If you live far away from your favorite yoga studio, online yoga classes can be a great way to keep your yoga practice going. If you prefer having a teacher guide you instead of following a written sequence or creating your own, then, in some circumstances, online instruction may be your only choice. As nice as it is to have the option of an online class, it is also worth taking time to note the differences between that and being in a class with a live, certified yoga teacher.

Schedule and Convenience

If you are taking a yoga class online from either free or fee-based websites, you have the convenience of taking a class whenever and however often you want to. While it’s nice to have a yoga class when it best fits your schedule, be sure you keep a regular routine. Convenience also makes it easy to put off practice for almost any excuse. If you have paid for a series of classes at a yoga studio, you are much less likely to skip class when you’re not in the mood, but know you should practice anyway.

Feedback and Corrections

Perhaps the most obvious difference between virtual and actual yoga classes is the lack of feedback and adjustments available online. A yoga teacher should give modifications, corrections and adjustments in class based on the performance of the students. It helps to prevent short and long term injuries and deepen the yoga experience for all involved. While an online teacher can caution against common mistakes and stress the most important actions, they, of course, have no way of giving you feedback on your practice.

A Tailored Sequence

An experienced yoga teacher will often adjust a sequence of poses based on what she sees in class. A group of students may be ready for more challenging poses or may need easier poses on a particular day. At the same time, over a series of classes, students should be working on a full range of yoga postures.

When taking yoga online, it is easy to only take the kind of class you enjoy most and leave out the classes with things you don’t like. That may provide short term pleasure, but it is not the way to fully develop a well rounded practice. Don’t let the convenience of online yoga let you skip the things you need.

The temptations of free and low cost yoga online are many. There are lots of experienced and qualified teachers online, but there are also some sites where you get what you pay for. Under some conditions, online yoga will be the best option, and it can also be a nice way to supplement in-class instruction. Just remember there are several benefits you can only get in a live yoga class; take one whenever you can.