Grow confidence in your daily yoga practice with these digital teachers. Photo Credit: Corduroy Graphics
You’re 7 minutes into “Vinyasa Flow for Beginners” at the “Loving Kindness Vinyasa & Healing Heart Center.” The instructor, some gorgeous, impossibly tan, impossibly tiny chick who has never sweat a bead in her life calls out for “downward facing dog” in a melodious voice. Downward dog, I know this you think as you shift out of mountain pose. Sure, your heels hover three inches off of the ground, and sure, you’re not clear why it’s considered a “resting” position since your heart rate is already climbing, and sure your hammies are so tight it’s as if you never used them before this moment, but hey, you’re here and you’ve paid $30 for this class, so you have to keep going.
Then, you feel it – that distinctive prickle on the back of your neck you used to feel when you were wrist-deep in the cookie jar and your mom rounded the corner of the kitchen. Your whole body tenses as you feel a moth-like presence hover over you, and a gentle pair of hands grasps onto your hips and shifts them an imperceptible amount, while a too-loud voice echoes off the walls. “Kathleen, remember, one breath, one movement.”
Okay, maybe my irrational fear of yoga classes is a touch overdramatic. I love yoga. It is a great way to work out and chill out at the same time. But if you too suffer from a fear of public adjustments, classmates who are too flexible for their own good, or are generally stressed out by workout classes, stay with me. This article is for you.
I have been a connoisseur of at-home yoga YouTube videos since high school. Yes, I have gone to classes on and off, but aside from the aforementioned stressors I encounter in yoga classes, I find that at-home videos are generally better for my schedule and checking account. So, to save you some time, I have come up with a list of my favorite channels that check off all of my specifications, which include:
- 30-40 minute videos. Basically as long as I’d spend at the gym without the travel/parking/deciding if I care if my socks match my running shorts.
- No arm balances/headstands/positions I feel unsafe doing without the help of a professional.
- SHORT meditation. Or no meditation. The less time meditating the better.
Remember to like and subscribe to channels and videos you like. This supports and promotes these creators’ content that they are offering for free!
So, without further ado, here are four channels and one playlist I encourage you to check out:
SaraBethYoga is a great place to start with at-home yoga. She color-codes her videos so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Her classes are all 5-30 minutes long and she gets right into them- no wasting time with a long introduction. Her motto is that 5 minutes of yoga once a day is better than 60 minutes once a week.
Heart Alchemy Yoga with Michelle Goldstein– could you have a better name for a yoga channel? Michelle teaches at a manageable pace, and she’s got a great sense of humor. She tends to share bytes of yogi wisdom throughout her classes to serve as motivation- my all-time favorite thing she’s said in a class is “there is movement in balance.” So true, and so reassuring when you’re wobbling through a Twisted Half Moon. Her videos are on the longer side, but there’s a ton of variety on her channel, so you’ll probably find exactly what you’re looking for.
Straight from Austin, Texas, YOGATX posts videos from many different teachers. This means there’s a good variety of options– morning yoga, evening yoga, 30-day challenges– if you’re searching for something, this channel probably has it. The videos tend to stick to the 20-30 minute mark, and they are mostly geared towards beginners, so they’re great when you’re looking for a good stretch, but don’t have a ton of time.
Yoga by Biola is hosted by Abiola Akanni, a wellness entrepreneur and yoga instructor. Her videos focus on body positivity, self sensuality, and spirituality. I especially love her long, warm-up sequences, which are particularly delicious if you’re sore from a tough workout. She also teaches Trap Vinyasa, which incorporates hip-hip movement and trap music into traditional yoga flows. Trap Yoga was originally created to remove the sense of “otherness” ostracized communities felt while practicing Yoga in white-dominated spaces. So if you’re white and you want to try this type of practice, remember to respect its roots, and that while Yoga is good for everyone, these teachers are not necessarily creating these videos to sympathize with your experience.
I also wanted to include the linked playlist entitled “Black & Brown Yoga”
As many yoga channels that climb to the top of your YouTube are largely taught by white teachers, I felt it was important to include a resource to find a variety of classes created by teachers of color. It is our job as at-home yoga-doers to find out what is best for our bodies and souls. And we put ourselves at a huge disadvantage if we are excluding the bodies, souls, and wisdom of BIPOC teachers from our practices. This playlist has over 91 videos created by Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color. I encourage you to use this as a starting point to diversify your practice beyond the channels I have mentioned.
Yoga is a highly personal practice that takes years to become comfortable with. I’ve been doing it recreationally for eight years, and I’m just now at the point where I feel like I understand what my body needs in any given class. I think that is the number one reason to start an at-home practice: it gives you the time and space to listen to what your body and soul need without the distractions (whether real or imagined) of being in a class.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your phone, your mat, and a clear space of floor and dive into the world of YouTube Yoga. I promise your body (and mind and soul and self-esteem) will thank you.