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Online Yoga Classes – 8 Reasons Why You Should Try Them
If you spend any time on social media, you’ve surely seen offerings of yoga challenges, special programs, online classes, and a plethora of free routines on YouTube. But are these classes any good? Are the paid subscriptions worth it? Are they better than live classes?
In general, both online and studio yoga are great ways to practice and each has its pros and cons. Below is a list of 8 reasons why we think online yoga is a great option to improve your health, reduce stress, increase flexibility, and get stronger. We’ve also provided a few pointers and things to be aware of so you can have the best, safest experience.
Memberships at yoga studios can cost up to $300 (or more) per month, and you may still be limited on how many classes you can take. Some online yoga classes, such as on YouTube, are completely free, or as low as $5-10 per month for unlimited use. Then you can take that extra money and go buy some stylish yoga pants or brand new mat and props to enhance your practice!
Of course, there are some classes you’ll probably need to take in a studio, such as hot yoga or very advanced or specialized forms. Free YouTube yoga videos tend to be geared towards beginners and probably aren’t the best option if you’re advanced and looking for a challenge.
Speaking of expensive studios, many times physical locations don’t fit your schedule, so you may only be able to attend 1-2 classes per week, often at less than ideal times. Online yoga can be done any time - salute the sun in your pajamas before you’ve even brushed your teeth if you want, or relax with a restorative flow at 11pm just before you climb into bed.
Practicing at home can be a good way to get your feet wet and learn some basic terms and poses without fear of standing out in a class of experienced yogis. Plus, it’s easy to find courses specifically for beginners, whereas many studios have regular attenders with varying experience. Instructors will often brush over the basics assuming that everyone there knows what they’re doing.
However, do look for programs that offer an intro to the basics and explain things well.The best online yoga classes will go into detail on alignment for each poses how to modify, and their purpose.When you’re online, no live person is there to correct your form, so pay attention to all of the cues, and even practice with a mirror in the room to check your positioning. If an online teacher just says the name of the pose without any instruction and expects you to follow along, skip it so you don’t end up hurting yourself.
What if you are going out of town for a week and don’t have access to your studio? You’ll have to find a new place to go and shell out more money for classes, or skip it altogether. An online subscription allows you to do yoga with an instructor wherever you want - a hotel room, park, the office - as long as you have a smartphone or tablet handy.
Practicing virtually gives you access to a wider variety of class styles and instructors. You can learn from some of the best around the country and experience new methods without having to leave home! For instance, maybe you currently pay for hot yoga classes geared toward all levels, but go online and you can add in some advanced Iyengar classes, beginner kundalini, or intermediate power yoga.
Have you ever been in a yoga class meditating for what seems like forever when you were hoping to work up a sweat? Or stuck in a challenging vinyasa flow when you were longing for more restorative poses? If the session isn’t quite what you had in mind, you’re pretty much stuck for the next hour. Whereas, when you’re tuning in at your computer and don’t like the class, you can simply stop and try a different one. If you really love one pose in particular, you can pause and hold it as long as you like rather than be forced to rush on. You also have the option to research ahead of time and see what the class will be about and for what level it is intended to get exactly what you want.
Ever wonder how those amazing yogis on Instagram do such beautiful inversions and balance poses? Not all studio classes are going to go in depth on teaching you how to get there, but you can search out niche lessons for specific skills like arm balances on your computer. These are great opportunities to practice going upside down and falling down without embarrassment!
This one definitely doesn’t apply to all yoga classes, but YogiApproved.com promises to plant a tree for every online subscription to their service. They even keep the running total on their site so you can see how much good is being done, and feel good about your purchase when that total goes up. If you're going to pay, you might as well find a site that gives something back in return!
What about you? Do you like online yoga? What are some of your favorite resources? Comment below to share your experience!