I’ve been practicing yoga since I was in high school (longer than I’d like to admit). I’m still up in the air about whether I should do Teacher Training. It apparently isn’t regulated very well and am still searching for the right program for me. Even without Teacher Training, I’ve been trying to share the knowledge I have as I continue to learn and grow.
A good friend recently started asking me about yoga, challenging me to help them find resources to get them started exploring yoga. As I began searching for some online classes that would be suitable for my friend’s needs (can’t spend a lot of time on their feet), I began realizing just how many endless options there are already out there. Sooooo. Many. Yoga. When I first got started, there were very few resources available. Bookstores in rural Indiana [still don’t] carry many educational resources on the topic. There weren’t hardly any yoga studios around. And, let’s face it. I was still dealing with dial-up that that point.
Today, however, the number of resources available are downright effing overwhelming. Even for someone with experience. And, sadly, not all resources are created equal. Again, going back to how teacher training isn’t regulated, the entire industry is kind of in this weird state of flux where there seem to be two distinct sides fighting for what yoga in America should be. Kind of like that one time in Billy Madison, except it’s all “traditional is better” / “no, Americanized speed-yoga in a sauna is better”, and I’m just sitting on my mat like “stop looking at me, swan”.
When it comes down to it, you have to find what is right for you. It is your body, and you know what is best for your body. Or at least your body does, and yoga should let you get quiet enough to be able to hear what it’s been screaming at you.
As far as sifting through the endless pile of resources available at your fingertips, if you really want to try yoga, just try it. Try something. Start somewhere. Don’t stress about it. That’s kind of defeating the purpose before you even get started. So stop that. Just jump in. Here are some of the top online yoga classes, with some key suggestions, to point you in some sort of direction to begin finding what’s right for you.
Online VS In-Person Training
Trying new things can be hard sometimes. If you’ve been curious about yoga, but you’re not comfortable trying a class with a group of strangers while you bend and stretch and sweat, online classes give you guided instruction within the comfort of your living room.
If you’re a seasoned yogi, you can take online classes on the road with you. You can also develop a consistent daily practice without the cost of a local yoga studio.
The one thing that online classes cannot give you, however, is hands-on training. It might feel awkward at first to have an instructor pulling or tapping on you to adjust your form, but form is key to get the most benefit and prevent injury during your practice. Getting guidance from an instructor is a benefit that online classes cannot bring.
Subscription Site VS YouTube
There are plenty of free videos on YouTube these days, so why would you want to pay for something you can get for free? For two main reasons: ease of finding exactly what you need when you need it, and finding quality videos with knowledgeable instructors. There are quality videos on YouTube, but it can take far more time to find just the right video for you than it would to do the practice. If you want to start out with YouTube, here are some suggestions to get you started.
Yoga For Beginners
Gaiam is a well-known name in the yoga industry. In addition to offering yoga mats and other supplies, their online videos are fairly high-quality and do a great job of explaining things in the same way an in-person instructor would. Keep in mind that their app doesn’t work on Android devices.
Yoga + Disabilities
Most online subscription sites have a filter for Restorative Yoga, all have filters for the level of yoga, but very few sites offer a filter for any sort of disability or health condition. Do Yoga With Me offers Yoga For Seniors and Yoga Therapy filters in addition to Restorative Yoga, Gentle Yoga, and many other options.
Trials And Plans
Not all sites offer a free trial to try the videos before making a commitment to an ongoing plan. MyYogaWorks.com offers a 14 Day Trial period, and they have a large video collection of various levels and styles. YogaGlo also offers a 14 Day Trial, though the monthly cost is a few dollars more per month than MyYogaWorks. GaiamTV doesn’t offer a free trial, but they do offer the first month free and their cost is less than half of the others if you pay for an entire year in advance.