Yoga has been shown to pack a healthful punch when it comes to all the associated health benefits. However, in our busy lives, there is not always the time to pencil a yoga class into an already packed schedule. There is a treasure trove of yoga routines available online, all from knowledgeable instructors, that enable us to take part at our leisure. We have searched through the crème de la crème to bring you our top five online yoga workout choices.
The modern practice of yoga is rooted in more than 5,000 years worth of ancient texts and traditions, yet it has only skyrocketed in popularity in recent years.
The latest Yoga in America Study, conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, report a significant rise in the size of the yoga industry and the number of practitioners since 2012. The number of yoga practitioners in the United States has increased from 20.4 million in 2012 to 36.7 million in 2016, while spending on yoga classes, equipment, clothing, and accessories rose from $10.7 billion to $16 billion over the course of the 4 years.
Yoga's upsurge in popularity could be down to the practice becoming more widely available. While yoga was once primarily restricted to yoga studios, yoga is now offered at fitness centers, gyms, and featured in fitness videos, meaning that people can get involved from the comfort of their own homes in online classes and YouTube workouts.
Medical News Today have combed through yoga sites aplenty to bring you five of the best online yoga workouts that the Internet has to offer. Each of our picks have yoga videos available on their websites, a YouTube channel, and we even provide insight into the people behind them.
The Journey Junkie
Allie Flavio is the face of The Journey Junkie, and she is an experienced and captivating yogi. The Journey Junkie is "a place where creativity, intentions, positivity, and passion are encouraged and embraced." The site is jam-packed with yoga tutorials and guided meditations that are broken down and explained in an easy-to-follow format.
Allie's old roommates sparked the start of her yoga journey. "My first yoga class was accompanied by three best friends/roommates, and actually, I was hungover from a night of partying, poor food choices, and a general lack of sleep," Allie revealed to MNT.
"But after 75 minutes of unbearable heat, breathing, and bending and twisting my body, I had never felt more alive. I was instantly hooked, signed up for an unlimited month membership, and never looked back. I fell in love with yoga, and I fell hard."
"After three years of dedicated practice, I took the leap and became a certified yoga teacher, first starting in studios and then branching out to the online world. And while it was scary to teach online, film myself, put myself out there (mistakes, fears, shortcomings), I knew with certainty it was the next step in my journey and what my community wanted (and needed)."
"Fast forward a year, the online yoga YouTube channel is over 10,000 yogis strong, a new weekly yoga video is unveiled each week, four yoga challenges have unfolded, and I've successfully turned an online yoga blog into an online yoga business. Life is good for both the yoga student and the yoga teacher!"
The Journey Junkie library includes yoga sequences that cover anything and everything from practices that build up core strength and banish lower back pain, to stretches that rejuvenate and restore and full body yoga for sore muscles, tension, and relaxation.
"The benefits of yoga are boundless, unlimited, never-ending, and all will help you to live your best, most fulfilled, healthiest life," said Allie. "And I say this with absolute certainty, because I'm a byproduct of the yoga practice benefits."
Here are The Journey Junkie's top three most popular yoga workouts:
- Yoga for low back pain: A 20-minute video for everyone
- Cultivate your core
- Morning yoga video: Awaken and energize your body
YogaByCandace is a contemporary yoga lifestyle company created by Candace Moore and is the "go-to place for all things related to a modern approach to wellness." The YogaByCandace team aspires to produce innovative and inspirational content to keep their audience captivated and motivated.
Candace is an entrepreneur, full-time international yoga instructor, and healthy living blogger. Candace first got into yoga in her teens. "My mom brought me to Kripalu yoga center when I was 15, and I fell in love with it," Candace told MNT.
"I started producing online videos because I was constantly moving every few years and I realized that due to the constant relocations, it'd be tough to build a local following. I knew I had a lot to offer, so instead of local, I focused on creating quality content that everyone could tune into, no matter their location."
We asked Candace what she feels are the benefits of yoga. "There are too many to list! The top benefits would include de-stressing, mindfulness, improved mobility, and relaxation."
These top health benefits of yoga are reflected in the videos presented on the website. There is a 30-minute yoga sequence to de-stress, a 30-day mindful yoga program, a pictorial workout providing seven poses to improve upper body mobility (without even having to get out of bed!), and a gentle 25-minute relaxing yoga workout.
Candace's workouts incorporate elements from many types of yoga, such as AcroYoga, Ashtanga, Bikram, Osho, Power Yoga, Restorative/Yin Yoga, and Vinyasa Flow. The sequences aim to be playful with an honest yet sometimes humorous style.
Yoga workouts by Candace can be found on her website, YouTube channel, and a YogaByCandace App is now available for iOS and Google Play. Candace also has a book out called Namaslay, which is available from most major bookstores.
Here are YogabyCandace's top three most popular yoga workouts:
Yoga with Tim
Yoga with Tim is the creation of Tim Senesi. Yogis flock to Tim's classes to experience his soulful, open-minded, and inspiring approach to yoga. Tim's workouts lay the foundations to help understand your body better through his blend of Iyengar and Vinyasa Flow yoga. He is softly spoken and exudes calm; his tone is lighthearted yet connective.
Tim was introduced to yoga during his freshman year of college. "Yoga dramatically changed my life. Before I started practicing yoga I was overweight, unhealthy, and suffered from depression," Tim explained to MNT.
"Yoga helps me to find balance, and I wanted to be able to share that and give back. I started posting videos on YouTube to help make yoga accessible to everyone."
Tim's educational videos provide clear step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow. The practices involve sequences that target specific areas of the body, such as the 23-minute workout that focuses on the core, legs, and hips, yoga for neck and shoulder pain, and yoga that works the whole body, including full body stretch yoga and a 30-minute total body yoga workout.
Yoga has been shown to have a positive effect on depression and anxiety. Tim embraces the many health benefits of yoga by providing videos that relieve stress and anxiety, help with digestion, and maintain a healthy spine. Tim revealed, "Practicing yoga regularly has had such a positive impact on my life. Yoga helps us to be more aware, and restores health to the mind, body, and spirit."
Here are Yoga with Tim's top three most popular yoga workouts:
Tara Stiles founded Strala together with co-founder Mike Taylor. Strala combines yoga with tai chi and traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine to promote creativity, happiness, inspiration, and healthy living.
"Yoga gives us a way to release stress and tension, bring our whole selves into harmony, and move with ease through all kinds of challenges," Mike informed MNT. "It's wonderful when we tune in, connect with how we feel, and learn to respond naturally."
Tara draws experience from her background in classical ballet, choreography, and long-term yoga practice. Mike studied mind-body medicine at Harvard and complementary medicine at Oxford, and he has practiced Eastern movement and healing - including tai chi and qi gong - for more than 30 years.
Whether you are just getting started with yoga or are a seasoned yogi, Strala has something for everyone. There are classes for morning energy, to promote bedtime sleep, and to build strength. Strala is designed to help activate the body's relaxation response through deep breathing, moving gently, and learning how to take care of yourself and form positive connections.
"Our first job is to take really good care of ourselves. From here, we can take good care of everyone," said Mike. "You get out of your own way through this practice. You also discover how much more capable you are when you connect with and follow your nature."
Here are Strala's top three most popular yoga workouts:
Prenatal Yoga Center
Deb Flashenberg is the owner, founder, and director of the Prenatal Yoga Center. In addition to teaching yoga to the prenatal and postnatal communities, Deb is a DONA-certified doula, Lamaze-certified childbirth educator, and has a wealth of knowledge in helping to educate and support women during and after pregnancy.
"I have a dance background and was introduced to yoga by a choreographer I was working with, and I immediately took to it," Deb told MNT. "I slowly started to transition from dance class to yoga and never went back. After several years of teaching prenatal yoga and building a reputation and presence in the field, I started to get requests for online classes from people who lived outside of NYC [New York City]."
"Adding online classes allowed those not in the area to be part of the Prenatal Yoga Center community. Now we are blessed to have people from all over the world watch these videos and benefit from the practice of prenatal yoga."
Deb and her team of highly trained and educated instructors use a three-pronged approach to teaching yoga. First, they focus on physical comfort and addressing the aches and pains of pregnancy. Next, the team nurtures a supportive community of friendship. Finally, they ensure that childbirth education themes and birthing trends are interwoven into classes.
The Prenatal Yoga Center offers a selection of yoga videos that help to alleviate some of the uncomfortable symptoms that result from the physical changes that occur during pregnancy. There are sequences to relieve lower back pain and ease carpal tunnel, as well as quick stretch therapies for aching legs and feet.
"I believe it is vitally important for women to mentally and physically prepare for labor, no matter if they want a medicated, unmedicated, or cesarean birth," explained Deb. "When women have the tools they need to cope with labor, fear lessens and their labor improves."
"In class, we focus on diaphragmatic breathing within the flow of poses while creating strength and flexibility in the whole body. We work on balancing the pelvis and pelvic ligaments and muscles to encourage the baby into optimal fetal position, and we teach the mothers how to strengthen and use their transverse abdominals, which will help them in the pushing stage. We also address common aches and pains of pregnancy and aim to alleviate them through asanas and specific yoga modifications."
Here are Prenatal Yoga Center's top three most popular yoga workouts:
As with any sport or physical activity, yoga will challenge the body to do things it may not have done before, which may cause injury. Never push yourself too hard and make sure you follow guidelines and precautions. If you are pregnant or have a medical condition or injuries, be sure to consult a doctor before practicing yoga.