I’m certainly not the first person to tout the benefits of yoga: increased strength and flexibility, greater awareness and control of your body and breathe, a sense of serenity and equanimity, and so much more. I try to practice at least a couple times a week, as I find it a wonderful physical and mental counterpoint to my tennis, running, strength training and other activities (not to mention life in general).
Although I love a studio class for the hands-on instruction and the energy you feel being surrounded by fellow yogis, a home practice can be a great alternative or supplement. It can save you loads of money and time, and give you flexibility to practice when it suits you. For example, after a run or a long tennis match, sometimes I’ll come home and do 20 minutes of poses to stretch and wind down. And on weekends, it’s so nice to practice outside on my back deck.
I know some people who can just hop on the mat and guide themselves through a few sun salutations, but I like following a teacher. And with the crop of online yoga subscriptions now available, it couldn’t be easier to start downdogging on your deck, in your living room or wherever you have enough space for a mat.
I’ve been using my fave — YogaGlo — for years, but there are many, many choices these days, depending on what you’re looking for. The great thing about these subscriptions is that — unlike with DVDs (so old-school) — you’ll never get bored because you get access to an ever-expanding library of classes of varying styles, lengths, levels and focus. It’s also a great way to take a class from that teacher you read about in L.A. or NYC (even if you live in Des Moines).
I’ve researched the options and gathered my STRETCH-approved picks together in a handy guide to help you evaluate and choose the subscription that’s best for you and your practice.*
Have a favorite that’s not listed here, or an interesting experience with any of these? Please share in the comments!
*NOTE: if you’re new to yoga, I strongly recommend attending at least a few studio classes before diving into a guided home practice. The in-person instruction and adjustments you’ll get from the teacher are invaluable to learning the basics of alignment, breathe, and more. Even if you’re a more experienced yogi, you may still want to supplement a home practice with periodic studio classes to not only get some hands-on instruction, but to also experience the powerful sense of community that is a special part of yoga.