How to Get Started with Yoga: Free Yoga Lessons on YouTube

If you’ve dipped even a toe into the yoga world late­ly, you’ve per­haps noticed con­tro­ver­sies rag­ing from East to West about the Hin­du prac­tice of med­i­ta­tive pos­tures (āsanas). Is yoga reli­gious? If so, does prac­tic­ing it in schools vio­late reli­gious free­doms; does the Indi­an government’s endorse­ment of yoga slight Indi­an Mus­lims? Is yoga an ancient spir­i­tu­al prac­tice or mod­ern inven­tion? Is West­ern yoga “cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion,” as both cam­pus groups and Hin­du groups allege? Is there such a thing as “Real Yoga” and is “McYo­ga” killing it?

These ques­tions and more get debat­ed on a dai­ly basis online, on cam­pus, and in state­hous­es and coun­cils. No one is like­ly to find res­o­lu­tion any time soon. How­ev­er, you may have also heard about the health ben­e­fits of yoga, trum­pet­ed every­where, includ­ing Har­vard Med­ical School and the Mayo Clin­ic, and you can safe­ly ignore the pol­i­tics, and learn the phys­i­cal prac­tice in any num­ber of ways.

Like mil­lions of oth­er peo­ple, you may find that it helps you “fight stress and find seren­i­ty” as Mayo writes; or become a “mind­ful eater,” boost “weight loss and main­te­nance,” enhance fit­ness, and improve car­dio­vas­cu­lar health, accord­ing to Har­vard.

Var­i­ous teach­ers and schools will make oth­er claims about yoga’s prac­ti­cal and spir­i­tu­al effects. These you are free to take on faith, expe­ri­ence your­self, or check against sci­en­tif­ic sources. And when you’re ready to get out of your head and con­nect your mind and body, try a yoga class. Skip the gym and Lul­ule­mon. You don’t even have to leave your home or get out your wal­let. We have sev­er­al free online yoga class­es rep­re­sent­ed here, from rep­utable, expe­ri­enced teach­ers offer­ing pos­es for begin­ners and for expe­ri­enced yogis, and for all sorts of ail­ments and types of phys­i­cal train­ing.

The first, Yoga with Adriene, opens things up gen­tly with “Yoga for Com­plete Begin­ners,” at the top, a 20 minute “home yoga work­out” that requires no spe­cial props or pri­or expe­ri­ence. From here, you can browse Adriene’s Youtube chan­nel and find playlists like the 38-video “Foun­da­tions of Yoga” and 10-video “Yoga for Run­ners” sequence, fur­ther down. You can also read a pro­file of Adriene in The New York Times.

Should Adriene’s approach strike you as too casu­al with the yog­ic tra­di­tion, you might find the instruc­tion of Sri K. Pat­tab­hi Jois more to your lik­ing. His one-hour “Pri­ma­ry Series Ash­tan­ga” video, above, opens with this dis­claimer: “The fol­low­ing video is NOT an Exer­cise Video. It is intend­ed for edu­ca­tion­al, artis­tic, and spir­i­tu­al pur­pos­es only.” The text also warns that Mas­ter Sri K. Pat­tab­hi Jois’ yoga prac­tice is taught “to six high­ly expe­ri­enced stu­dents,” as will become clear when you watch his video.

Oth­er courses—from yoga video series by Kino Yoga and Yoga Jour­nal—ges­ture to both ends of the pure­ly fit­ness-based and pure­ly spir­i­tu­al-based spec­trum, and both have begin­ner series, above and below. It’s up to you to decide where you stand in the yoga wars, if any­where. You’ll find, if you look, no short­age of reportage, think pieces, aca­d­e­m­ic arti­cles, and rants to fill you in. But if you want to learn the phys­i­cal prac­tice of yoga, you needn’t look far to get start­ed. In addi­tion to the resources here, take a look at some curat­ed lists of online yoga class­es from New York Mag­a­zine, Huff­in­g­ton Post, and Elle UK.  Thanks go to our Twit­ter fol­low­ers, who gave us some help­ful hints. If you have your own tips/favorites, please drop them in the com­ments sec­tion below.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Moby Lets You Down­load 4 Hours of Ambi­ent Music to Help You Sleep, Med­i­tate, Do Yoga & Not Pan­ic

Stream 18 Hours of Free Guid­ed Med­i­ta­tions

Dai­ly Med­i­ta­tion Boosts & Revi­tal­izes the Brain and Reduces Stress, Har­vard Study Finds

Son­ny Rollins Describes How 50 Years of Prac­tic­ing Yoga Made Him a Bet­ter Musi­cian

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.