I’ve been curious about the online/web-based options for learning yoga, or deepening a yoga practice. Not to mention teacher training options for people who aspire to become teachers, but can’t afford the thousands of dollars required to achieve Level 1 certification via the usual means. Or even specialized classes to help teachers advance to the next level, or become more savvy business people.
Given the traditional guru-student relationship, how open is the yoga community to using online services for guided student practice, teacher training, inspiration?
I found myself pleasantly surprised at the number of choices available today. That said, when it comes to home-based study, many options appear limited to online ordering of traditional media (such as printed manuals and DVDs) that will be mailed to the student’s home. These are early days but we haven’t yet seen the full potential of online services and mobile devices as an aid to a guided practice, or even a yoga immersion.
Is “Distance Learning” the Right Term?
What surprised me was to find how often people use the phrase “distance learning” in conjunction with yoga. Although this phrase is used quite comfortably within academic or commercial settings, it’s disconcerting in the context of a yoga-centric learning environment.
Perhaps it’s time for the yoga community to come up with a label that doesn’t emphasize the notion of physical distance between people. Instead let’s choose a phrase that is more positive, one that embraces the convenience of online services, especially as a practical alternative for days when things get in the way of showing up for a real-world class.
I dream about the day when I can “take a class” from a favorite teacher, via a future online service. This would be an attractive and practical alternative to having to miss her studio-based class due to work or family conflicts. For those of us who travel regularly, being able to take online classes from our teachers would be a wonderful option while on the road.
If I knew I could take “make-up classes” via an online service, I’d be more comfortable about signing up for 12-week class passes. Instead I juggle classes at several local studios, based on which classes are the best fit for my schedule. I’d much prefer the option of choosing the teacher first, and then the schedule, rather than the reverse.
New Teaching Opportunities?
And wouldn’t it be nice if deserving yoga teachers could earn a decent income, assuming the future “online classroom” could create more teaching opportunities, or allow them to serve a larger number of students.