Why Online 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training Should Be Banned

How Online 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training Courses Produce Unprofessional Yoga Teachers

There have been many reports that yoga teachers that have taken online 200 hr yoga teacher training courses are teaching below standard yoga classes, and causing people to be put off yoga as a result.  When they’ve taken an online course and not one in person, the teachers do not come across as confident or professional, and some classes have actually been unsafe, and not sequenced properly. Find out why online 200 hr yoga teacher training courses are appropriate for some people, but not for most.

Online courses dismiss an important part of the journey to becoming a yoga teacher, which is getting to meet the teacher face-to-face, and being in their presence.  More important is the teacher getting to meet their students in person, seeing their bodies 360°, and assessing their strengths and limitations.  It is also very difficult to see, and sometimes hear each other properly, when having to stand further away from the camera to see the full body standing up.  And with the online courses, students do not get the experience of adjusting, assisting or physically modifying someone’s yoga pose, a fundamental aspect of being a good yoga teacher, especially with riskier and more challenging poses.

It can also be extremely tedious learning about a very physical subject online instead of in person.  Hours of learning online instead of moving around with each other and experiencing yoga on different terrains, can be very tiring and difficult.  Students tend to avoid putting their hand up to ask questions compared to in person courses, and there tends to be less conversations, debates and of course interaction between the students, and with the teacher.

Another benefit of an in person course, is the relationship created between the students themselves.  They get to know each other, and there’s often a lovely team spirit that’s created from working together.  The students bond over their shared experiences, and their motivation to certify as yoga teachers and bring yoga to others.  In person courses enable them to practice and study together, console each other if negative emotions arise, and look each other in the eyes; something really lacking in this day and age of staring at screens.  The atmosphere and environment that is created and that evolves during in person courses, is a fundamental aspect of the experience.

Online 200 hr yoga teacher training courses also dilute 2 of the most traditional and important concepts in a student’s journey in yoga.  The 1st is satsang (‘sat’ – ‘truth’, ‘sangha’ – ‘company/community’), translated as ‘the gathering of good people to hear truth’.  It can also involve devotional activities, in the sense of devoting yourself to the learning process and practice of, teaching yoga to others.

The 2nd is upanishad (‘sitting down near’) and refers to the practice of sitting with a group of like minded people with similar objectives, to learn from the guru or teacher’s experiences and knowledge.  Therefore with online 200 hr yoga teacher training courses they’re not really in the company of others, or physically part of a community that they can get to know properly, sitting all together having conversations with the teacher.

There are hybrid online 200 hr yoga teacher training courses that have a portion of the course in person.  This is a great compromise because there are areas of anatomy, physiology, yoga history and philosophy, where it is not as important to be in the same room as the teacher.  However when it comes to teaching yoga methodology, sequencing classes, modifying yoga poses for various health issues, and practicing teaching other students on the course, this really needs to be done face-to-face. How are students of an online 200 hr yoga teacher training course getting enough experience teaching others in front of the teacher trainer, when they’re sitting behind a small screen?

This is not to say however, that online 200 hr courses do not suit some students.  It is not the case that every teacher certifying from an online 200 hr course isn’t up to standards.  There are students that have already been teaching yoga for many years but do not have the Yoga Alliance 200 hr certificate, which is a requirement to teach in most studios these days around the world.  Being already proficient in teaching yoga and knowing the theory, an online 200 hr yoga teacher training would suit them as it would be more of a formality.

Lastly I have a personal reason to disagree with online 200 hr courses, which I’m sure is also the case for all other schools giving in-person courses.  The Yoga Alliance started to allow the 200 hr course to be online for the first time during Covid, out of fear that some schools would not be able to survive because of the travel and work restrictions.  Instead the schools which do in-person courses are now running the risk of going under because they can’t compete with the much lower prices of the online courses, even though the Covid restrictions are all over.  So schools maintaining the integrity and structure of good training courses, to produce the best possible yoga teachers, are being negatively affected, and risking going bankrupt.

So if you’re thinking of becoming a yoga teacher, think carefully about what kind of teacher you’d like to be, and how you want to learn the skills to become the best yoga teacher you can be.  What type of course experience is going to make you a really confident and safe yoga teacher?  The online courses may be cheaper, but the investment in a good in person course could make a big difference.

The best source to find registered 200 hr yoga teacher training courses is the Yoga Alliance website. However it will not necessarily tell you whether it is an in person or an online 200 hr yoga teacher training course, but will guarantee that you will be receiving the most internationally valued and demanded certificate.  If you’d like to learn 7 ways you can make your yoga classes more unique click here.


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Charlie Stewart-Brown

Charlie began practicing yoga over 27 years ago as a recommendation for her severe anxiety, and has been teaching for over 15 years to people of all ages and abilities. With over 1300 hrs of training and 22,500 hrs of teaching, she is also the lead trainer on the Indiv Yoga 200 hrs YTT & RCYT Kids Yoga Teacher Training Courses, having certified over 400 students worldwide.  She is the voice of the ‘Yoga and Mindfulness Program’ on British Airways long-haul flights, has spoken at many seminars and corporate workshops, and runs exclusive yoga and meditation retreats during the year.

Originally from London and having worked in New York and Lisbon after her Psychology degree, she has since settled  in Switzerland with her husband, and dedicated her life to expanding her knowledge of the science of yoga, mindful meditation and better physical and mental health.

Over the years Charlie has trained with some of the most renowned yoga teachers around the world (David Swenson, Shiva Rea, Anne-Marie Newland, Leslie Kaminoff, Sadie Nardini, Sonia Sumar etc) certifying in Hatha, Sivanada, Ashtanga, Childrens and Family Yoga, Yoga for the Special Child, & Inner Engineering with Sadhguru. She has become highly respected for her successful work in yoga therapy, especially for Autism, ADHD and other behavioural and developmental syndromes. She has also talked at some of the biggest corporations in Switzerland and the annual SGIS (Swiss Group of International Schools) Conference on implementing Mindfulness in the work place and the education system.

Charlie holds the highest yoga qualifications as an ERYT500 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher), RCYT (Registered Children´s Yoga Teacher), RPYT (Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher) and YCEP (Yoga Continued Education Provider) with the Yoga Alliance, and has developed Indiv Yoga™ to bring a more physiological, therapeutic and individual approach to yoga. Indiv Yoga™ Switzerland is a RYS (registered yoga school) and RCYS (registered children’s yoga school) providing Yoga Alliance teacher training certifications of the highest professional standards.

The focus of Indiv Yoga™ is to provide the benefits of yoga to every type of individual, using its teachings to achieve physical and mental balance, and diminish the anxieties of modern life for adults and children.

Read her online testimonials and qualifications for a feel of her knowledgeable and friendly professionalism.

charlie meditating by lake

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