Online Yoga Teacher Training: Learn More About Online Yoga Training and Certification

Article by Lucas Rockwood
February 18, 2022

Are you considering a 200hr Online Yoga Teacher Training Yoga Alliance Course? Are you wondering if online training actually works and if anyone will hire you as a yoga teacher?

Before I share the good, the bad, and the complexities of remote yoga teacher training (YTT), it’s important to understand my perspective as an online yoga teacher. I’ve been teaching yoga since 2003, I’ve owned and operated four yoga studios in two countries, and I’ve certified over 21,000 professional yoga teachers. I teach and train both online and offline, and I’ve been in the yoga industry for decades.

The good news is that online yoga education allows for deeper learning, expanded curriculum, lower tuition, and greater access to the training course. Finally, getting access to the best teacher training is no longer limited to exclusive yoga retreats in Bali, high-end London, or New York City. An online yoga instructor course eliminates the need to travel, and everyone now has access to pursue their practice further by taking their yoga teacher training online.

Here's the bad news about online teacher trainings. Over 90 percent of online yoga teacher training courses are simply a hard drive full of course videos and PDF files that you are meant to go through and read all by your lonesome self and somehow come out the other end as a yoga teacher. To make matters worse, most of these YTT courses are taught by opportunist business people, not by lifelong, career yoga teachers.

If you’ve never studied online, it is a unique training experience. For many, the complexities of online yoga certification enhance the journey to becoming a yoga teacher. The biggest difference seen in online training courses is diversity: background, age, demographics, and culture. If you join a yoga training in Santa Monica, the trainees will mostly fit a specific profile. Online, there is no typical yoga student; they are literally representative of all types of people from all over the world. But everyone has the same goal of learning yoga and becoming a teacher. Contrary to popular thought, online training also makes it impossible to hide in the back of the class. Everyone is given equal attention and meritocracy rules throughout the course. Lately, when you’re online, there are new tools and techniques you’ll need to learn to be successful with your yoga teacher training. You’ll be forced outside your comfort zone and that leads to both personal growth and professional development as a yoga teacher.

THE GOOD: Top 10% of Online Yoga Teacher Training Courses

  • Training is live, interactive, and in real time
  • Videos and PDFs are important supporting materials, not the main course content
  • Curriculum is more in-depth than the yoga course would be possible in person
  • Trainers are lifelong, career teachers who earn their living as teachers
  • Team of instructors (rather than just one teacher) offers more support and diversity of teaching voices
  • Live sessions and calls happen daily during the course
  • Real-time community in private online support groups
  • Personalized practice and teaching notes throughout the online course
  • Teaching assessment with strict yoga teacher certification requirements
  • Strong online yoga teacher and alumni community
  • Extensive business and marketing tools and support
  • 80 percent or more of graduates teach yoga professionally

THE BAD: *Most* Online Yoga Training Courses

  • Often, online yoga teacher trainings consists of nothing more than videos to watch and PDFs to read
  • Trainers are often very junior and have never earned a living as a yoga teacher
  • No live calls practice, support, or mentorship
  • No community, no peer group, or no yoga retreats
  • Everyone who pays is given a yoga teacher certification
  • No assessment, feedback, or course learning objectives
  • Less than 15 percent of “graduates” go on to teach yoga professionally

THE COMPLEX: Uniqueness of Online Yoga Training Courses

  • Online yoga teacher training courses tend to have greater diversity including new cultures, new accents, and different perspectives
  • Online yoga courses will push you further outside your comfort zone than typical in-person yoga class experiences
  • Online yoga certification courses involve new tools, new techniques, and new ideas—this is the cutting edge of the yoga industry, and often, this means rethinking old ways
  • Online training makes it impossible to hide in the back of the class; everyone gets equal time and attention from the course yoga teacher

Frequently Asked Questions – Online Yoga Teacher Training

Q: Does Yoga Alliance allow for online only yoga teacher training courses?

A: Yes, the Yoga Alliance made a special approval in 2020 during the pandemic for online yoga instructor certification, and it allowed so many more people access to teachers and training that it has now been extended indefinitely. Online teacher training democratizes access to high-level yoga education. By increasing the availability of yoga courses, it allows more people to receive their yoga teacher certificate.

Q: Will studios and gyms hire yoga teachers with online certificates?

A: Yes, assuming you graduate from a good yoga instructor training course. The sad fact is that most yoga teacher training courses, whether online or in person, do not prepare trainees for the real world. Most yoga certification courses are designed for personal growth and practice experience—not professional yoga training. At a good online YTT course, whether online or in-person, you’ll have the skills, confidence, practice, and experience required to teach yoga professionally, and your yoga expertise will be obvious to any employer.

Q: My yoga teacher said online yoga teacher training courses don’t work. Is this true?

A: As we’ve discussed, most online yoga teacher training courses consist of self-serve videos and PDFs. In those cases, your teacher is right because no one learns how to become a yoga teacher that way. What your teacher might not know is that there is a small percentage of online yoga training schools that have completely revolutionized the learning experience, and what they offer in their online yoga school is unparalleled even with in-person yoga intensives. To find out if a yoga school course is successful, search for their graduates and see what they are doing; professionally. From a good online yoga school, you’ll easily find hundreds of active yoga teachers who are leaders in their communities.

Q: Is it safe to learn yoga online?

A: There have been some very silly and uninformed writings about the dangers of yoga published recently, but none of this stands up to even the slightest scrutiny. When it comes to health and fitness, it’s hard to find anything as safe as yoga. I know this because it costs more for me to insure my cell phone each year than it does to insure myself and my entire teaching team for yoga training and practice. Injuries in yoga are mild and rare. Do they happen? Yes, of course. If you’re in-person, can your teacher prevent injuries better than online? Not at all. There are valid concerns with online yoga teacher training; safety is not one of them.

Q: What if I’m not tech savvy?

A: Look at your phone right now. That little gizmo is one of the most powerful computers that has ever existed, and you use it all day, every day. If you’re not tech savvy, you’re doing a good job of faking it. If you can use your phone, you can join an online yoga teacher training course. Will you need to learn to use Zoom, chat groups, and other tools? Yes, but you’re more than capable of learning these tools and taking an online yoga teacher training course. Before you start your online YTT course, you do want to ensure your internet speed is fast enough, which means having at least 20mbps download and 10mbps upload (check speed here). Having fast enough internet will help ensure that your teacher training goes smoothly and that you can get the most out of the certification program.

Q: How can I make real connections with my yoga teachers and fellow students online?

A: In-person courses do have the advantage of seeing others face-to-face, sharing a meal, and experiencing the vibe of a group yoga class. Most in-person training is designed as an intensive, and the yoga course is over before you know it. Online training courses tend to be part-time, longer, more comprehensive, and the good YTT courses are interactive. I’ve trained in-person since 2007 and online since 2017, and I can tell you definitively that there are more friends and long-term connections from my online courses. This comes down to (1) more time to connect, (2) instant link up to social profiles, (3) extensive, sometimes daily, co-working practice, and (4) ongoing chats, calls, and conversations through online chat groups. Plus, a consistent yoga practice gives you more time to connect and form friendships with other yoga training participants.

Q: How will I get feedback on my yoga practice and teaching?

A: In my typical 200hr Online Yoga Teacher Training course, students get detailed written feedback at least 2-3x per week, sometimes more. There are a total of three formal yoga assessments with individualized written and verbal feedback. When it comes to feedback, online is superior because the training team can review in detail classes and give specific feedback to everyone (since sessions are recorded). Additionally, in my online yoga teacher training, we offer bonus sessions, small group work, and even one-on-one help as you become a yoga teacher online.

Q: How much will it cost to become an online yoga teacher?

A: As with anything, there are a wide range of tuition costs and the price at each online yoga school can vary. Many of the video and PDF yoga courses are extremely inexpensive, but as they say, you get what you pay for. The price for top online yoga training courses is comparable to what you’d pay for training at your local studio; but the curriculum, support, and community included in the course should be superior, and the convenience saves you time and money long term. Most yoga courses require you to pay for the course upfront or provide an initial deposit. As with all educational investments, the best way to think about the cost is how long it will take you to recoup your investment once you start working as a teacher. With high-quality yoga certification online, graduates typically earn back their tuition in 2-4 months.

Q: Will my yoga colleagues take me seriously if I trained online?

A: Education has changed. Today, people are engaged in remote learning for everything from MBA and PhD programs to yoga and other vocational training. The stigma around online YTT education ended long ago. The question is not online or offline; the question is whether your yoga teacher training was high caliber. Furthermore, every serious yoga teacher today is enrolled in at least one professional online course per year. Online yoga teacher training has become the norm and can be the perfect program for many people.

Online Yoga Teacher Certification – Questions to Ask

If you’re considering an online yoga teacher training course, here are some questions I’d encourage you to ask the course director or graduates to make sure you enroll in a quality training program.

  • Question #1 - What portion of the yoga certification course is live?
  • Question #2 - Who is teaching the course, and has that person actually had a career teaching yoga?
  • Question #3 - Who are your graduates? Are they teaching yoga? Can you connect me to some past students so I can ask them about their experiences in the training program?
  • Question #4 - Does everyone graduate from the yoga teacher training program? (if the answer is “yes” it’s a red flag)
  • Question #5 - What happens if I’m struggling or need help during the course? Do you offer support?

What are the Downsides of Online Training?

The one big downside of online training is you’re not in the same room as your yoga teacher trainer and other program participants, you cannot chat in the lobby before class, and you cannot go grab a bite to eat after the training session finishes. While none of these things will affect your learning or certification, we are all social beings, and it’s hard to recreate social interactions with online YTT. What is the solution? In my yoga courses, trainees self-organize in-person meetups, yoga trips, retreats, and work exchanges. At YOGABODY, we have monthly online events for alumni and actively organize continuing education training events throughout the world so that after the course, we do have that opportunity to connect in real life at yoga retreats and other events.

Where can I work as a yoga teacher right now?

Yoga has been on a hypergrowth trajectory for over twenty years meaning there are more yoga teaching jobs in more places than ever before. Yoga studios are one obvious option, but there are currently more jobs outside of yoga studios than inside. This includes gyms and fitness centers, schools, corporate wellness, nursing homes, and boutique fitness centers. With your online yoga teacher training and certification, you could even start your own business with your own yoga style.

How much can I earn after taking a yoga teacher training online?

Like all jobs, yoga salaries vary greatly from country to country, city to city; but typical rates start at $25-50 per hour as a yoga teacher and can be two to three times that on the higher end after you have completed yoga teacher training and received your certifications. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yoga teacher earns $40,000/year—for part-time work. According to CNN Money, a yoga teacher is the #10 most desirable job with a median pay (for senior yoga instructors) of $62,400.

How Much Money Can You Earn Completing An Online Yoga Teacher Training Program?

Use the calculator to get an idea of your earning potential as a yoga teacher. Many yoga instructors teach as a side gig, but we have 1000s of graduates who replace their full-time income teaching yoga. With the explosion of online yoga teaching, instructors are earning higher salaries than ever.

"As a graduate, you walk away with the confidence, expertise, and experience needed to get paid like a professional and serve your clients at the highest level. This course is a springboard yoga teaching careers, and that’s why students choose the YOGABODY Teachers College®"

- Lucas Rockwood

How Does Yoga Alliance Work?

Yoga Alliance USA is the top organization in the world for teacher training certifications, but there are similar organizations in multiple countries around the world. Top courses and the best online programs are affiliated with multiple registries and accreditations to give graduates more options for where they want to work as yoga teachers. You can find a variety of Yoga Alliance approved courses online. With all the options available, you are sure to find a training program with a five star rating that fits your needs and budget.

Yoga Alliance Organization At-a-Glance

Top Organizations
Best For
Annual Fees (For Teacher)
Continuing Education Required?
YogaAlliance (USA)
Best For
Most-common certification worldwide
Annual Fees (For Teacher)
Application $50 (1st time) Annual Membership $65
Continuing Education Required?
Yes, 30 hrs/ 3 years
Yoga Alliance Int. (Australia/NZ & Italy)
Best For
Australia & New Zealand Teacher
Annual Fees (For Teacher)
$350 Membership Valid three (3) years.
Continuing Education Required?
No, As of March 2019, we no longer enforce mandatory continuing education activities for yoga teacher to keep their certification current with Yoga Alliance

Do I Need to Be Certified to Teach Yoga?

Since yoga is largely unregulated, you could certainly teach without YTT certification if you had the skills to do so. The biggest hurdle you’d have would be getting jobs at gyms or yoga studios that will require proof of yoga certification. Also, to obtain insurance, you’ll almost certainly need to show a professional yoga certification.

From a career perspective, a high-quality yoga course will up-level your skills and knowledge to immediately justify the investment of time and money, so while I’d support anyone who feels confident to teach to start right now, I’d also always encourage professional training and a teacher training certification.

Phone and Laptop Setup for Online Training

How to teach yoga online? All you need is your phone or your laptop to successfully complete an online yoga teacher training program. But if you want to optimize your home setup and get ready for professional yoga teaching at the same time, here is our recommended setup. Whenever possible, avoid buying expensive, new equipment for your online yoga teacher training. Often, you already have more tech gizmos than you need, so use what you have for your yoga teacher training!

  1. Use your phone as a camera, put it on a tripod or chair
  2. Natural light behind your phone (as the camera)
  3. Laptop as control center-/-gallery view of class
  4. Bluetooth earbuds make it easier to hear and be heard during the calls

Are Online Reviews of Yoga Training Legit?

If you’re looking for online yoga teacher certification courses, you’ll quickly find “top 10” lists and recommendation sites. Unfortunately, most of those are affiliate sites who are paid a commission for recommending people like you to their yoga courses, so you cannot trust their reviews.

To find authentic reviews for courses, go directly to the Yoga Alliance rating systems, Trust Pilot, or even better, contact graduates and ask them directly what they thought of their teacher training certification program.

Time Management for Online Yoga Training

One risk for at-home study is that you can fall behind with your yoga teacher training coursework. Each course has a different duration for teacher training, and it’s often tempting to push all your yoga assignments to the last minute, but this approach will backfire with yoga training. With online yoga courses, the majority are part-time with smaller, daily classes. If possible, try to keep up with the yoga routine and follow the format of the course. The bite-size nature of online training is optimal for learning, and based on educational research, less is more. Most of us learn better through smaller daily assignments rather than intensive hours of work where learning comes quickly but often goes quickly too.

Tips for Time Management During Online YTT:

  • If possible, set up a “yoga space” in your house where you leave your mat, notes, and books.
  • Set aside your daily yoga study and practice time, even if that is an odd hour like early in the morning or late at night.
  • Let your friends and family know what you’re doing and ask them to help you stay on track with your course schedule.
  • Announce your yoga journey on social media to publicly hold yourself accountable
  • If you struggle with motivation and time management, reach out to the yoga training team and ask them for support too.
  • Find a practice partner in the yoga course; learning is much more fun when you’re not completing a yoga program alone.

Online Yoga Certification Curriculum Considerations

Most courses for training yoga teachers have a very similar curriculum outline, but as with any yoga school, how that curriculum is taught varies greatly from program to program. Here are the top learning modules to consider for career-oriented yoga teachers and when choosing the best online program.

  1. Public Speaking

    -If you know everything about yoga, but you can’t speak well, you won’t get very far as a teacher. To teach is to speak, and to speak well will serve you more than almost anything as a yoga teacher.

  2. Teaching Techniques

    -As yoga teachers, the language, gestures, and learning psychology applied are crucial for effective yoga instruction. When done really well, these techniques are nearly invisible, but their effects are remarkable.

  3. Anatomy & Biomechanics

    -The best yoga teachers are lifelong students of the human body. This includes anatomy, biomechanics, alignment, injury, and rehabilitation.

  4. Class Planning & Sequencing

    -Modern teachers have a wide range of ages and abilities in their yoga classes and will need to adapt and modify their classes to meet their students’ needs

  5. Business & Marketing

    -Yoga teachers work for themselves, even when they have a job at a studio. This means that you need to actively guide your work choices, seek out opportunities, and build a yoga career path that is fulfilling and lucrative.

  6. History & Philosophy

    -It’s important to understand where yoga comes from and to separate the mind-body fitness aspects of the practice from the philosophical tradition of yoga. A good yoga teacher training course focuses on both and will help you understand what yoga was, what it is, and where it’s going in the future.

My Online Yoga Training History

I started teaching yoga online in 2007, and it was terrible. I sent PDF documents, jpegs of poses, and endless scrolling emails full of yoga instructions for my students. It was amazing to be able to teach yoga and reach 41 countries from my little, tiny yoga studio on Koh Samui Island, in Thailand. On the other hand, this was not the ideal way to teach yoga—and that was clear for all of us.

When I made the move to video-based classes and mini-training events in 2008, it was a game changer. Suddenly I could walk, talk, demonstrate, and even do creative edits to the yoga videos to enhance the experience. Learning on your own is great, but it was still not enough. By 2010, I started hosting live classes and never looked back.

  • In 2007, I started teaching online with clunky jpegs and PDFs.
  • By 2010, I started hosting monthly masterclasses on nutrition, anatomy, and teaching skills. The software was clunky, and we had lots of technical problems every time.
  • By 2018, we’ve moved to weekly classes that included live video, real-time chat, Q&As, and more.
  • By 2020, internet speeds, technology, and online interest peaked, and suddenly the online class experience established itself as an ideal way to learn yoga.
  • Today, my team and I teach 150-350 students per day in various live and online classes, workshops, calls, retreats and training. As one of the best online training programs, we have a support team of 14 trainers and 4 student services reps, and we’ve taken the online experience to the next level—not just for yoga but for online learning in general. We built software tools, mobile apps, and a suite of tools to make learning yoga fun and easy.

Take the Next Step in Getting Your Teacher Training Certification!

Some of the most rewarding periods of life are the times when we’re able to study something new and learn a skill that will serve us for the rest of our lives. Online yoga training offers a unique opportunity for you to be choosy about who you train with and what type of course you enroll in—so choose wisely! I hope this article has been helpful. Feel free to comment below if you have questions about our yoga program. I wish you the best of luck with your next steps on the path to becoming a yoga teacher.

Links & Resources :

YOGABODY Teachers College 200hr Online Yoga Teacher Training