What is better an online yoga studio or a physical “brick and mortar” studio?
The truth is I have no idea, I think it has more do to with personal preference and what is happening in your life at any given time. Online yoga has been around for years in various forms but it has gained a lot of momentum in the last 5 years or so. Obviously, in the beginning of 2020 most physical studios had to close and go online some studios have been able to reopen and some have closed or stayed online. Here are a few pros and cons from both the student perspective and the teacher/studio owner perspective.
A physical studio is great because
- You get to leave the house. Sometimes getting away from the chaos of home and family is the best part of the yoga practice.
- You get to use all the studio props. Studios tend to have many props like blocks, bolsters, blankets, straps, sand bags ect. that you may not have access to at home.
- You have a teacher there to adjust you and give feedback. This is the biggest pro in my opinion, getting real time feedback from a teacher is very helpful.
The cons of a physical studio
- Class Schedule. It can be hard to fit the classes you would like to take into your life. An online studio allows you to practice with a group online or you can catch the replay or on demand whenever you have the time.
- Cost. A single drop in class can range from $15-25 and monthly unlimited plans can cost upwards of $120. Usually 10 class packs range from $100-130.
- Other People. If you are immune compromised or someone close to you is, then you may prefer to do your yoga in your home.
The pros of a virtual studio
- Cost. A virtual studio is usually less expensive. Some are pay what you can, others range from $15-50 a month.
- Time. You can do your yoga at anytime that fits in your schedule.
- You can retake classes that you enjoy. An in person class is a one off experience. Whereas an online studio lets you retake your favorite classes as many times as you like.
- You can practice with teachers from all over the world. I have been able to learn from people that I would not have been able to if it weren’t for online classes.
Yoga teacher perspective
The pros of online teaching
- You can fit more work in less time. It can be very helpful to prerecord classes if you are going on vacation or have an illness. If you have to cancel class at a physical studio you lose money and often times students. Even one absence can affect you number of students for weeks. Having the flexibility to teach from home if you have an emergency or pre record classes for planned absences can maintain your student body and your income.
- You have more freedom as a teacher. When you are teaching at a studio there is usually a “brand” or guidelines that you have to adhere to. This makes sense and important to maintain the quality of the studio but can still be restrictive to the individual teacher.
- You have more earning power. When you are teaching in a studio there is a lot of overhead for the owner and your piece of the pie is relatively small.
- Education. Online education has allowed me to learn at home around my duties as a wife and mother. It can also be more affordable as you don’t have to pay travel expenses.
The cons of online teaching
- It can be challenging to teach to a camera. I like to take requests at the beginning of class to gauge what the students in front of me need at that moment.
- There is less personal connection. I like to see my students progress and cheer them on. This can be hard to do via the internet, but I also don’t think it is impossible.
- Learning about lights, cameras, editing, building a website. Learning the technology aspects can be a challenge on top of creating and filming your offerings. I sometimes find all this overwhelming, I don’t want to fiddle with a mic or worry about lighting. I just want to teach yoga and help people feel better in their bodies and lives in general.
The pros of being in a studio
- You can just teach! It can be so nice not to worry about taxes or business stuff. You get assigned a time slot, you go in and you teach, then you leave. There is so much more work involved in online classes.
- You are around other teachers. It is helpful to be around other teachers. The best way to grow as a teacher to to take other classes and keep learning.
- Space. A yoga studio is largely a clear open room. It is a relaxing feeling to be in an empty room, with only other people moving together and nothing else.
In the end there are merits to both online and in person classes. I think if you are doing your yoga and feeling good then it doesn’t really matter how you take your classes. What do you think? Do you like going to a studio or practicing online? Maybe a mix of both?