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6 Amazing Sites for Streaming Yoga Classes

Finding the perfect fitness class can turn you into Goldilocks. You need the right location, the right class, the right instructor, the right time … It’s not that you’re being picky — the more convenient the location and the more you like the class, the more likely you are to keep going.

This is where streaming and on-demand classes can be just right. There are a slew of sites and apps today, and, for the price of one class (or less!), you can get a month’s subscription to try a wide range of workouts, teachers and levels — all from the comfort of home. Even better, it’s a great workout option when it’s so sweltering that going outside is like stepping on the sun.

These sites can be particularly great for yoga, because beginners can try various styles and more experienced yogis can challenge themselves to take harder classes or focus on a goal, like nailing an arm balance or building strength.

Whether you have never done downward facing dog or you can do sun salutations with your eyes closed, check out these six sites to discover the yoga that speaks to you:  

1. YOGAGLO
$ 18/month

Boasting more than 4,000 classes and world-famous instructors such as Elena Brower, Jason Crandell, Tiffany Cruikshank and Kathryn Budig, YogaGlo is bound to have something for everyone. Each day the site gives you recommended classes based on those you’ve already taken. Or you can search by duration (5–120 minutes), 11 styles, five levels, specific body parts and focuses and teachers. Once you find a class you like, roll out your mat or add it to your list to watch later. The videos are actual recorded classes, so it’s almost like you’re there with everyone else — instructors may even give time to play with inversions near the wall or break down a pose during class.

Be sure to check out: Programs, which are focused around a goal like stress relief, strength or flexibility and vary from 1–3 weeks. You select the days and times you want to do each class and receive email reminders to help you commit.

2. YOGAIA
$ 19.99/month

Yogaia’s library of classes is built off of its live videos, so it’s almost like having a private session. Since there isn’t a search function for recorded classes, the best way to find your class is to check out the collections: de-stress, abs, beginners, energize, workshops, for busy yogis and advanced. You can search live classes by time length and level, but not by style of yoga. Know that the company is Finnish, so don’t be surprised that many of the instructors have European accents.

Be sure to check out: Live streaming classes. If you choose, you can have your webcam on for the chance of a shoutout during class!

3. YOGATODAY
$ 15/month

The backdrops for YogaToday’s videos make every video worth watching. Most are filmed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, so the instructor is often in a field with trees or mountains behind them. There is another person practicing alongside the instructor, who guides you both. Classes on this site have the fewest options to sort from on this list, with eight instructors, six styles, eight focuses and seven target areas. You can also find videos breaking down individual poses as well as challenges, which are videos grouped by themes including beginners, athletes, energy balancing and weight loss.

Be sure to check out: The meditation videos. Some guide you through seated meditations, others offer meditations with a gentle sequence to follow, perfect if you find it hard to sit still.


READ MORE > 5 STREAMING WORKOUT CLASSES TO TRY AT HOME


4. YOGADOWNLOAD
$ 18/month unlimited

If you like options, YogaDownload is for you. Pick from 22 styles, a slew of teachers, durations of less than 5 minutes and up to 80, four levels, four intensities and a range of focuses — from waking up to cardio to specific body parts to peak poses. You can add a video to your favorites, wish list or calendar, and also make notes, but the best thing is members can rate videos, which makes picking a class easier. Some instructors teach solo, some have demonstrators and some even use music.

Be sure to check out: The charity classes — 100% of sales from those classes go to the Give Back Yoga Foundation, which helps certified teachers share yoga therapy with underserved populations.

5. YOGA INTERNATIONAL
$ 14.99/month

Classes on this site range from 5 minutes to 90, with 20 different styles. However, there are only three level options, and the only way to learn more about a class is to click through, which can be time-consuming to find the one you want to take at that moment. While you may not recognize as many teachers’ names, they are all certified and you’ll find that you don’t need to be a “celebrity” to be a good instructor. You can also watch workshops, which range from one video to series of videos on advanced yoga techniques, healthy eating, pain relief and more.

Be sure to check out: The articles on meditation, pranayama (breathwork), chakras and holistic health.


READ MORE > ON MY MAT: INSIDE THE MIND OF A YOGA TEACHER


6. GAIA
$ 9.95/month

Gaia allows you to pick from 17 different styles of yoga, including ashtanga, hatha, restorative, vinyasa and beginner. You can also select your level (beginner to advanced), length (15–60+ minutes) and a focus such as a body part or yoga for athletes, energy or sleep. In addition to classes, there are tutorials that break down specific poses or techniques, like jumping back from a seated position to chaturanga. Plus longer workshops help you learn the tricks to things like arm balances, inversions and backbends. And for those interested in taking a deeper dive into the other facets of yoga, beyond the physical asana, there are Yoga Talks videos. Gaia also boasts some of the top instructors such as Amy Ippoliti, Annie Carpenter, Dana Trixie Flynn and Seane Corn. However, it can feel a bit odd following the videos, because the instructor guides you via a voiceover — they aren’t actually speaking as they do the sequence.

Be sure to check out: Yoga at Work for quick sequences you can do to ease the tension of sitting at a computer for hours.

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Yoga Stretches for Healthy Hips | Five-Pose Yoga Fix

Desk jockeys and jocks, rejoice. If you log hours at the office, run, bike or walk, you probably have tight hip flexors — the muscle responsible for lifting the leg, drawing the knee to the chest and moving you front to back and side to side. You know, all the things you want your legs to do.

Loosening your hips can keep you mobile, ease back pain, improve circulation in your legs and simply feel good. In yoga, opening the hips is often connected with an emotional release as well. Because our hips stabilize us in our everyday life, yogis believe we store negative emotions there. Whether you feel this connection or not, stretching the hips is a great way to unwind.

1. BOUND ANGLE

This stretches the inner thighs, groin and knees. Make the pose more accessible by sitting on a blanket or with your back against a wall.

The move: Start in a seated position with legs extended. Then bend your knees, bringing the soles of your feet together. Pull your heels as close to your body as is comfortable and let your knees drop toward the floor. Press the outer edges of your feet together and use your hands to gently open the feet like the pages of a book.

To come out of bound angle, gently draw your knees together, straighten your legs and give them a little shimmy.

2. HALF LORD OF THE FISHES

Besides stretching the hips, this twist opens the back. If you can’t keep both hips on the ground, straighten the bottom leg.

The move: Sit on the floor or the edge of a blanket with your legs extended. Cross your right leg over left so your right knee points to the ceiling and your right foot sits outside your left knee. You can keep your left leg straight with your foot flexed or bend your left leg so your left foot rests near the right hip. Try to keep both sits bones on the ground.

Inhale, elongate your spine, and stretch your left arm overhead. Exhale and twist to the left, releasing your left hand to the floor behind you. Inhale and stretch your right arm overhead. Exhale and twist, bringing your right elbow to rest against the outside of your right knee. Continue to find length through the torso with each inhale, being conscious not to collapse through the chest. Hold for 3–5 breaths and switch sides.

3. LIZARD LUNGE

If your hips could use a little extra love — and whose can’t — lizard is for you. The pose opens the hips, hip flexors, groin and hamstrings.

The move: From down dog, step your right foot forward between your hands. Walk your foot to the outside edge of the mat and turn your toes out slightly. Bring both hands and arms inside your right leg. You can stay up on your palms or deepen the stretch by lowering down to your forearms. If you’re on your hands, make sure your palms are directly under your shoulders and gently press your right knee into your upper bicep. If you’re on your forearms, make sure your elbows are under your shoulders and gently press your right knee into your right shoulder. Press your left heel back, keeping your left leg engaged. Keep your gaze forward so your neck stays long. Hold the pose for up to a minute. Then come to the palms of your hands, heel-toe your right foot back to center, and press back to down dog. Repeat on the other side.


READ MORE FIVE-POSE YOGA FIXES

> Core Power
> Desk Dwellers
> Post-Run Stretches


4. PIGEON

Most people have a love-hate relationship with this pose, which really stretches the thighs, psoas and groin.

The move: To come into full pigeon, begin in down dog. Step your right foot forward, placing your shin on your mat so your right knee is behind your right wrist. Eventually, you may be able to rest your shin parallel to the top edge of your mat, but most of us make a diagonal with our leg so our right foot is near our left hip.

Lower your back leg and hips to the ground. Walk your back leg out so it extends directly behind your hip. Press the top of your left foot evenly into your mat.

Walk your hands to the mat next to your hips. Square your hips, making sure you’re not dipping to one side or the other. If you find there’s a gap between one hip and the floor, tuck a block or blanket under that glute for added support.

Deepen the pose by folding forward on an exhale. You can rest on your forearms or place your forehead on the mat.

If you have particularly tight hips, begin with a variation in a chair. Come to the edge of your chair and cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Gently press your right thigh toward the ground and stay long in the spine. Hold for 3–5 breaths and switch sides.

5. HAPPY BABY

This pose, a natural for babies, stretches the groin, releases the back and calms the mind.

The move: Lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest. Reach for the outsides of your feet or shins, depending on your flexibility, and open your knees slightly wider than your hips. Stack each ankle directly over the knee, flex through your heels, and press your tailbone into the earth. Hold the pose for 5–10 breaths before releasing your feet back to the earth.


GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT YOGA SESSION

> Women’s Yoga Tops
> Women’s Yoga Pants
> Women’s Yoga Bras
> All Women’s Yoga & Studio Gear


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On My Mat: Inside the Mind of a Yoga Teacher

Yoga is a powerful antidote for stress and anxiety because it grounds us in the present moment. Practicing mindfulness — and presence — on our mat helps clear out the constant mental chatter that incessantly competes for our attention. Simply put: Yoga quiets the mind.

Our “monkey mind” is constantly pulling us into the past (i.e. worrying about an email we got from our boss or obsessing about an expired relationship) or yanking us into the future (i.e. stressing out about a big presentation at work or wondering what’s for dinner). Practicing presence offers us a timeout from our mental load and gives us peace of mind.

Most days I achieve presence on my mat by focusing on my breath, my physical alignment in each posture and by tracking my physical sensations.

But do random thoughts ever filter in? Absolutely.

Last week, I actively kept track of my thoughts on my mat by writing them down immediately afterward, which was quite a revelatory experiment. I discovered my ego is alive and well, and I have a major inner critic who sometimes derails me.

Here goes…

MONDAY ON MY MAT

Right before class starts: “I’m so freaking tired. I hope we start off laying on our backs.”
1 minute in: “Damn. We’re starting seated.”
15 minutes in: “Why does my body feel so stiff and sluggish today?”
30 minutes in: “I’m so frustrated that my body is not cooperating right now.”
45 minutes in: “Cut yourself some slack, you just had knee surgery a month and a half ago and your body is still healing.”
60 minutes in: “I wonder if the other people in class will think I’m lazy if I take an early savasana?”
63 minutes in: “zzzzz…”

TUESDAY ON MY MAT

5 minutes in: “Hopefully I’ll feel stronger today, than yesterday.”
30 minutes in: “Rock on. I nailed that handstand. I’m crushing this class!”
60 minutes in: “Spoke too soon. Ego check. Practice what you preach and remember that yoga is not a competition — not with anyone else and not with yourself.”
75 minutes in: “I can’t wait to get home and see my dogs.”

WEDNESDAY ON MY MAT

Took the day off from practicing to rest my body. Briefly questioned whether I was being lazy or simply practicing self-care. Landed on self-care.

THURSDAY ON MY MAT

5 minutes in: “Bummer. I can already tell I’m not going to like this class.”
20 minutes in: “That was an odd sequencing choice. I wonder if the teacher is just making this up as he goes along.”
35 minutes in: “This teacher literally has no idea what he’s teaching.”
45 minutes in: “I wish I had noise-canceling headphones. This playlist is making my ears bleed.”
46 minutes in: “Wow. Who is this inner asshole that has taken over my body? Seriously. Why am I being so critical today?”
60 minutes in: “Gut check. Where are these judgments coming from? Humble yourself. Even if I don’t love the class, I can still learn something from it. Just breathe.”
70 minutes in:” I really hope the teacher doesn’t massage my head during savasana. Those hands have spent the last hour touching everyone else’s sweat — and I know he is not using hand sanitizer.”
71 minutes in: “Ugh. He’s touching me. Do your best to look peaceful.”
72 minutes in: “Darn. I guess I’m just going to surrender to the fact that my inner asshole has taken up residence today.”

FRIDAY ON MY MAT

5 minutes in: “Inhale and exhale.”
15 minutes in: “Where can I create more space and expansion in my body?”
45 minutes in: “This pose feels so incredibly good in my body right now. Keep breathing”.
75 minutes in: “I am so very grateful for this practice.”

The takeaway? Practicing presence is the practice. Thoughts will always filter in. That is the way our brain is wired.


READ MORE FROM LIZ ARCH

> A Day in the Life of a Yoga Teacher
> 10 Things Your Yoga Teacher Secretly Wishes You’d Do
> Happiness Is Finding Joy in the Little Things


The task is becoming the observer and noticing when our thoughts pull us out of the present moment — catching ourselves when we’ve wandered off and making the conscious choice to bring ourselves right back. There will inevitably be days when we’re cranky and that energy follows us onto our mat. When that happens, I remind myself that when I’m judging others, it’s rarely about them and almost always about me. The things we judge most in others are usually what we judge most harshly in ourselves. This recognition almost always anchors me back into kindness and compassion. And when all else fails, remember that simply showing up on your mat is always enough.

This is how I attempt to achieve presence on the mat — every day is different. How do you stay present?


GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT YOGA SESSION

> Women’s Yoga Tops
> Women’s Yoga Pants
> Women’s Yoga Bras
> All Women’s Yoga & Studio Gear


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Yoga for Core Power | Five-Pose Yoga Fix

Sure, you may know that building core strength improves balance and can alleviate low-back pain, but the real reason we quiver through plank is because it tones and defines our abdominal muscles. While almost every yoga pose engages the core in some way, these five poses and variations will fire up the abdominals, obliques and back.

Before you begin, take a few moments in easy seated pose to clear your mind and focus on your breath. Then, bring your hands to your belly, take a deep inhale and feel your stomach expand. Exhale, and fully engage the core as if you were trying to get your belly button to kiss your spine. Hold onto that engagement with every exhale throughout this short practice.

CAT/COW WITH ABDOMINAL WORK

Cat and cow are a match made in yogic heaven. Cat stretches the back and strengthens the abdominals. Cow opens the chest and strengthens the back. Together, they warm up the spine and relieve back and neck tension. Add this abdominal variation, and you’ll warm up the core even more.

The move: Take 3–5 rounds of cat/cow to warm up the spine. Find a neutral spine and, as you inhale, extend the right arm and left leg in opposite directions. As you exhale, pull the right elbow toward the left knee as you round the spine in cat. Inhale and lengthen the arm and leg in opposite directions. Repeat 3–5 times, then switch sides.

SCORPION PLANK

Plank is a total-body strengthener that works the upper body, back and core. This variation takes it to a whole new level.

The move: Press up to plank on your hands. Hold here for five breaths then move into scorpion plank. Inhale, bring your right knee to the outside of your right elbow. Exhale, send the right foot back. Inhale, bring your left knee to the outside of your left elbow. Exhale, send the left foot back. Repeat 3–5 times on each side.

SIDE PLANK CRUNCH

Side plank is a core crusher, toning the abs, back and oblique muscles. Adding a crunch adds a whole lot of oomph.

The move: Open to side plank on your left (with your right hand supporting you). If your wrists are weak or tired, come down onto your forearm. Hold here for five breaths and then add a crunch. As you inhale, lift the top leg, bend the knee, and draw it toward your top elbow. Exhale and straighten the leg, inhale to crunch in. Repeat 3–5 times. Rest in child’s pose and repeat on the other side.


READ MORE 5-POSE YOGA FIXES

> Yoga for Better Sleep
> Yoga for Allergy Relief


BOAT TWIST

Boat is the ultimate core pose. It works the abdominals, the back, the oblique muscles, the hips and thighs. It improves balance, aids digestion and will hopefully make you feel strong and powerful.

The move: Come into a seated position, bend your knees and plant your feet on the floor. Gently hold onto the backs of your thighs and lean back slightly. Lengthen through your spine and pull your abdominals in to avoid collapsing in your chest. Lift both feet so they create a straight line between your heels and knees. You can hold onto your thighs or let go, extending your arms out parallel to your legs. Keep your chin off your chest, and keep your abdominals engaged. Hold here for five breaths.

Take it up a notch with a twist. Extend the arms out in front of you, palms touching. Inhale here and, as you exhale, twist to the right, taking your hands to the outside of you right knee. Inhale to center and exhale to the left. Repeat 3–5 times on each side.

LOCUST

This backbend strengthens the spine, opens the shoulders and chest and improves posture.

The move: Start lying on your belly with your forehead on your mat, arms by your sides and legs extended behind you. As you inhale, lift up your head, chest, arms and legs. Concentrate on lengthening your spine rather than how high you can lift. Keep your gaze forward so that you avoid compressing your neck.

Deepen your chest and shoulder opening by interlacing your hands behind your back and pressing your knuckles toward your heels. Or increase the work by taking your arms by your ears like super yogi. Hold your variation for five breaths. Release into child’s pose.


GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT YOGA SESSION

> Women’s Yoga Tops
> Women’s Yoga Pants
> Women’s Yoga Bras
> All Women’s Yoga & Studio Gear


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