Have you ever wondered if you should attend an online vs an in-person yoga class? When beginning to do yoga for the first time, it can be difficult to decide what class format to try out first. This guide will break down the pros and cons of online and in-person classes to help you decide what is right for you!
- Online Yoga Classes
- In Person Yoga Classes
Online Yoga Classes
Rising in popularity, online yoga classes are a great choice. You can take your favorite teacher virtually anywhere, and there are plenty of free classes as well. The benefits include being able to practice in the comfort of your own home, and drawbacks include not developing a relationship with your yoga teacher.
Online Class Pros
You can practice when you want, where you want.
If you travel a lot, this can be a huge benefit. You still get the same class style and teacher you love, without the stress of trying to find a new studio to go to.
When you are at home, you can choose when to do your yoga practice and it can fit seamlessly into your day.
Skip the commute to a studio
The act of commuting somewhere just to do something you could easily do at home is a major drawback to traveling to in-person yoga classes. Avoiding traffic and travel time is a major plus to taking online yoga classes.
Practice in your own living room.
You get to control your home environment. This means that you can set the lighting and music exactly where you like it. There is a certain comfort to practicing alone in your home that invites ease and relaxation right into your living room.
Online Class Cons
No feedback if you are doing the poses wrong.
If your class is pre-recorded, you don’t have a teacher watching to see if you are doing the postures correctly. You have an increased risk for injury when you do not have a teacher there to make sure you are decreasing risk. Having a teacher’s eyes on you, even if they are through a screen, is better than none, because you will be assured that you are doing the sequence correctly. Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know.
It is difficult to develop a relationship with the yoga instructor and class.
One of the best parts of yoga class is the social aspect. It’s about getting to know your teacher and classmates, and that is difficult to do online even if you are in a membership group. There is just something about meeting up with the same group every Wednesday night for Restore that unifies and bonds you as a group.
You can easily be distracted or end the class early
I don’t know about you, but I have definitely paused or ended an online yoga session early because I just wasn’t feeling it. Yoga is meant to be a mind-body tool to help you get to where you want to be mentally, emotionally, and physically. Your at-home environment may be holding you back from fully experiencing the benefits of the yoga practice.
In Person Yoga Classes
Attending yoga class in person can be a rewarding experience. Decades ago, young yogis often lived with their teachers and learned from them in person. Even though we do not learn this way in the United States, stepping into a yoga studio or similar location is a closer approximation to this ancient practice. The act of being in the studio is a change of environment that you may need to shift the whole pace of your day. The benefits include getting personalized attention from your instructor. Although, you may feel pressure to do some techniques you are not ready for.
In-person Class Pros
You get individualized attention.
Many yoga teachers are trained to keep an eye on their students, making sure that they are doing the postures correctly to avoid injury. If one or more members of the class is not up to the task of a certain pose or sequence, a seasoned teacher is often comfortable to change the class, tailoring it to your needs. This instant feedback is priceless and can increase your progress greatly.
In these types of classes, you also get to feed off of the energy in the room.
There’s just something about doing yoga with a group of people that gets you in the groove so you can stay focused. I don’t know about you, but when I do yoga by myself from a video I tend to get distracted in my surrounding environment. I’m more likely to push myself in a group setting.
In-person Class Cons
You might feel self-conscious.
One of the drawbacks of attending in-person classes is feeling self-conscious in class. This is so common in beginners, and even I get intimidated from time to time in in-person classes, and I’ve been attending for years. It’s ok, most people are probably too zen’d out to notice you, or they are busy focusing on themselves. Attending class in person is one way to work on conquering this fear.
You may feel pressured to go beyond your limits.
If you are not ready to do a headstand, shoulder-stand, or even a downward facing dog, you might feel peer pressure to do these poses. Many yoga teachers will not be offended if you sit out on a pose or two, but you may feel the pressure to keep going even if you are not ready to do a certain posture. We want you to feel your best after class, and that is not going to happen if you are putting yourself in harm’s way. If this causes concern, I suggest talking with the teacher before class to see what postures they have planned. If the teacher knows your hesitancy or injuries, they can adjust class plans or offer modifications to accommodate you.
Whatever classes you decide to take, whether in-person or online, there will be benefits and drawbacks. I encourage you to try a combination of in-person and online classes. Many yoga studios offer their classes online as well, reach out to them for more information. Many yoga studios are local small business, and it can be so rewarding to get out in your community and support them!