your certification. 

How long does it take to become certified to teach yoga?

Usually, it can take somewhere from less than a month to over a year to get certified. Attending a yoga studio near you for a course could take around three months to complete your learning. But when you take an intensive course, it could take a month or less. Most intensive requires total immersion, which means you’ll pack your bags and travel to the location where you’ll do yoga for most of the day. 

However, online yoga courses can take upto a year to complete because each individual learns at their own pace. So, depending on the method of learning you’re taking, it’s the one thing that will highly determine how long you get certified. 

What should I know before beginning a yoga teacher training program?

Now that you’re really preparing for YTT, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before your course begins. 

  • Create a routine: During your YTT, you’ll have to change up your routine to create space for it totally, so you may as well add yoga, meditation, and pranayama practice to your daily routine. Doing so will help you easily transition into teacher training. 
  • Practice beginner poses: Although you don’t need any prior experience in yoga to go for teacher training, knowing basic poses like Mountain Pose, Downward Dog, Warrior, and Plank will help you easily practice with others and know what to do. 
  • Form a support system in your private life: Even though during your YTT you’ll meet amazing people who’ll support you, it’s necessary to have this support in your personal life. Ensure someone or people know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. YTT is very intensive, and sometimes you may lose your motivation, and these people will help remind you. 
  • Check out the course material: Going through the coursework and knowing what to expect will help you easily digest the material you’re taught. 
  • Create time for self-reflection and journaling: Since you’re embarking on this journey, self-reflection and journaling will help you set an intention and check in with yourself daily.

Final thoughts

Yoga teacher training, whether online or in-person, is such a significant commitment. Before making such a commitment, you need to ensure you know what to expect and also choose a teacher training method that works for you. This could be online or in-person. Whatever you choose, you won’t regret embarking on such a unique and life-changing journey. You can check out these online teacher training reviews as you contemplate joining a yoga school. 

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