Top 7 Benefits of Online Yoga Teacher Training

Hello beautiful soul! I’m happy you’re here. I’m guessing that since you’ve stumbled upon this blog post that you’re considering an online YTT and you’re wondering what the benefits of online yoga teacher training are. I don’t want to waste your time, so let’s get right into it.

You can take the course wherever you are and from any device

One of the biggest and maybe most obvious benefits of online yoga teacher training is that they are flexible. You don’t have to give up all of your evenings, weekends, or a month of your life and you’ll still have time to spend with your friends and family. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to convince them to be your yoga student “guinea pigs”.

You can take your course from wherever you are AND from any device… as long as you have an internet or phone connection. If you know you’ll be without internet on your upcoming vacation, and you don’t want to fall behind, you can download any videos you may need and you can call into weekly calls via phone.

Course material hosted online

online yoga teacher training benefits

All your course material is hosted on the web and you can access it anywhere. Yep! No need to lug around tons of books, which means you can keep up with coursework while lounging in a hammock, relaxing on the beach, or cuddled up in your favorite reading nook or cafe.

And finally, you can work at your own pace. Some weeks are simply busier than others and that’s okay. There is no reason to feel shame, guilt, or overwhelm when your attention is needed elsewhere. Study when you have the time. Practice when you have the time. And then touch base weekly with your instructor and peers on live calls and your accountability buddy by text, email, or whatever works best for the two of you.

Online support and accountability

You’ll receive support and feedback on your teaching from your instructor and peers. You’ll learn tips and tricks to refine your teaching skills. You’ll have an opportunity to ask questions and get answers from peers, teachers, and TAs. Weekly calls help you stay on track, while accountability buddies help you with the little daily tasks that keep you moving forward. One-to-one support, mentoring, and coaching is so incredibly helpful. If your training offers one-to-one support I highly encourage you to take advantage of it. And make sure to be prepared with questions and concerns for each of these meetings.

Learning anything new and making life changes is easier in a group, it’s scientifically proven. A great online yoga teacher training will help you hold yourself accountable. Group calls and accountability buddies make it so much easier to stay on pace. If you’re like me, you’ve probably signed up for a fully go-at-your-own-pace course on Udemy or Coursera, you watch the first video or two and then life happens and you never pick up the course again. That’s my M.O. So many courses have gone to the online course graveyard! So that’s why I think it’s so important to include the group work with the independent study. You get a good balance of learning on your own, connecting with peers, and yes, accountability.

Learning that works for YOU

yoga-teacher-training-course-homework

One thing that I love about online yoga teacher training is that it is so flexible and students are empowered to make the course work for them. For myself, I know that I am super productive in the morning or late at night after the rest of the house has gone to bed. These are typically good times for me to create class plans or writing assignments because I’m distraction-free. By late afternoon, I’m usually lower energy and I’m quite happy to sit on my butt, watch a video, and take notes. I modify my schedule and activities to fit my energy levels.

I also love that there is no rush to finish the online content and complete the course… this will be different for each course. I give my students 18 months to complete their 200-hour course material, however, I do encourage them to complete their coursework shortly after the online courses are over, simply so they don’t lose momentum! 

Online yoga teacher training benefits include the much important time for assimilation and integration

Each week another topic and another group of poses is introduced and then you have a week to explore, integrate, and apply what you’ve learned. Access to the course material is available to you even after the course is complete. It’s awesome to not feel rushed! I did my 300-hour yoga teacher training as an intensive course and let me tell you, it was intense! So much information, piled on so much information… I really struggled to retain it all!

Every student is different and some do great in an intensive environment, while others thrive in an environment where they have a bit more time to integrate all the information, ask questions and apply what they’re learning. One benefit of online yoga teacher training is that you really have the time and space to live what you’re learning and integrate the yoga philosophy into all areas of your life… your real everyday life.

Some students learn great through reading, some through listening, some are more visual, some require a more tactile experience, and some thrive in groups or solo study. A great training will accommodate multiple different learning styles. Let’s be honest, none of us want to sit on our butts and watch lecture videos all day long! (okay, well maybe some do)

Progress check-in

Quizzes can be super helpful when you need or want to check your progress and they help bring our awareness to the topics that you need to spend a little more time exploring AND they show you your natural strengths! What have you learned and integrated well? What are you naturally drawn too? So much insight can be gained from these simple little quizzes.

A worldwide yoga community

benefits of online yoga teacher training

One of the great things about doing an in-person training is the sense of community you have, sitting in circle and holding space for one another. Just because we’re online doesn’t mean we can’t connect and hold space for one another! Weekly calls, the private Facebook group, and small group projects can really help you connect with your fellow trainees. And when you’re traveling to California or Europe or wherever… you can meet up with fellow trainees, take each other’s classes, go on a local hike, and share your favorite local restaurants.

Technology has improved so much!

Technology has improved so much in the past five or ten years and has really made online yoga teacher training a possibility, a viable and awesome possibility. With resources like Zoom, Thinkific, Facebook groups, Google drive and all the other resources out there, we’re able to connect and learn in a new and fun way. Literally, you can do your online yoga teacher training from your Iphone!

You can still learn how to teach to different bodies in an online setting. You can still learn how to “read” bodies and energy in an online setting. You can still learn to weave yoga philosophy into your classes. You’ll still be an effective teacher and leader, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Our second to last benefit of online yoga teacher training: It’s AFFORDABLE!

Another benefit of online yoga teacher training is that it is typically more affordable than an in-person training because the teacher’s expenses are reduced and that savings gets passed on to you. All of the extra expenses that come with an in-person yoga teacher training are removed from the equation; expenses like travel, accommodation, and parking don’t apply anymore. Not only that, but you don’t have to give up your job for three weeks and lose out on income! You don’t have to hire a nanny to watch the kiddos or pay a dog sitter to watch your pooch.

online yoga teacher training benefits

And finally, it’s good for the earth

Yep! If you follow us on Instagram, you know that we love getting outside as much as we love practicing yoga. We love this life-giving planet so much, which is why we LOVE how eco-friendly online yoga teacher training is. No driving! No flying! No need to order take-out or eat pre-packaged food because you only have an hour for lunch. No need to order a huge stack of books because most of them are available on kindle or used. You can even keep your manual as a digital copy instead of printing it!

You can train exactly where you are. Listen to calls while hiking on a local trail or watch a YTT video while you make dinner. It’s awesome! Let’s keep this planet beautiful for generations to come. We’re practicing the yogic principle of ahimsa, or non-harming, by taking our training online.

benefits of online yoga teacher training

Whether you choose to train online or in-person, it’s important to make sure the course is right for you! It doesn’t really matter what other people think. Take time to get quiet and clear about what is important to you. Then do your research and find the course that fits your needs. If you’re wondering if training online is worth it, check out this blog post. If you’re not sure what course you should take, check out this blog post that is packed full of questions to ask the instructor(s) before handing over your hard-earned cash. Reach out if you need help! I’m always happy to answer your questions. Did I miss any benefits of online yoga teacher training? Please share in the comments below. <3

Love and Light,

Autumn

A Mudra for Love: Abhaya Hridaya

I haven’t been writing much recently. Primarily because I’ve been weighed down by the collective pain and sadness of living in this time of Covid, systemic racism and injustice, and a struggling economy. I’ve simply grown weary. My natural reaction is to run away, to hide, to escape, but I’m making the conscious decision to sit with the pain, the trauma and the fear.

As I sit, I am reminded by the words of a fellow yoga teacher, wise beyond her years, to “love for love’s sake.” And so today, I sit, I use my tools, and I choose to love for love’s sake. Here I will share one of my favorite mudras, the shape of it is stunning, but even more importantly, it is a mudra for a fearless heart and a mudra for love in all its forms.

If you’re just beginning a mudra practice, make sure to check out all the mudras on my website (there are tons). The Chopra website also has a great roundup of beginner mudras.

mudra for love, abhaya hridaya, mudra for fearless love

What Does Abhaya Hridaya Mudra Mean?

  • Abhaya: without fear
  • Hridaya: spiritual heart
  • Mudra: seal

If you look at the roots of hridaya, the meaning goes even deeper. Hri “to give”, da “to take”, ya “balance” and can be translated as “that which gives and takes in perfect balance”. A perfect balance of giving and receiving, of mutual balance, respect, and reciprocity. Have we forgotten how to love through the uncomfortable and the ugly. Let’s relearn love and put love into action.

How to Practice Abhaya Hridaya, A Mudra for Love

With your wrists crossed, bring the backs of your hands to touch in front of your heart space. Interlace your pinky, ring and middle fingers. Then bring the tips of your index finger and thumb to touch and create a circle shape.

Benefits of Abhaya Hridaya Mudra

This mudra helps work with the third and fourth chakras, Manipura and Anahata, respectively. The list of benefits of this mudra goes on and on. It helps us

  • release stress
  • love fearlessly through the uncomfortable and messy
  • cultivate the courage to stand up for what is right
  • heal from past trauma and balance strong emotions, so we can see clearly
  • embrace our inner truth
  • bring clarity to our values
  • invite love into all parts of our being
  • see the unity and interconnection of all beings
hand mudra for fearless love, love mudra, abhaya hridaya mudra

A Meditation to Practice With This Mudra For Love

I would like to share a meditation based on a meditation practice from my book, The Little Book of Mudra Meditations. I simply call it the Fearless Love Meditation. It is loosely based on Metta meditation or loving-kindness meditation.

To begin, find a comfortable space to sit quietly. Make sure that it is a space you feel safe and supported in, whether that’s your patio, your bedroom, or perhaps your bathroom. I like to practice this meditation in an upright seat, but feel free to practice it lying down or in any other posture that feels nurturing (and non-distracting).

Once you find your meditation posture, soften your gaze or close down your eyes and take a few cleansing, clearing breaths by breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. With each exhale breath, see if you can let go of any worry or stress from your day.

Bring your hands into Abhaya Hridaya Mudra. If at any point your shoulders, arms or hands feel fatigued, release the mudra and come back into it when you feel ready.

Opening to love

Now, “imagine someone who radiates love, who loves you unconditionally, sitting right in front of you. This person could be a parent, friend, child, pet, teacher, or guru” or god/deity. “Now imagine a bright white light flowing from their heart to your heart. This radiant light fills your heart with unconditional love. Your heart is filled with love that knows no bounds. Release any resistance to receiving this love. You are worthy of love.”

“Feel a weight lifted off your shoulders.” Feel unconditional love pour into every cell of your being. Feel tension release from your face — your brows, your jaw, your tongue. Now bring your awareness to the luminous cavern of your heart space and feel your heart soften as it is bathed in luminous, radiant love.

We cannot pour from an empty cup, fearless love begins with loving yourself first and the inner knowing that you are worthy of love, so again release any resistance you may be holding on to.

Abundant love for all

With your eyes still closed, hold the vision of another in front of you, this person again could be a loved one, a person who challenges you, a group of people, there is no limit. Hold their image steady in your awareness.

Now see the luminous light of fearless love flowing from your heart space right into theirs. As the cavern of their heart space fills with this radiant white light, witness stress, worry and fear release from their face, their neck, their shoulders. See their shoulders soften as the weight of sorrow, anger, and fear is lifted. Witness the space of their heart soften. Listen quietly as peace fills every fiber of their being. Witness them soften into love.

Hold the images of these light, love-filled beings in your heart space. Practice for as long as you would like. When you’re ready, open your eyes and begin the mindful transition out of your meditation practice.

This post meditative space is fertile ground for journaling and putting love into action.

abhaya hridaya mudra for fearless love

Navigating Kapha Season: Balancing Kapha Dosha During Kapha Season

For the entirety of my adult life, I’ve always felt the call to escape winter’s cold. The shorter, cold, wet/snowy days have never been my thing. I end up feeling foggy, heavy, lethargic, and unmotivated… which just snowballs into more of the same. So each year, I’ve packed up and headed south to Bali or Nicaragua or Mexico or Costa Rica or Thailand. The destination hasn’t always been important, but the heat and the warmth sure have. I’ve learned that if I take the time to listen to the wisdom of my body it will guide me back into balance. My body naturally wants to balance kapha dosha, even during kapha season. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, hop on over to this blog post that talks about the basics of Ayurveda and dosha theory.

Now that we’re on the road, traveling in the RV we seem to be chasing warmer weather, much the same as I have always done, but at a slower pace. We’ve experienced all of nature’s beautiful fury… from giant storms on the Oregon Coast, to monsoon rains in the Redwoods, to snow in Joshua Tree. We’ve experienced her wonder and beauty too… seal pups playing in a calm cove in Florence, the majestic energy of the Redwoods, the first signs of spring in Santa Barbara, hiking on “new to me” trails to discover hidden gems, exploring new cities and visiting familiar ones, and the warmth of the sun on my skin.

This afternoon I’ll throw my yoga mat down in the dust and sand of Joshua Tree N.P. and flow with the sun on my skin and savor every moment.

This is the season of kapha dosha… from the darkness of winter to early spring, soon we’ll begin to transition into pitta and the heat of summer, but for now, we’ll work on balancing kapha dosha. I find this time of the season to be the hardest to navigate, but with the pitta season right around the corner, it’s also exciting. It’s time to shake off the weightiness of winter and invite my energy to return.

Kapha dosha is associated with the elements of earth and water. When it’s in balance, the kapha person is loving, loyal, stable and dependable, but when kapha is out of wack and excessive they can be prone to lethargy, weight gain, and dullness (I’m just going to go ahead and raise my hand here). In Ayurveda, they use opposite qualities to bring balance to the out of balance dosha. If you’re in a season of excess kapha, you would want to incorporate dynamic movement and light, dry, and warming foods and spices into your day.

This time of year, I naturally want to stay inside, eat soup, and cuddle under a giant pile of blankets because I crave the warmth. But as we know, kapha creates more kapha, and I need to move. This winter I took the plunge and signed up for classpass, so I could, gasp, go to CorePower and take a hot yoga class… don’t judge me! While there is no spiritual aspect to a CorePower class there is heat and it does get the blood flowing, which is exactly what I need this time of year. I can weave my meditation practice and spiritual practices into other parts of my day OR invite my yoga practice to be a moving meditation.

Your Guide to Navigating Kapha Season

If you’re also feeling bogged down by kapha, here are my favorite practices to shake off the excess. And if you’re not sure what your dosha is, I really like this dosha quiz from Banyan Botanicals.

1. MOVE YOUR BODY

Yes, you’ve got to move your body. More than you’re naturally inclined to this season. This is the season where we walk the fine line between restoration and rest and doing and building. Do a more strenuous activity… hot yoga or a dynamic vinyasa practice, hop on the stair climber at the gym, do that challenging hike you’ve been eye-balling, but you think is just a little too long/too hard, take up skiing or mountain biking, etc. Do something that gets your heart pumping and blood flowing to clear out stagnation. It will help lift the mental fog while keeping your energy levels up.

If you’re practicing yoga at home, or wondering what type of studio class to seek, a practice to balance kapha dosha would include dynamic movement, lots of standing poses, and perhaps some heating pranayama techniques like kapalabhati, ujjayi, or surya bhedana (solar breath). If you prefer a guided practice at home, check out this dynamic, energy building prana vayu class on my YouTube channel.

kapha season yoga practice

2. TAKE TIME TO SLOW DOWN

This is a natural season for slowing down and laying the foundation for the season ahead, so take this time to meditate, create, learn new skills, clear out clutter, and set yourself up for success. Because when you feel the shift in energy you’re going to want to do it all. But don’t let this time for slowing down take over your life. Just a few minutes a day is enough.

ayurveda doshas spices

3. EAT WARMING SPICES

Think cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cayenne, and cloves. Drink hot chai, golden mylk, and warm water with lemon and cayenne. 

4. EAT WARM FOODS

If you’re feeling chilled, eat warm food that’s easy to digest like hot soups, sauteed or roasted veggies and stirfries. Avoid heavier foods, like dairy, nuts, and fats (it’s so hard to cut back on avocado). If your digestive fire is still going strong, and spring is near, feel free to start incorporating more raw veggies and salads in your diet.

5. GET OUTSIDE

This is tricky, especially if you’re like me and HATE being cold. I will do almost anything to avoid being cold! LOL. But when the sun is out, get your booty outside and get those sweet rays of Vitamin D on your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun on your cheeks… in moderation, of course, no sunburns! Enjoy a cup of coffee in the sunshine, go for a walk/hike, or take a few moments to stretch it out.

april-2018-yoga-surf-retreat-nicaragua

6. CAN’T TAKE THE COLD AND WET OF KAPHA SEASON? TRAVEL SOMEWHERE WARM

If you have the means, take a few days, a weekend, a week, or a month and go somewhere warm! Seriously, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Take a weekend in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs (there are tons of hot spring resorts here) or Sedona. Take a long weekend and go to Mexico. Have more time? Head further south… Nicaragua has amazing beaches, jungles, and islands… and it’s freakin cheap, same with Thailand. Just do it. You’re worth it. It will give you something to look forward to and will maybe even motivate you to keep moving your body throughout the winter.

7. SELF-CARE

There are so many ways that we can practice self-care and I know that the ones I’m about to mention aren’t that exciting, but they’re easy to include in your daily (or weekly) routine and have big results.

Give dry brushing a try… it helps improve circulation and you’re exfoliating your beautiful skin. It’s a win-win. You can find dry brushes at most health food stores. I’m on the road and I don’t have space for a dry brush, so I use a shower loofah that has a loofah scrubber on one side and the mesh side for soapy tasks… it works double duty for me. You can also find dry brushing gloves. Just a few minutes before you hop in the shower is enough.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE self-massage or abhyanga. Use a warming oil like sesame and set aside 15 minutes to give your body and nervous system a little TLC. Put an old towel down on the bathroom floor, strip down and give your entire body a massage. Use long strokes on your long bones and circles on your joints. This practice is super calming for the nervous system and such a beautiful way to practice self-love.

Kapha’s tend to be more mucus-y and prone to colds/congestion, so tongue scraping is another practice I recommend for kaphas and especially during this cooler kapha season. With tongue scraping, you’ll scrape off all that extra gunk that’s hanging out on your tongue. I use a copper one that I found for a steal on Amazon.

Wow, I know I just shared a lot of info here. If you want to learn more about Yoga and Ayurveda, check out my upcoming 300 hour yoga teacher training. You’ll learn how to incorporate Ayurvedic theory into your class planning for specific doshas, the different seasons, times of day and even seasons of life.

You Can Preorder The Little Book of Mudra Meditations Now

Hey beautiful yogis! I’m so ridiculously excited to announce that my book The Little Book of Mudra Meditations: 30 hand Gestures for Healing is finally available for presale on Amazon. It still feels surreal to have a book available for sale on Amazon. It’s still sinking in.

This book was written for you. The writing is honest and real, without too much “woo”. It’s meant for anyone seeking more wellness in their life, not just yoga teachers and yogis. That being said, yoga teachers will love having the mudras and meditations already paired… it makes prep time for class, so much faster!

Nowadays I always practice meditation with a hand mudra, I just can’t imagine it any other way. The mudra meditations in this book are actual meditation practices that I practice and teach.

I would love to share an excerpt from the book and one of my favorite mudras with you. Sukham Mudra is so good for stress relief. If you’re like me and juggling multiple projects and trying to maintain a healthy, easeful, joyful life… give this mudra a try!

“In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Patanjali says, “Sthira-sukham asanam,” or
“Our seat should be both steady and easeful.” This sutra, however, applies not only to our meditation practice, but also life as a whole. For many of us,
we’re overscheduled, overtasked, overstimulated, exhausted, burned out,
stressed out, and no longer connected to the cycles and rhythms of nature.

Sukham is all about creating ease, happiness, harmony, flow, and joy.
It’s about creating time to slow down and get present with our essence,
with our truth.”

Take this mudra outdoors, sit and breathe and be still. With each cycle of breath allow your body to soften and release the tension, stress, and worry of the day.

If you would like to learn more about mudras, you can snag your copy on Amazon now. It’s available for presale! If you bring it on retreat or to a teacher training, I’ll even sign it for you! 😉

Love and Light,

Autumn

mudra meditations book

Is Online Yoga Teacher Training Worth It?

Hey beautiful soul. I’m guessing that since you’re here, you have been playing with the idea of signing up for an online yoga teacher training and you’re probably wondering if it’s worth it. I mean, can you actually learn how to teach yoga online? Is it just going to be a colossal waste of time and money?

How to create an intention

Deciding to do any yoga teacher training, whether it’s in person or online is not only life-changing, it’s a huge time commitment. These days, most yoga trainings are a minimum of 200 hours, either packed into a couple of weeks or spread out over multiple weekends. I’ve taught both intensive and weekend format teacher trainings and now I’m branching into the online world. (Read about why I’m so passionate about this here). To be honest, all of the formats have a fair number of pros and cons. The most important thing when deciding on your YTT is finding a teacher, schedule and price point that works for you. Your 200 hour yoga teacher training just scratches the surface. You’ll be so hungry to learn more, I know I was, and my 200 hour training was fantastic!

Get to Know The Instructor

So is an online YTT worth it? Well, that depends. As with any yoga teacher trainings, or other large purchase, I recommend doing your research. I would hate for you to invest in a YTT (any YTT) and have it basically be a “lemon”. Check out the teacher(s), read their reviews and chat with them on the phone. Who did they train with? What are they passionate about? Is there training more “magical” or rooted in modern science? I would highly recommend speaking to one of their former students. I know that I would happily connect a future YTT student with a former student because honestly, I want to make sure that the students that join my yoga teacher trainings are a good fit.

train to teach yoga online

I think scheduling and flexibility is a huge perk to participating in an online training. A good online training will provide live calls, one on one coaching, and community building activities in addition to their online resources. You don’t want to sign up for a training that is just a series of pre-recorded videos. Interaction, feedback, and discussion on online calls and in closed forums are invaluable. Check the call times and figure out exactly how many you need to attend to get your certificate. If you need to miss a call, are live calls recorded and available for you to watch? While we’re on the topic of schedules, I would also recommend that you find out if there is a deadline to send in your course assignments. Personally, I like deadlines because they hold me accountable, without them it could take me years to send in that final assignment. So, know if you do better with or without them.

Get A Sneak Peek

If possible, ask the instructor if you can see some of the material. Is it presented well? Is it professional? Or does it look like it was slapped together in Word. Ask to see a chapter of the manual, a module, a workbook page, or video — whatever you’re comfortable asking to see or are most concerned about. The more you know about the course, the more you will know what to expect AND you’ll know if it’s actually a good fit for you.

Unlimited Access to Materials

There were so many powerful, engaging lectures and discussions from my early trainings that I wish I had recorded copies of them, just so I could go back and review the material or sink deeper into the knowledge and wisdom provided to me. Another benefit of joining my online yoga teacher training is that all of our calls are recorded and available for you to view, review, fast-forward, rewind and rewatch.

Online Yoga Teacher Training Fits Your Already Busy Life

One of the beauties of online yoga teacher training is that you can show up exactly as you are… sweat pants, crazy hair, toddlers hanging off your hip. You can hop onto your calls from home, the beach, or a cafe. You can listen to your video lectures on your morning commute, while you’re making dinner, or after the kids are in bed. Training to become a yoga teacher online fits into your daily life… no need to add commute times, no need to hire a babysitter, no need to take copious amounts of time off of work.

In my experience, a well thought out online yoga teacher training or online workshop is totally worth it. They provide flexibility, community, and access to the materials anytime you want them. I recently brainstormed the many benefits of online yoga teacher training and put seven of them into a blog post. Check it out.

In the not too distant past, training to become a yoga teacher online was looked at as being “less than” training in person, but I’m here to change that. I’ve been pouring my heart, sweat, and tears into this project. And it’s ready to share. Registration is open for the our next YTT.

is online yoga teachre training worth it