7 ways to Start Your At-Home Yoga Practice Today
Free YouTube Videos and Apps for your Yoga Practice
My yoga practice started over 6 years ago, when a friend dragged me to my very first hot yoga class. He was your typical over-the-top, obsessed yogi who lived and breathed yoga. It’s all he ever talked about – yeah, you know the type. The oversell was annoying and I wasn’t buying in. He would pester me with invites and I would shrug them off. But, he caught me in a moment of weakness. “The first week is free,” he said and there was a promise of a free dinner and beer. (Okay, he found my weakness 🌮🍹)
I’ll never forget that first class. It was a packed evening class – body to body. Instructed by Stacey whose mixed tone of calm, current events, and jokes kept me entertained for an hour. Basically, tricking me into a full body restorative practice. Needless to say, I WAS HOOKED.
Since that first class, I have come to enjoy the benefits. For one, it keeps me injury free. Prior to yoga, I suffered debilitating chin splints, which as a long distance runner was soul crushing. I had a habit of spraining ankles with one good sprain knocking me out of commission for 4 months. The stretching and balance poses have kept both at bay. It even helped heal tendinitis on the top of my foot that I picked up last September during a mountaineering course from ill fitting rental boots. It flared up every time I hiked following the course, but once I returned to my regular practice it quickly became a distant memory.
Yoga forces me to twist and move my body in ways that are not part of my daily life. My daily routine requires a substantial chunk of time behind a screen in a classic seated position bunching up my hips and collapsing my shoulders. Cue Yoga. It unbinds me. Frees my hips with a multitude of poses while gravity releases my shoulders in folds.
It’s also motivates me to set new goals in the form of poses. I’ll never forget the day I balanced in my first Side Crow. (The left side is still a wobbly work-in-progress). Forearm stands? Occasionally, I can steady myself. With enough wine, my hamstrings get stretchy enough to fly my Bird of Paradise. There is always a new pose to deepen or learn, keeping my practice fresh and growing.
I remain a member of that first yoga studio my friend dragged me to, but here we are in self-isolation with the COVID-19 and studios temporarily closed. My practice cannot simply stop. I need it now more than ever – to move, to calm, to “escape” my living room for 45 minutes of the day.
I reached out to our Facebook Explorer Chick Tribe for recommendations.
The result is a fantastic list of recommendations for at-home yoga apps and YouTube videos.
I figure I can use this time to branch out to new instructors. Maybe pick up a new technique or push myself in a new way. Plus, I travel a lot and I hate leaving my practice behind especially for long periods of time. Sure, at this point I could just practice on my own. Realistically, that never happens. My yoga practice requires someone telling me what to do otherwise I’ll busy myself with other pressing affairs.
Below you’ll find a round-up of seven yoga YouTube channels or apps worth trying, each with their own distinct flavor and approach. All handpicked and recommended by our Explorer Chick Tribe.
I tried out the Down Dog app this morning. I loved it because you can drill down to a very customized practice – you can set the class length, areas of focus, your level, and even your music. I went with a 45 minute class boosting hip flexors and standing balances. It then magically creates your class based on your specializations. The actual class was pretty basic. It was a woman practicing the moves with a voice basically calling out the poses. There was no personality or human connection. However, I enjoyed the class and felt it was a solid practice.
This recommendation came from Explorer Chick Cleo. CoreYoga is a national chain of Yoga Studios that has also moved classes online with their on demand options. The best part is their weekly rotation of free classes. You also have the option to upgrade to a premium On Demand membership for full access to all of their video content.
Yoga with Adriene is a YouTube Channel that came recommended by a few of our Explorer Chicks – Amanda and Adrienne. Her YouTube channel has large collection of playlists and completely free. No need to waste 20 minutes searching through her videos to find the “perfect” practice for the day. Instead, align your journey with a playlist. There is a 30 day journey playlist which would be a big help to keep you motivated and disciplined during your Shelter-in-place.
4. Peloton App
Explorer Chick Guide Lynsey actually turned me onto the Peloton App forever ago when she shared that it was more than spin classes. That conservation sent me down the path of assembling my own DIY knock off Peloton Spin bike for use at home and obsessing over Alex Touissant’s Hip Hop Spin classes. Okay, I digress. The app is MORE THAN SPINNING! There is a wide range of classes from Yoga, meditation, strength, cardio, outdoor running, and more. The classes are filmed in their New York studios with live participants (except right now, of course). Basically, you feel like you are in a real class. Plus, the content is always new and fresh. You have the option of replaying a filmed class or you can jump in on a live, real time class. The instructors have access to all active participants, so they do shout outs of encouragement to individuals. And the ENERGY! My boy, Alex, always leaves me hyped (and sweaty).
I have been practicing with Do Yoga with Me for a few years now. I spent about a month in Jackson, Wyoming over the summer of 2018. Part of my daily ritual was a yoga practice in the city park. I followed the 14 Day Yoga Challenge on their YouTube channel. I am also a huge fan of Crista Shillington. “Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle.” She can be so cheesy and over the top, that you can’t help but to smile and laugh through your practice. DoYoga with Me has a big selection of free videos and you can also upgrade to a membership to access all of their videos.
Explorer Chick Kristin recommends My Yoga Works. According to their website, they have over 1,300 classes plus journey playlists to target your goals.
7. Check with your local studio & Support Small Businesses
Studios, gym, and teachers have taken to Instagram, Zoom, YouTube, and online platforms to bring your regularly scheduled classes with your favorite instructors direct to your living room. It is an industry that has been hit hard by the pandemic and it’s comprised mostly of small businesses. Companies and people – who rely on monthly memberships and drop-ins to keep food on the table, pay bills, and continue to bring soul nourishing goodness to your world. I know the client/instructor relationship gets personal. They motivate you through those tough moments in class with words of encouragement, empathy, or a good laugh. Let’s not leave them hanging when they need it most. Now is the time to reciprocate the support. If you are able, please continue to support your favorite gyms and instructors through this so they can give you a sweaty high five when this passes.