Doing yoga teacher training is a big commitment, both financially and the time you need to dedicate to it. So deciding to do a second yoga teacher training was a BIG decision for me. My first YTT 200 was a 3-week intensive course in Mexico and I honestly loved it. But I knew this time around there was just no way I could take 3 weeks out of my life, so my only option was to look for an online yoga teacher training that would enable me to continue with my travel plans, keep working full-time as a blogger, and not need to take 3-4 weeks away from my baby.
But how do you choose an online yoga teacher training? How realistic is it really to be able to keep traveling through different time zones while still showing up for regular online live classes? And is it really worth even doing yoga teacher training while traveling?
I’m going to answer all of these questions and more in this post about how to do a yoga teacher training while traveling.
Why Do A Yoga Teacher Training While Traveling
I’ve written about this before in many posts about becoming certified and being a traveling yoga instructor. As someone who has been on the road for 5+ years now, being a qualified yoga teacher has been my greatest gift – I have been able to teach yoga abroad in several countries.
My first YTT 200 helped me deepen my knowledge of yoga and enrich my personal practice. All of the knowledge, skills, and confidence I gained from those 3 weeks transformed my life. I know that may sound like an exaggeration, but believe me, it’s not.
I became so much more grounded and had a lot less anxiety in my day-to-day life. The skills I learned through the training included meditation, pranayama, Ayurveda, and of course asana. I put into practice everything I learned and established a solid daily routine to keep me grounded and bring me back to my calm center wherever I was in the world.
Did you know? Many people who decide to do yoga teacher training do it to deepen their personal practice rather than a desire to teach yoga, which often comes later.
Here are just a few ways doing yoga when traveling helped me:
- Stretching out my aching muscles after being sat on uncomfortable buses in Central America.
- Improved my general fitness which helped me while lugging my backpack around Latin America for several years.
- Grounding myself in a new place by having a solid morning routine that included meditation and asana practice.
- Practicing my pranayama breathing techniques helped me extend my scuba diving times as I reduced my air consumption.
- My knowledge of Ayurveda helped me to make better food choices while traveling, even when I couldn’t cook healthy meals for myself.
- My asana practice helped with my ‘pop up’ and balance learning to surf in Sayulita.
- Having better balance for sunrise SUP sessions in Playa del Carmen.
- I used calming breathing techniques to help my hike back from The Lost City in Colombia on a sprained ankle (22 kilometers over 2 days).
- Every time I find myself in a difficult travel situation, I go back to my breath. Yoga taught me that.
However, maybe it’s not just about doing yoga when traveling for you, maybe you do want to teach yoga but you are worried about not being able to do so while traveling. Well, I’ll nip that in the bud right now, you absolutely can teach yoga while traveling. I’ve had so many beautifully rich experiences traveling and teaching yoga. It’s helped me make friends, find community, practice a second language, and earn some extra money.
Although do be aware of working laws so you don’t get into trouble. Before you take any job paid or unpaid you need to check if you can do so legally. For example, it’s illegal to even volunteer as a yoga teacher in Thailand, other countries volunteering is fine.
Working As A Travel Yoga Teacher
As mentioned already, being a qualified yoga teacher can be such a gift while you are traveling as it enables you to teach yoga abroad which can open up so many beautiful opportunities. Here are a few of the experiences I’ve had while traveling thanks to being a qualified yoga teacher.
- Volunteer meditation and pranayama teacher in a new yoga studio in Guatemala in exchange for mentoring from their yoga teachers. This was the perfect experience for me as a new teacher and I stayed there for 1 month.
- Work exchange in an Ashram in Colombia in exchange for Spanish classes, a bed, and 3 simple vegetarian meals a day. I stayed here for 3 weeks and it was a great experience and my Spanish really improved.
- Taught at a yoga studio in Playa del Carmen in Mexico both regular classes and special workshops. I was able to do this for the whole 6 months I was there and it not only helped me to improve my teaching practice, but I met most of my friends through the studio.
- Cover teacher at 2 yoga studios in Cozumel Mexico. I didn’t plan to teach here, but after going to a yoga class the teacher told me she was going on holiday and her classes were being canceled as there was a shortage of teachers on the island as they were all away! So naturally, I volunteered to step in for the month and it was the first time I had regular students so I was able to progress my classes.
There are of course some cons though:
- When you teach yoga abroad pay is generally low in most counties, so it’s generally not enough to live on. Many of the classes I taught for studios in Mexico were by donation and I’ve received as little as $2 USD for an hour’s class! On the flip side, if your class is full you could take home $50-$60 USD.
- You may not legally be able to work so doing yoga work exchange may be the only open option to you.
- Traveling yoga teachers are normally given the classes no one else wants or you are only added as a cover teacher. Hence, you have to be quick to volunteer to cover someone’s class before someone else volunteers.
- You may be restricted to where you can teach or need to learn to teach in another language. I had this in Colombia, the only way I could teach at a studio was if I was able to teach in Spanish. Or at least in Spanglish!
- It can be more difficult to really get to know your students so you may not be able to do or see much class progression. This is the thing I missed the most, I found myself just teaching the same ‘safe’ class at the same basic level because I was never teaching the same students twice.
Become an Online Yoga Teacher
But of course, living in a post-2020 world, if you want to teach yoga abroad that doesn’t mean teaching in person abroad. These days you no longer have to be a YouTube sensation to make an income teaching yoga online. With the right skills (and if you do the right YTT) you can become an online yoga teacher and make a decent wage that substance your travels.
Many teachers and studios took their classes online in 2020 and that’s where they have stayed. Even the studios that are back up and running continue to film and stream their classes so students can access them from home if they can’t make it to class.
This shift has cracked the doors wide open for those who want to teach yoga when traveling to enter the world of the Digital Nomad and forge a stable (and lucrative) career for themselves teaching yoga classes online. If this is the direction you want to go in and you think you have what it takes to become an online yoga teacher then you need to things carefully about WHO you do your YTT with and I would also strongly recommend doing a business of yoga course alongside or as soon after to help you launch your new yoga business.
This brings me nicely to my next subject…
Online Yoga Teacher Training vs In Person Yoga Teacher Training
When I first heard about online yoga teacher training I couldn’t get my head around how it could be done properly to a high standard without at least some elements of in-person interaction.
Well, I was wrong.
Don’t get me wrong I loved my first in-person 200-hour YTT. But if you want to know which one I learned more from to really equip me as a yoga teacher, it was the online one.
There are many reasons to choose an online program over an in-person program. For me, I chose to do my second yoga teacher training program online as wanted to refresh my traveling yoga instructor skills after a 2 year absence due to pregnancy and COVID. I didn’t want to commit to doing a month-long program in one place. I had travel plans that I didn’t want to change and family commitments I’d made and didn’t want to break.
Plus my first YTT almost bankrupted me as I had to take an entire month off work to do it. As a self-employed person, this hit me hard and I ended up having to take a part-time job teaching English online to make up some lost income and get back on my feet.
Doing an online yoga teacher training program meant I didn’t have to take any time off work and I could do it while still traveling. Plus I was also able to take my time to digest all of the information and implement the lessons at a slower pace, as appose to having everything crammed into a 3-4 week training schedule which I found very overwhelming about my first YTT.
I’m not going to go into all the details here comparing online vs in person, as I actually wrote a blog post about it which you can read here. But what I will say is that if you know that you want to teach online, then doing an online yoga teacher training is going to be more beneficial to your long-term career goals.
How To Choose An Online Yoga Teacher Training
For me, there really was one choice of online yoga teacher training programs, the Uplifted Yoga Teacher Training. It’s actually the original YTT developed by one of the top yoga teachers on YouTube Brett Larkin.
Brett launched her Uplifted YTT way back in 2015, after her online students begged for it. For five years it was the only online yoga teacher training program around. Fast forward to 2020 and thousands of online programs began to pop up with studios and teachers scrambling to recover some of the income that was lost due to the worldwide lockdown.
As the world begins to return to normal, many of these programs have shut down. Some are still live and open for enrolment, but there is no cohesive live element to them, they are just pre-recorded classes with an exam at the end. Others have worked to improve their recorded material and really lean into the world of online learning, but you’re still not with the same students and trainers each week.
Because Uplifted has been around since 2015, and because it has been developed by someone who’s specialized in online teaching for over a decade, the online delivery is solid. Brett took a lot of time and care to put together the course – and it shows. So many of the online programs out there now were created by just filming the teacher in the studio, delivering the YTT like they would to live students. But that just doesn’t really work. Delivering a training online that’s engaging and fun requires an entirely different approach. That’s what I love about Brett’s training.
Choosing an online yoga teaching program? Here are a few things to consider before you part with your cash!
- Check if there is a cohesive live element to the course – this is so important to keep you accountable. Life gets busy, especially when you are traveling. You need to make sure the program gives you accountability buddies to keep you on track. You will also need to check the time zones for those calls so you aren’t having to wake up in the middle of the night to dial in.
- Check the quality and length of the videos – trust me when I say you will get screen fatigue! If the videos are poor quality and long, it’s going to make it so much harder to sit through the content. Look for 20-30 minute (max) videos that are well filmed and that the teachers are engaging, and have prior on-camera experience. This will make sitting through all of the content sooooo much easier.
- Check that you can download the videos and teaching materials – This is a biggie! Uplifted actually has a mobile App. I was able to download it on my phone and iPad so I could download all the videos I needed to watch each week, and then work through them whenever I could. On a plane, in the car, in a hotel with crappy WiFi. I personally found that the best time to work through the videos was while I was on the plane, so being able to download the content for offline use was a lifesaver.
- Make sure there is an ACTIVE community – Again, so important! I’m still connected to the girls from my in-person YTT. We really supported each other through the experience. I had some doubts about online courses because of the lack of community support. But believe it or not, you can and I have found community support through the Uplifted program. And no, I’m not just talking about a Facebook Group (which there is of course). Each week during the live calls we are separated into smaller groups to do tasks, sometimes it’s to teach a pranayama to a partner, other times we need to create a yoga sequence together, and sometimes it’s just to discuss a topic. But it’s always supportive, and I feel like I’m really getting to know my fellow students, because I’m with the same classmates on every call. Independent study groups are encouraged and supported by the teaching team.
- Research into who is teaching the course – I knew exactly what I would get doing a yoga teacher training with Brett Larken, as her CV (YouTube Channel), speaks for itself. All you need to do is watch a few of her online classes to see her teaching style, the quality of her videos, and to see that she really knows her stuff. So choosing to do the YTT with her was an easy choice. Whoever you choose to do your YTT with, make sure you check out their CV and practice with them first so you know who you are learning from.
What Makes Uplifted YTT different from other online programs
I feel like I’ve probably covered a lot of what makes the Uplifted yoga teacher training program different from other programs already. But to summarize what makes this YTT perfect for travelers and those who want to become a traveling yoga instructor for total clarity.
- It’s been around the longest. It has tried and tested methodologies that work for online learning.
- 3 live classes per week over a 12-week period. You only have to commit to being live for one of those classes, the other 2 you can join live, or watch the replays. This not only helps to build community and gives you accountability, but it also gives you the chance to speak with the teachers and ask any questions you might have about the content.
It offers a lot of flexibility. The recorded videos can be accessed anywhere at any time and even downloaded to my phone to watch while I’m on the go. The live classes are at different times of the day, so even though I moved timezone 3 times during the course, I was able to still make one weekly call work.
The recorded content is easy to digest as it’s mostly made up of shorter 10-20 minute videos you can watch on the go while traveling.
All of the recorded core curriculum, including the recorded live calls, can be downloaded to your phone or tablet.
You can access the weekly Zoom calls from your mobile device so if you aren’t traveling with a laptop, 100% of the course can be done from your mobile phone!
The course is 12 weeks long so you have the time and space to really digest and integrate all of the lessons into your life and put your learning into practice.
Your fellow students are from all over the world. I was really surprised at just how diverse the class was. This means you are going to make some new friends from all over the world.
You may think that it’s easier to stay in one place, and do an in-person yoga teacher training while traveling. In reality, an online program might be a much better option for you, especially if you plan on teaching yoga online while traveling after graduation. Doing an online program is the most flexible option you can choose as it will allow you to continue traveling and working whilst doing your training.
For more information about the Uplifted yoga teacher training program click here and get the brochure plus sample videos from inside the course.