If you’re interested in teaching yoga, you’ve probably heard about the option to complete a yoga teacher training online by now. Maybe you’ve taken one, maybe you’ve taught one, or maybe you’re still wondering if online yoga certifications are even worth it.

Sure, online yoga training programs and certifications definitely increase accessibility, especially when it’s currently difficult to travel and our lives have become more and more digital. But are online yoga certifications legit? And are they considered respectable enough to land a teaching job at a stellar yoga studio?

After talking to multiple experts, we’re here to give you the good, the bad, and the ugly on online yoga certification programs.

In this article: 

The Pros and Cons of Online Yoga Certifications

The Perks

1. Accessibility

Online yoga certifications are typically more affordable than in-person certifications. Also, you don’t have to take time off of work or spend money on travel expenses

2. Self-paced

Most online certifications allow you to complete your training in a prolonged amount of time, so you can plan your classes around your own schedule

3. Access to content later

Most certification programs will allow you to review your lectures, discussions, or other classes at a later date, or even give you lifetime access

Problems with Online Yoga Courses:

1. No in-person adjustments

Improving the physical postures comes from small adjustments and hands-on correction, which will be missing from online certifications

2. Self-reliance

If you’re not highly self-motivated, self-paced and online-only programs might be more difficult if it’s tough to hold yourself accountable

3. No face-to-face interaction

You may feel like you’re missing out on the experience of in-person YTT, creating those relationships, and meeting new people

What should I consider when choosing an online yoga teacher training?

So you think the pros outweigh the cons, but how do you pick the best yoga certification? Here are nine things to consider:

  • Is it approved by the Yoga Alliance? Some institutions choose not to be affiliated with the YA, so it’s a personal decision whether that matters to you or not. Do some research about those implications!
  • Is the training reputable? Check out reviews, talk to someone else who’s taken it, and see how long it’s been around for
  • Are there opportunities for video calls, or is every aspect of the training pre-recorded? Pick the format that works best for you!
  • Does the training cover human anatomy, care, and injury prevention? If not, keep looking
  • Do your values align with the values of the instructors? If not, this might not be the best option for you
  • Are you actually getting permission to teach the yoga style you want, afterwards? If not, it’s probably a workshop or continuing education class that you won’t want to start with
  • What learning materials are included in the YTT package? Double-check to see if you have to spend additional money on workbooks, or if they’re provided for you
  • How much is it? Don’t sacrifice quality or experience for price
  • Is there an exam at the end? Nobody likes exams, but it’ll definitely help you feel prepared, and prove you’re ready
  • Which certification are they offering? If you’ve already taken a 200-hour training, you can look into taking a 300-hour certification. Check out some of the differences between the 200-, 300- and 500-hour YTT programs

10 of the Top Online Yoga Certifications (200-Hour)Based on the checklist above, here are 10 of the top 200-hour online yoga certifications:

We used the checklist above to select 10 programs worth considering if you’re leaning toward trying online yoga teacher training. We took accessibility, format, and current reviews into consideration! A few were even recommended by the yoga experts we interviewed (see the next section for more of their thoughts!) Each of these is a 200-hour program, for those who haven’t taken a teacher training previously, but some offer 300-hour or 500-hour as well.

Combination of self-paced + live sessions:

1. Sadhana Virtual Training Immersion with Janet Stone

Janet Stone, yoga teacher based in San Francisco, CA

Format: Combination of self-paced + live Zoom classes

Price: $2,388 (with a sliding scale and scholarship options available)

Yoga Alliance Certified: Yes

Length of time: 10 months (including a 2-month break)

Type: Vinyasa + Bhakti 

2. Love Story Yoga

Stephanie Snyder, one of the Love Story Teacher Training Yoga Instructors

Format: Live sessions with recordings available

Price: $2,900 – $3,200

Yoga Alliance Certified: Yes

Length of time: 13 extended weekends across 7 months

Type: Vinyasa

3. Yoga International

Format: Combination of self-paced + live Zoom classes

Price: $2,119

Yoga Alliance Certified: Yes

Length of time: 4 months

Type: Hatha 

4. Yoga Tree

Format: Live sessions with recordings available

Price: $2,950 – $3,350

Yoga Alliance Certified: Yes

Length of time: 6 week intensive or 4-month weekend

Type: Hatha + Vinyasa

5. iyaKIN

Abiola Akanni, Founder and Lead Facilitator of Iya Kin

Format: Combination of self-paced + live Zoom classes

Price: $2,999

Yoga Alliance Certified: No

Length of time: 2 months

Type: Hatha + Hatha

6. Awakening Yoga Academy

Format: Combination of self-paced and live sessions

Price: $2,900 – $3,200

Yoga Alliance Certified: Yes

Length of time: 8 weeks – 6 months

Type: Vinyasa

7. My Vinyasa

Format: Combination of self-paced + live weekend lectures

Price: $750 (currently 50% off)

Yoga Alliance Certified: Yes

Length of time: self-paced, but the content mirrors their in-person training, which takes place for 10 weekends over the course of five months

Type: Vinyasa

8. East + West Yoga

Format: All live classes with an in-person option

Price: $1,750

Yoga Alliance Certified: Yes

Length of time: 10 weeks

Type: Vinyasa + Hatha

Self-paced:

9. Connect 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training with Davina Davidson

Davina Davidson, founder of Connect 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training

Format: Self-paced

Price: $499 + $49 for exams

Yoga Alliance Certified: No

Length of time: 200 hours, self-paced

Type: Vinyasa

10. Siddhi Yoga

Format: Combination of self-paced + one-on-ones

Price: $397-$495

Yoga Alliance Certified: Yes

Length of time: 200 hours, self-paced

Type: Bhakti & Vinyasa

Finally, is online yoga teacher training worth it, according to experts?

Short answer: it depends.

Long answer: Online YTTs can be done well and correctly, but you have to find the right one for you. Given that they range in price from $400-$3,400, some are completely live to completely self-paced, and some take eight weeks while some take 10 months to complete, it’s a decision that only you can make for your lifestyle.

Overall, online yoga certifications do provide flexibility and are more accessible based on time commitment, cost, and location. On the flip side, you may miss out on some of those connections and in-person adjustments. While ultimately deciding whether online yoga teacher training is a good idea comes down to your needs and goals, we took it to the experts. Here’s what four yoga professionals had to say: 

Online Yoga Teacher Trainings Are As Good As Who Runs Them 

“I believe that the outcome of an online yoga teacher training is largely connected to the quality of that training. And yes, I do believe that an online training can be done well…I do not feel that a teacher training provided entirely through pre-recorded video with zero interaction, support or checks would be adequate. I do feel though that there are many teachers, who have gone above and beyond to ensure that our programs are of a high quality with ample support…” Stefani Wilton, owner of Mandorla Yoga Institute 

Online Yoga Certification Programs Are a Great Option for Those Living Outside Urban Centers 

“Millions of people don’t live in large urban yoga friendly centers, and millions don’t have the luxury of traveling either. Small towns want and need good instructors just as much as big cities, and this is one way they can get them. Quality matters, but I’m all for [online yoga teacher trainings,” Helen Stutchbury, owner of The Yoga You Need

The Lack of Human Connection is a Concern, Especially for Those Who Have Never Taken In-Person Programs Before

“There’s a challenge in the growth with human connection that I don’t feel that I personally could get through a computer screen.  I would consider it for a continuing education though with a teacher I was really inspired by, but even with that, you’re still missing the in-person connection with the teacher.  If you want to be an online yoga teacher and teach through a microphone, online YTT’s seem great, but if you’re an in-person teacher, you probably want an in-person training,” Casey Lutz, Yoga Instructor at Your Yoga

In-Person Yoga Teacher Trainings Provide Focus and Community — Things That Are Much Harder to Get Online

“The biggest take away from me was a comment about how it was easier to learn yoga at a studio that is clean and smells nice and has no distractions, but more important to learn yoga within the mess of your own house and all the chaos that was spring of 2020. We also found community! It was really amazing that through the program content, reflection, meditation and practicum teaching in the breakout rooms, true friendships formed,” Claire Louise, owner of Yoga Truly 

Like most fitness certification programs, there’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach for yoga certifications. Taking your classes online can certainly come with challenges of their own, or they can make certain aspects easier. But don’t write off online yoga teacher training if it’s the best path to reach your goals!