Too busy, broke or bashful to make it the yoga studio? Home-based yoga instruction used to be an expensive proposition—but thanks to technology and a crop of websites offering streaming yoga classes, practicing yoga from your living room, office or anywhere with a wifi signal is simple and cheap (if not free). Low-cost and ease of access aren’t the only benefits, either: Online classes allow you to pause and start as needed, try out different yoga styles, and alternate instructors and classes so you don’t get bored (perfect for those with exercise ADD).
Want to give it a try? There are a lot of sites out there offering yoga videos, but production and class quality varies greatly (many are more Public Access television than Zen retreat). For offerings that are both aesthetically pleasing and taught by certified yoga instructors, try:
With three membership options (including free) and over 200 classes to choose from, Yoga Today has one of the biggest online collections of full-length yoga classes, according to 27 Things to Know About Yoga author Victoria Klein. “One of the first (and still one of the best) online yoga class websites, Yoga Today’s classes are filmed in beautiful studios and gorgeous Southwest outdoor locations.” Yoga Today offers Anusara, Ashtanga, Hatha, Kundalini and Vinyasa style classes, divided into four levels: First-time, Novice, Yogi and Guru. Some classes are also available for individual purchase for $3.99. Membership costs $9.95 per month or $89.95 per year.
For cheaper than a gym membership (also $9.95 per month or $89.95 per year), you can access hundreds of classes from Vancouver-based My Yoga Online, another of the largest online yoga-class repositories. Founded in 2005, My Yoga Online now offers dozens of different types of yoga (Hatha, Kundalini, pre-natal, Vinyasa), along with ‘Absolute Beginner’ Yoga, ‘Yogalates,’ ‘Yoga for the Workplace’ and breathing exercises. Unlike the other two sites listed here, you’ll also find Pilates, dance (from ballet to Bollywood), martial arts and holistic living classes in the My Yoga Online catalog. Users can stream the HD-quality videos to their laptops or televisions, and the site also sells yoga-related music and meditation dowloads.
Newcomer Yoga Glo offers more than 1,000 yoga classes, ranging from 5 minutes to 2 hours long, that you can stream on your computer or TV. All classes are originally filmed live with teachers and students at YogaGlo’s Santa Montica studio, and you can sort them based on teacher, style, level, duration or ‘specific use’ (back pain, core strength, etc.). YogaGlo provides classes in seven different yoga styles—Anusara, Basics, Hatha, Kundalini, Meditation, Restorative, Vinyasa Flow and Yin—and the YogaGlo Beginner Center offers a 7-class introductory series for each of these. ”I see YogaGlo as a global community that offers the opportunity for people, from around the world, to participate in actual yoga classes with other students, whenever they want, at an affordable price,” says founder Derik Mills. Right now, the site is offering a 15-day free limited-access trial. Membership costs $18 per month.
Photo: Yoga Today