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Start Your Home Yoga Practice NOW! - online yoga recommendations

It's no news that the COVID19 pandemic has changed many of our plans, one of mine was doing my Yoga Teacher Training which I had planned to do in the spring of 2020.

I have been incorporating basic yoga-related advice in my coaching for quite some time now, (anything from the basic how-to's, through using specific Asanas- yoga poses- as home remedies, to elements of the Yogic philosophy), and for long over a year now I've felt like it's time to do my teacher training and make sure I can properly teach it, either online or in a class.

Had I been able to travel to Asia I would have been certified by now and finally able to teach. Clearly, life had other plans and not unlike many of us I was forced to indefinitely postpone my trip.

I know quite of few people were counting on my doing it, hoping I could be their guide in starting their yoga journey... It's a shame I wasn't able to do it when I'd planned, but I wasn't going to let that stop them from getting started with yoga.

One of the biggest silver linings of this pandemic is the fact that it's been taking place now, in 2020, (as opposed to, for instance, 30 years ago) at the time when we are able to keep in touch, work, and have access to almost any information we need via the wonderful Internet.

And in there (on rather, in here) there's a ton of free-of-charge yoga videos that anyone can do at any time that suits them and thus familiarize themselves with the basics of Yoga as a total beginner or use them to deepen their already more advanced practice.

I would love to be able to point you to my own videos that I could 100% vouch for, but as you probably gathered from the information above, they don't exist just yet. The internet is full of yoga teachers, and it's no wonder that you may have troubles deciding which one to go with when all the advice you get is "just google it". That's why over the past few months I've been sharing with people some of the YouTube channels I myself have been using for many years now in my own home yoga practice. I thought it might be a good idea to post them here as well. Perhaps they will make it easier for you to choose something you like.

Before I list them, though, I would like to invite you to check out this post about the benefits of doing yoga.

But if you're already convinced and can't wait to get started, I only ask that you read this before you get on your mat:

This one is extremely important since using online videos means that you'll be practicing alone, with no teacher actually present in the room with you, so I hope I don't need to stress that it's vital that you know how to be safe as you step on the mat.

Online Yoga YouTube Channels to Try for Free

Now that you know how to do it safely, here are some of the channels that I've used and enjoyed over the last few years:

The first 2 are channels of websites you can subscribe to for an annual fee, but the YouTube channels also contain some good free videos. These sites consist of a collection of classes led by a variety of teachers- older, younger, women, men, teachers both with leaner and fuller bodies. The next 5 links are of YouTube channels that each belong to one specific yoga teacher and all of the content is prepared by that one teacher, which mind you, doesn't mean that it's not versatile.

As you check them out you'll notice that just as there are many different styles of yoga there are many different yoga classes available online. They differ in length, from a simple 5 minute session to one-hour-long ones. They differ based on what they focus on, for example: targeting a specific are of your body for insistence your shoulders, or intending to help you with a specific psychological problem such as anxiety or stress. There are practices designed to wake you up first thing in the morning, help you focus or help you wind down for the night. There are some that provide you with a decent workout and help you tone your muscles and others that focus more on cultivating inner peace and practicing stillness.

Do check the "playlist" section in each of those channels to get a better idea of what they offer. And make sure you browse a little bit and choose something that really resonates with you, not just the first video you see.

On top of themed videos most of these channels offer some really neat "challenges" (7-day, 30-day etc) for yogis of different levels, beginner included, so if you're just getting into the habit or regular practice you may enjoy those.

Also, remember that this is supposed to be helpful. Your online yoga teacher is there to provide a voice that is supposed to guide you, help you relax and get into your practice in peace, so if you find that a certain teacher's tone of voice or attitude or even their accent for whatever reason just doesn't make you feel good, feel free to browse for a different class. That's the beauty of the online yoga class, if you don't like it you can (and you should) walk out and find something else you will enjoy, no hard feelings.

When do I do it?

Now, if you're completely new to Yoga you might also find yourself wondering about the best time to do it.

In general, no matter when it is that you're reading this, I want you to know that now is the perfect time to start cultivating your home yoga practice. You should definitely pick a class that suits your current mood, current physical fitness level and current needs. Depending on how you're feeling it might be a 3-minute video or a 30-minute one. It might be a full-on workout or a more restorative session. But as long as you listen to your body and pick what suits you best at the moment, NOW is the time to start. You don't need to wait for Monday, the first of the month or the moment when you're leaner, more flexible or when you have more time. The time is NOW.

Having said that, there are a few general guidelines as to when one should and shouldn't do Yoga. It's good to be aware of them to get the most of your practice.

When should you do Yoga?

Anytime is better than never, but it's usually good to do it:

-1st thing in the morning,

-before meditation (if you practice)

-whenever you feel anxious or stressed

-whenever you need to feel more grounded

-whenever you feel distracted and need to feel more focused

-whenever you feel tired and/or exhausted

-whenever you feel like your body could use a massage

-whenever you just need a break

-whenever you feel like it, but:

-NOT immediately after eating

and also:

-if you menstruate, don't do inversion poses when on your period

A daily practice doesn't mean a daily workout.

A daily yoga practice is definitely recommended, but remember not to stress it (I know I myself have been guilty of that in the past). Sometimes Yoga is the Asana sequence on the mat, but sometimes yoga is actually sleep. Yes, you read that right.

Let me give you my example.

I haven't actually missed a single day in my practice in a good few years now, BUT it's important to mention that this does not mean I spend an hour every single morning on my mat. Most days I spend 30-40 minutes, but some days it's just 10. Some days it's a session that leaves me sweating, some days there's barely any big movements involved. It really all depends on how I'm feeling that day and what I need it to do for me.

Before I step on my mat I ask myself: Do I need more grounding or do I need more energy? Do I need to just relax or do I need to tap into my creativity? Do I need to get a ton done later that day and need some help in the focus and productivity departament? Or do I need a break from work? Do I want to have a good workout or do I just want to feel my body and become more mindful and bodyful? Do I need to stretch my legs, massage my back, get rid of a headache or aid my digestion?

All depends. But what's consistent is the DAILY meeting with myself on the mat.

A few years ago, when I was just starting with my daily practice I felt extremely compelled to check it off the to-do list each day. This kind of persistence was mostly very good as it helped me get into the habit of it, but sometimes, I must admit, I would go a little overboard. On days when I was exhausted from lack of sleep due to overworking, I would still push myself to do my yoga session. It wasn't until a bit later that I realized that sometimes Yoga isn't even about getting down on the mat. Sometimes Yoga is sleep. And I'm not talking about being lazy here. It's just that Yoga is about listening and responding accordingly. It's a dialog, a conversation.

While a little yoga break can boost your concentration even if you're exhausted, if you're sleep deprived (and I'm not talking here about one late night, I'm talking about months if not years of sleep deprivation that in my case has taken years to "fix") a yoga workout should not be your main concern. You should first focus on your body's need for sleep. Give it the sleep it needs first and only then can you really allow it to take in all the advantages that Yoga (with a capital Y) has to offer.

So I guess what I'm saying is: listen.

In order to cultivate a new habit you will have to push yourself a little sometimes, but be mindful, listen and select your yoga sessions accordingly- it doesn't always have to a a full on 1-hour-long Vinyasa Flow. Sometimes it can just be a few gentle stretches and a long Shavasana. And sometimes, like I said, Yoga is sleep.

So if you want to cultivate the habit of a regular practice, by all means be disciplined, but remember to also be flexible. Learn to find freedom within the form. True discipline only seems like limitation, but in reality it's more like liberation. You'll see.

So make an appointment with yourself and keep it. Daily is best, but as often as possible will do too. And in the same time, remember to always personalize it to your liking and they way you currently feel.

And if you haven't yet, please check out this post about How to do yoga (online) and avoid getting injured.

Good luck and Namaste!


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