The first time I practiced yoga, I was fourteen years old. I was spending the night at a friend’s house, and we were rummaging through her parents’ collection of workout VHS tapes. We somehow thought that doing two, three, even four of these videos in sequence would magically transform our bodies overnight (perhaps this speaks to our deeper issue with body image, but that’s a story for another time). After working on abs for a while, we decided to put on a yoga tape.
I’m not going to lie – it was difficult. The concept of synchronizing my breath to movement was foreign. Even the most basic pose, downward facing dog, felt awkward and uncomfortable. We weren’t in the best of shape, so I was shaking, sweating and tripping over myself for the entire 60-minute sequence. To say I was sore the next day was an understatement. Yoga felt impossible.
Fast forward many years later, when I began practicing yoga as an adult. I started slow, went at my own pace, and studied proper form. My body didn’t transform overnight (if you find out how to do that, let me know!), but week after week I felt myself getting stronger and more flexible. I was calm and poised. Now, yoga felt awesome!
I wish I could say this is still the case, but I’ve fallen out of my practice. Daily life has gotten the best of me, and it’s been more than 6 months since I’ve attended a proper yoga class. Yikes! I have plenty of excuses: the studios are too far, too expensive, too advanced, too new-agey, not new-agey enough. The list goes on and on. Luckily, the Internet is bursting with free yoga videos that I can do at home any time of day or night. I don’t even have to shave my legs!
The best part is, there are videos out there for everyone, from the most basic beginner to those folks who make a handstand seem effortless. Wading through these free resources can be time consuming, so I’ve done some of the legwork for you. Read on for 6 ways to practice yoga for free! Namaste!
DoYogaWithMe.com A wonderful website with a large assortment of completely free yoga videos (a site search for beginner videos returned over 80 results). You are able to narrow down your search by level, style, and length, which is a huge plus when you know exactly what you’re looking for. There is a rating/review system in place, which is helpful in choosing what to do next and which videos to skip. As an added bonus, they have added a few guided meditations and breathing techniques, as well as tutorials on key yoga poses and adjustments. There are several teachers who produce content for the website, so you’re sure to find someone who suits your style. Tip: The homepage makes it look like an account is required, but just click “Yoga Classes” in the top menu bar and you’re in!
HooplaDigital.com Do you have a library card (if not, you seriously need to get one!)? If so, check out HooplaDigital.com. This is a website where you can “borrow” digital copies of books, videos, and music completely free! They have a great selection of yoga DVDs – the same types of DVDs you can buy for $14.99 on Amazon (goodbye, impulse buy!). To register, just grab your library card. That’s all you need! There is a catch, though: you can only borrow up to 8 titles per month, and you have access to each title for 72 hours. I would recommend browsing early in the day as most content has a “lending limit”. Tip: Yoga videos show up under “TV” and “Movies”.
MyFreeYoga.com This website sounds a little spammy, so I was skeptical at first. I was surprised to discover a huge selection of free yoga videos in a variety of styles: power yoga, hatha, kundalini, you name it! Have no idea what those terms mean? That’s okay! They have beginner’s yoga, too. A great feature is the ability to browse by mood or body part (neck, hips, etc.) – something that’s missing from many other sites. If you’re a yoga instructor, you can even publish your own videos. That means there are a variety of instructors and teaching styles, so you’re sure to find something that’s right up your alley!
YogaJournal.com YogaJournal is one of the biggest names in yoga – they have fancy conferences and everything! Fancy conferences I can’t afford, that is. Luckily, they have a small selection of free, short yoga videos online. These range from basic sequences to guided instruction into more advanced poses, as well as tips on how to get the most out of the basics. You can check out the videos here. If you’re someone who builds your own home practice (i.e., you practice without videos), OR if you think you might want to be that person, they have a really cool tool called Yoga Sequence Builder. You can browse poses by skill level and drag and drop to create your very own yoga practice. Combined with the free yoga pose index, you’ll be a seasoned yogi in no time!
Your local library! Confession: I am a huge advocate for local libraries (if you couldn’t tell already). They are amazing places with an abundance of free resources, including workout DVDs. If you think their stock is outdated, think again! I was surprised to find a vast, current selection at a small local branch. Not only can I check out multiple DVDs at one time (absolutely free, folks!), but it’s also a great way to experiment with different styles of yoga without the risk. Even if you only do the DVD one time (I may or may not be speaking from experience), you haven’t lost a penny. As an added bonus, you can usually keep the DVDs for 2 weeks and renew if you’d like them for longer.
Your community! Depending on where you live, your community could potentially be a great resource for free yoga classes. There are a couple of ways to go about finding these hidden gems, but I would begin by doing a simple Yelp search for local studios. Pay attention to which ones have the best reviews (you can narrow your search by distance, which assures you won’t be driving all over kingdom come for a free class). Once you have a list, visit each studio’s website or call, if that’s your thing. Chances are, they offer a free class for new members, or better yet, a free weekly community class. Score!
So, there you have it – a world of yoga at your fingertips, and you don’t need to spend a dime. There’s no need to shell out hundreds of dollars for lululemon yoga pants, either: you can practice in your pajamas! Now if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s time for child’s pose…