About the channel: Jessamyn Stanley is a yoga instructor, a body activist, and a self-titled "fat femme" on a mission to defy stereotypes about who can do yoga. Her channel has mostly short videos on how to do poses, but she also has a couple classes and inspirational talks. She's been featured all over, from our site to Glamour to Cosmo, and for good reason: She's a total badass.
When I started the quest for the best free online yoga resources, I set some criteria to quickly narrow my search. I wanted videos that were about an hour long to mimic the length of the studio classes I was used to. I was looking for videos that were an athletic challenge but also provided good routines for relaxation. And since I was new to my yoga practice, I wanted videos that broke down the basics of every pose.
We’ve selected yoga videos for some of the most common poses you’ll encounter in a yoga class. Each pose has an English name and a Sanskrit name—in these videos you may hear just one name, or both. The first nine poses collectively comprise the yoga sequence Sun Salutation A, which is a set sequence of postures often found at the beginning of a yoga class intended to warm up the body.
Yoga for Dummies is a six-part series of 10-minute videos. Put them together, and you’ve got a great starter yoga class that eases you into your practice. West’s channel has dozens of videos to choose from. I’d recommend starting with her beginner playlist, especially Namaste Episode 101. The 11 videos on the playlist are some of the best explanations of poses that I’ve come across. And West’s personable nature will keep you coming back.
While in the pose, find balance by maintaining mountain pose alignment. Squeeze your glutes and engage your left quad muscle. Engage your abs and lengthen your spine. Keep your shoulders pressed down away from the ears. To help with balance, press your right foot into the left inner thigh with the same effort as the inner thigh presses into the foot.
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The name of the video really says it all. Texas-based yogi Adriene Mishler directs you through a series of poses that works the lower body and gets you one step closer to the elusive "yoga booty," all while clearly having a blast. She serves up the sequence with a side of goofiness—you’ll feel like you’re taking class with one of your funnier friends. And laughing totally counts as a workout, right? (via Yoga with Adriene)
Crank Up Core Strength: an athletic, dynamic routine with some arm balances that will tire you out. I think it’s best suited for someone who is already in good shape but is trying out yoga for the first time. The flow requires two blocks, which can stabilize you in poses when one hand is on the ground or help improve overall alignment. Until I got a great set of cork blocks, I used big, heavy books instead.
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