I’ve been teaching yoga since 2008 and only very recently have I started receiving this question frequently:

“What online yoga programs do you recommend?” 

And I get it. We do so many things online now, why wouldn’t we get our yoga practice online too? It’s usually cheaper than a studio membership and it doesn’t require leaving the house. And it is nice to have access to classes with teachers that live far away. But that’s where the benefits end, in my opinion. Here are my top five reasons for why practicing yoga in a group setting with a live, in-person teacher is not only preferable, but often times necessary. 

  1. If you are brand new to the practice of yoga, it is crucial that you study with an experienced teacher at first so they can help you with your alignment in the poses and give you an idea of what a safe sequence feels like in your body before you venture into the online yoga world where no one can see what you’re doing.
  2. A group setting provides a sense of community that so many of us crave these days. Interacting with people face-to-face can have a profound effect on our brain and nervous system, especially if those interactions are loving and meaningful, and they often are when people are feeling centered after a yoga class. Practicing yoga with others also helps us stay motivated in the moment, knowing that we are moving and breathing with other people around us.
  3. Good teachers will pull from what’s happening in their classroom that day to help motivate their overall theme and intention for that class, which is not possible in an online class. This sort of teaching can make the whole experience feel more personal and special in a way that an online class cannot achieve.
  4. If you find yourself confused, lost, unmotivated to continue or distracted (which are all common things that happen whether you are practicing through a screen or practicing in a live class!), you’re much more likely to get back on track again in an in-person class since the teacher and students around you can help hold you accountable. At home, no one will know if you stop what you’re doing to switch over the laundry quick, right?
  5. An in-person teacher can recognize your progress through regular attendance and give you advice on things you could work on or let you know when it’s time to advance to the next level if you are feeling unsure about your next step on the path.

There are, of course, many other reasons why practicing in a classroom is ideal, but hopefully these points will motivate you to get to class every once in a while! Hope to see you on the mat.

~ The Writing Yogini