I started doing yoga just over a year ago and fell in love with how amazing it made me feel! There are so many different styles to suit everyone, and literally anybody can do it – it’s not about being uber flexible, or standing on your head (which I definitely can’t do yet!) It’s about taking time for yourself, learning to understand your body and following a process which will make you happier, calmer, and more connected to the world around you. There are also so many health benefits – even in less physical styles it has been shown to improve strength, posture, balance and flexibility over time.
But depending on where you live, yoga can be an expensive hobby. My friend who lives in Glasgow charges just a fiver for his classes, but down in London the average price is about three times that, and memberships to a studio are well over £100 per month. Nama’stay at home thank you very much! I quickly realised there had to be online alternatives for getting my OM on. Ask and the internet shall provide! Most of the services on offer are monthly subscriptions to unlimited classes. However, if you’re not big on commitments there are some excellent and very cheap apps that provide a great service and plenty of free videos on YouTube to get you started.
Here are some of my top picks, all of which have very basic introductions to total newbies which aren’t at all intimidating:
One of the most widely-used sites, Yogaglo has over 2500 classes in 10 different styles of yoga. The teachers are amongst some of the best in the world, like the beauteous Elena Brower and Kathryn Budig. All of the classes are filmed at the Yogaglo studio in California – which I would definitely hit up if I were in the vicinity as all of the classes they put on are free for the public! Such a great idea to encourage more people to try yoga. You can trial the service free for 15 days, after that it goes up to $18 per month (about £12), which is the cost of a normal studio class.
I did a free trial of this subscription service recently, and was impressed with the variety of classes and styles on offer. They also stream live classes which I suppose is the closest equivalent to being in a studio. It feels a bit more traditional than the other sites here which are more fitness and workout focused, but if you’re looking for a full yoga experience to experiment with different traditions then this would be a good place to start exploring. Their monthly membership fee is £15, with better deals if you sign up for a longer commitment.
Launched in the UK earlier this year, Grokker is a subscription service that not only provides yoga videos, but also cooking classes, fitness, meditation and more! There is plenty of choice for any kind of workout you’re in the mood for and new videos are frequently uploaded. You can enjoy a free basic membership with two new videos per week and full access to non-premium content. If you’re after more, the premium option costs just $10 per month (about £6.50).
What I like about this site is that it has hundreds of free videos, most focusing on technique which is really helpful for fine tuning your poses. The free videos are all very short at a few minutes each, and the classes are about £13 per month, which is quite a lot compared to some of the other options which have higher quality videos than this service. However, if you’re looking for longer courses then it might be worth it as they have some good options on offer.
This app cost me £1.49 – a tiny investment considering how many hours I’ve racked up stretching it out in the mornings! Yes, the instructors voice is a little grating, but there are so many different class options available. You can even build your own! I do the 5-10 minute ‘Yoga for Runners’ stretches when I’m training for a race and it really helps to ease those aching muscles.
Yoga queen Tara Stiles is the face of this app that gives a really basic intro to yoga and functional tools to incorporate it into your everyday routine. It cleverly lets you rate the poses as you go along as Too Easy, Just Right and Too Hard, allowing the app to build the best experience for you that it can. After the intro videos where you set your difficulty levels, you can then access free videos every few days, or alternatively pay a subscription of £5 per month to unlock more with unlimited access.
Do Yoga With Me (free!)
I only recently discovered this gem of a website, and I’m so glad I did! There are tons of classes on here from a wide variety of teachers. Most of the videos are broadcast from some kind of exotic rock face on the beach, but there are also some very useful technique videos as well as classes. One that I’ll definitely be trying is the 5 Steps to Wheel Pose – perfect if you want to move slowly into an asana you need more confidence building up to. And the best part is, it’s all completely FREE with no commitments involved. They do however rely on volunteer donations and subscriptions, but want to keep it free so that the content is accessible to all. I think we may have found a winner!
If you practice yoga at home, I’d love to hear which of the above services you’ve tried to help you focus – or maybe you use something totally different, like a book or DVD. Let me know what works for you, I’m always looking for new things to try (in case you hadn’t guessed) so hit me up!