@indigomoth - In some cases there simply isn't the option to have an experienced teacher. The viola isn't as common an instrument as the violin, or the piano. Unless you live in a city, or get lucky, there might not be anyone around willing to teach.
And lessons can be very expensive. I agree that they are worthwhile if you can manage to find a teacher. But I think it's definitely possible to teach yourself as well.
I would recommend going onto a music forum and asking around for what people think are the best books to read. If you are going to teach yourself, you might want to read some general musical theory books as well.
And there are probably plenty of videos online where you can see exactly how to hold your hands and so forth.