It's simple to work out at home with the help of online yoga tutorials

Yoga blogger Jessamyn Stanley. Pic: Rosa Chen Photography

Lorraine Courtney twists and bends with the best of the yoga vloggers.

I WORK online. I shop online. I chat online. Now I practice yoga online too.

This time last year, I went freelance and moved into a new apartment. 

I knew that I should scale back on my long-term habit of weekly yoga and pilates classes — I couldn’t afford it and wanted to find a way of keeping fit for less.

It is perfectly possible to do yoga at home. All you need is a mat and YouTube. 

The channel is full of limber yoga instructors right now who will have you swopping your Netflix binge for sun salutations.

Yoga with Adriene’ was the most searched workout on Google last year. 

Texas-based yoga teacher, Adriene Mishler, presents sequences in her signature Southern drawl that are heavy on the humour and she has clearly caught on with a massive audience. 

Her YouTube channel has over one million followers.

Lorraine Courtney, pictured at her home in Dublin working out with the help of online Yoga tutorials.
Lorraine Courtney, pictured at her home in Dublin working out with the help of online Yoga tutorials.

If you ever find yourself looking at celebrity yoga instructors and wondering where the rest of us normal-bodied women fit in, there’s Jessamyn Stanley. 

She has been featured on a few big-name outlets this year, from Lenny Letter to the New York Times, because her take on doing yoga as a bigger-bodied woman is so refreshingly honest. 

That’s the major bonus: there’s a YouTube yoga vlogger for everybody and every mood.

But is it possible to learn yoga without leaving your living room? 

A 2009 study published in the Annals of Behavioural medicine followed 205 inactive adults who were about to start an exercise programme. 

It found that people with a home exercise machine were 73 per cent more likely to start exercising.

However by the end of the year, they were also 12 per cent more likely to have quit than people in the study who did not have home equipment. 

Lorraine Courtney, pictured at her home in Dublin working out with the help of online Yoga tutorials.
Lorraine Courtney, pictured at her home in Dublin working out with the help of online Yoga tutorials.

This doesn’t mean a home exercise machine leads to less exercise though. 

If you’re too lazy to go to the gym, chances are you’re too lazy to put aside an hour from your day for exercise.

The study found that what matters is ‘self-efficacy’, that deep-seated belief that we really do have the power to achieve our goals. 

If this study is accurate it’s probably best to find a middle ground for yourself between practicing with an instructor and going fully online. 

For instance, you could attend one live yoga class every week and then use YouTube to find yoga workouts to follow on other days.

“YouTube has really great yoga footage from postures to full sequences,” says Clare Larkin, co-owner of [url=http://www.360hotyoga.ie/ThreeSixty Hot Yoga[/url] in Stillorgan.

Lorraine Courtney, pictured at her home in Dublin working out with the help of online Yoga tutorials.
Lorraine Courtney, pictured at her home in Dublin working out with the help of online Yoga tutorials.

“As well as the entertainment value of seeing these really impressive postures, YouTube can be a really useful tool to learn. I still have a certain degree of caution though. 

"YouTube is a great marketing tool, especially for something as visual as yoga, however, a lot of the impressive balances and stretches you can see in these vlogs, require a few years of frequent practice. 

"That’s not to say to disregard YouTube entirely, it’s good to try new postures but it’s important to know your own ability and also to understand the ability of the people in the video.”

Aoife Gallagher, 41, and a mum to two children under five used yoga vlogs to overcome her flexibility limitations. 

“I used to hide at the back of the classes, intimidated by everyone else, trying to get through poses I couldn’t force my body into,” she says.

Aoife found Stanley’s Everybody Yoga to be the perfect starting point. 

“You get eight yoga workouts that you can follow whenever you have time, without having to drive to a class or do them at fixed times.

“The presentation was really good and I used to dip in and out of the workouts whenever I had a few minutes to spare.”

Four weeks into my own yoga vlogging adventure and I’m confident about the fundamentals.

I’ve mastered the downward dog, the warrior pose and the tree pose. If I decide to return to yoga class it will only be for the social aspect. 

I’ve also found that yoga is something that I’ve managed to insert into my weekly routine.

It was tempting to skip yoga time altogether when my weekdays are already so crammed but working out on my living room’s fluffy mat meant that even if I only planned on doing a few minutes’ practice, I usually ended up finishing the workout. 

After practicing the basics for a month, I commit to Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga.

Her workouts are easy to follow, and all the usual suspects like mindful breathing, body-healing stretching and pain relief are included. 

There’s a massive variety too and videos cover everything from bloating, period pains and heartbreak. 

Adriene is also laugh-out-loud hilarious.

After a winter of yoga I’d love to tell you that I no longer roll my eyes at my boyfriend or get frustrated in supermarket queues but this is just yoga I’m practicing, not a miracle.

Top 10 yoga vloggers

1. Yoga With Adriene

The most Googled fitness trainer of 2015 has videos that cover everything from PMS to broken hearts. Adriene uses yoga as therapy and this is why we love her.

Level: Beginner to intermediate

2. EveryBody Yoga

Jessamyn Stanley is the plus-size yoga teacher and body positive advocate who smashes stereotypes and proves that anybody can fall for yoga.

Level: Mixed

3. Interval Yoga

Ideal for those who have already grasped the basics and are seeking more challenging moves.

Level: Advanced

4. Tara Stiles

Strala Yoga (it’s Tara’s own invention) is a movement system to try when you need to relax. Expect a mix of routines that recharge and tone you up at the same time.

Level: Intermediate to advanced

5. Yoga Journal

While this channel is no longer being updated, it will teach you all the basics. We love the variety on offer here.

Level: Beginner

6. Sarah Beth Yoga

Sarah is permanently upbeat and we promise she will cheer you up on even the most dismal days. You’ll also learn Hasa, Vinyasa and Power yoga.

Level: Intermediate to advanced

7. Do You Yoga

This channel has videos from a host of different instructors. The 30 Day Challenges are excellent and they even have a video for hungover yoga. No excuses here.

Level: Mixed

8. Yogasync

Yogasync is the kind of workout that will calm your mind right down. Just say ‘namaste’ and let the Aussie accent wash over you during these gentle sessions.

Level: Beginner

9. Fightmaster Yoga

We don’t always feel like rays of sunshine so here’s an option for the darker days. Strengthen up and sweat out the angst.

Level: Intermediate

10. Kino MacGregor

Kino breaks it all down into individual videos that are easy to follow. Best, she has a ‘Yoga For Children’ playlist if you want to get the kids stretching too.

Level: Beginner to intermediate


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