I have been practicing Yoga for over 3 years now. But I still consider myself a beginner who is in need of guidance. I attended Ashtanga Yoga Montreal once a week for the first year. I had problems with my sciatica, which put me out of the gym for 9 months. In my quest for improvement, not only in my technique but also for my recovery, I started following YouTube videos to guide my yoga workouts. I cannot stress enough how thankful I am to those that post instructional and workout videos. Thanks to them I could improve my technique, fully recover from my injuries, and come back stronger and more flexible than ever in my mid-forties.
Having gone through over one thousand hours of video, I’ve decided to save you some time and highlight the ones that I’ve found most effective. At this point, It is also important to mention that I am not receiving any compensation from the YouTubers I mention in this article. I am just deeply appreciative of their good work.
One advantage of practicing at home is the quality of the breathing one can develop. It also allows you to create a silent and dimly lit room where you can experience openness and make all the poses and variations you want without thinking about how it might look to others. This allowed me to deeply focus and really accompany the movements with breath.
I am not saying that home practice could ever substitute the dynamism, energy and directions we can receive from a teacher in a group class, but I do it more as a complement to that practice. For example, for any given day that I do weights, HIIT, or jogging, I complete a 30 minute yoga session at home in order to recover, stretch and gain flexibility. Quite frankly, it is as if I am giving myself a massage. The days I do practice Yoga at any establishment (YMCA, Yoga studio, or private classes) I take the teachings for when I practice at home.
So, without further ado, here are the top 5 yoga YouTube teachers that help me get my daily dose of yoga goodness.
1. The Queen of YouTube Yoga: Fightmaster Yoga
Lesley Fightmaster has much more than a super cool last name. She is the most impeccable and probably most strict in terms of traditional Yoga practice. She has videos for all levels and even tutorials for several poses. She has videos that cater to the very beginner, a cool series of a 90 days Yoga challenge, and a new one this year of 30 days of Hatha Yoga. There are several convenient videos for back pain relief and sciatica. She is also the one I found that has a Yoga Studio that is most like Ashtanga Yoga.
Don’t let yourself be fooled by the sweetness of her voice; that woman really rocks. Her strength and flexibility are impressive and she has some of the most complex poses as well – catering to those at a very advanced level. My suggestion is to relax and respect your own limits – it was only when I started doing that that I could see an improvement.
One extremely good thing is the quality of her videos (filmed by her husband) where she constantly reminds you, as if you were right there in a class, of the things you need to focus on (your alignment, breathing, etc) so that every time you practice, you are aware of the things you must perfect.
Also, watch out for Lesley’s inspirational quotes. I found that they give us food for thought, allowing us to transfer the benefits of the practice from the mat to daily life.
2. The Guru of Strength and Zen attitude: FreeYoga TV by Stephen Beitler
This cool guy presents his videos with a touch of real Zen relaxation. He has one of the coolest Yoga videos I’ve ever seen on Upper Body and Body strength. His videos will also make you smile and breath and remind you to keep your pose, which could be extremely hard at times. However, you will definitely feel the benefits almost immediately. What I discovered with Stephen is how to relate Yoga with mind and spirit in the true sense. I have experienced and sense of inner well being through his videos. What I felt went beyond relaxation and mental peace. It is hard to describe it, but I would say I felt as if my muscles had worked out and my inner organs were working in perfect harmony. Incredibly flexible and strong, Stephen really gives you a well-rounded experience. This is the most meditative practice I have encountered.
3. Queen of Yoga convenience for daily life: Yoga with Adriene
What I love the most from Arienne is the convenient way in which she names her videos and the way that she plans her workouts. She is also a very prolific Yoga Youtuber, making it easy to find videos for just about anything. She has Yoga routines designed for actors, Cyclist, Yoga before bed, Yoga in bed, etc. She makes Yoga fun, more casual and very well adapted to daily life needs. I love doing the short Yoga in bed videos for the morning and evening, as well as her very good post-workout Yoga. It is incredible how this woman can relate to what you are feeling according to the video you choose. It is almost as she is there with you.
4. King of YouTube Yoga Workouf Yoga: Yoga with TIM by Tim Senesi
I can relate a lot with this extraordinary teacher. Yoga changed the outlook he had on life and he is looking for good health in the long term. Tim generally has 30, 40, and 60 minute classes along with tutorials and more. I love how this fantastic man can pack a full body workout in twenty something minutes. His videos are super convenient when you are short on time. This is my go-to teacher when I feel like working out through Yoga. His longer videos really make you exercise every cell in your body. I discovered him through Lesley Fightmaster and, oh boy, what a discovery. His flexibility series is impressive. Be careful, though, his workouts could be physically demanding, so take it easy. I like the way he works his way through the class, going from warm-up to strength poses. I also love that I could do his videos even as a beginner. He is an inspiration to continue the practice and to continue improving. I personally like his 30 days series. You should try it!
5. The Yogi for Modern life: Yoga by Candace
Packed with perfect moves and style, Yoga by Candance offers a great range of videos for every need. Perfectly fit for Yoga, it is almost impossible to do the poses as well as she does them, but don’t worry – she explains every move patiently. It is worth looking into her library of videos and start with the beginner series and work your way up. She offers plenty of short videos explaining poses, ab exercises and much more. These are great at any time of the day. Some are even 5 to 10 minutes long and are focused on a specific purpose. I personally love her abs and core series as well as her morning videos.
In addition, I’d like to add that she has a very soothing voice and that her movements are delicate and wild at the same time.
BONUS 1: Best Short and Complete Kundalini Yoga: Raw Kundalini Yoga with Yogi Emmanuelle
Coolest Kundalini Yoga video I have ever seen. In 34 minutes you get the complete package. You will feel the results in the wellbeing of your lungs and circulatory system, as well as how light and flexible your body will feel after the practice. I have this video saved in my computer because I do it so regularly. I wish Yogi Emanuelle had more videos like this one. It is a jewel.
BONUS 2: Best restorative/flexibility Yin Yoga by Yoga with Kassandra
When I feel destroyed, or even sick, I use this video. It is saved in my playlist. It is 40 minutes long and I do it in the evening after a long run during the day or when I feel too tired from the gym or from work. It not only makes you feel restored, but over time, it will improve your flexibility. In fact, it has several poses given to me in private classes and it works wonders to improve your posture.
I truly hope you will find these as helpful as I’ve found them over time. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to leave us a comment below. Stay healthy, my friends!
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