June 21 is International Yoga Day, celebrating the ancient fitness routine. If you’re new to yoga, want to find out more about it, or give it a whirl without paying any fees, check out these sites and apps.
Yoga often has a spiritual and holistic connotation to it, and while some schools practice that, we will be focusing mainly on the physical practices involved in yoga. If you want to learn about the mental or spiritual aspects, there are enough guides on the internet.
Disclaimer: You’ll often read or hear about yoga poses, or asanas, that can help with body ailments like backaches, migraines, etc. While they might be effective, you should consult a medical practitioner before doing any exercise that can aggravate pre-existing conditions.
1. Vinyasa Flow Yoga (Web): Free Beginner’s Course
Esther Ekhart is one of the most respected names in online yoga teachers, and the founder of EkhartYoga. Her programme for beginners is often recommended as something to try online before you head out to a class, so that you are acquainted with the basics of yoga.
Ekhart teaches Vinyasa Yoga, a more modern form that relies heavily on the synchronization of breath and movements. This five-part course will take you through the foundational poses of yoga that you are bound to learn in most classes. The first two courses are short, while the last three are longer.
The idea is to do a class about three or four times a week, and move on to the next class when you’re comfortable to it. The last class is a full session, so ease into it, don’t rush. It’s the ideal class for beginners to get into yoga for free.
2. Yoga With Kassandra (YouTube): Best New YouTube Yoga Channel
YouTube is a great place to learn yoga, with several channels offering different types of classes. Among the newer names that is increasingly getting more popular is Yoga With Kassandra, which mainly focuses on Vinyasa Yoga and Yin Yoga.
Yin Yoga is another helpful form for beginners to learn yoga, as it relies on holding positions for extended amounts of time rather than strenuous activities or impossible stretches. Kassandra’s style is easygoing and accessible for beginners. That said, you shouldn’t just jump into the latest video.
Instead, visit the Playlists section of Yoga With Kassandra to find different programs you can follow. There are yoga classes for the beginner level, or you can sort by style, focus of improvement, or video length.
Apart from Vinyasa and Yin Yoga, Kassandra has tutorials on other styles too, such as Power Yoga and Hatha Yoga. Graduate to those only after you’ve tried the core styles first.
3. Do You Yoga (Web): 7 Free Month-Long Beginner Courses
Do You Yoga is a yoga-based fitness community with courses for different practices from different teachers. While most of these are paid programmes, there are seven free courses for an introductory month to yoga.
The courses include a beginner’s 28-day guide, a men’s 30-day challenge, a bikini body challenge, a meditation program, a 30 days of yoga challenge, advanced level pilates, and a guide to slow Vinyasa. You will need to register to access each course, and get it delivered to your inbox.
The good news is that you can check out the entire month-long package before you commit to doing it. This way, you know what to expect in the next day’s email and are ready for it. Each class is a 15-20 minute video lesson from the teacher.
By letting you try different teachers and techniques for a whole month, Do You Yoga lets you get a real feel of what online yoga tutorials are going to be like. At the end of the 30 days, feel free to do it again or pay for a premium course.
4. Down Dog (Android, iOS): Yoga Voice and Video Coaching App
Down Dog is a yoga app with a focus on asanas that aim to provide some relief in back pain and strengthen your back as well. It borrows its name from the famous Downward Facing Dog yoga pose.
The app has a collection of different guided yoga sessions for the kind of exercise you’re looking for. Choose the level, type, length, and how long you want to stay in the final resting posture. Once you’ve picked, Down Dog will connect to the internet and load a video accordingly.
Even without watching the video, you can continue to listen to Down Dog for a voice-guided yoga session. If you want, you can skip the video entirely or only download images. You can also customize the voice, background music, and pace.
In case you have a few favorites or expect to be without internet, Down Dog allows you to download and save a few videos. The app also maintains an automatic log of your sessions.
5. SunUps (Android, iOS): Sun Salutation Yoga Guide and Tracker
The Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskara, is the cornerstone of yoga. It’s a complete body fitness yoga module or routine that consists of 12 different poses. Done in the right succession, sun salutations are considered a full-body exercise.
SunUps has everything you need to become a regular practitioner of this module. An image-based voice guide will teach you how to do the 12 steps of Sun Salutation. You can also learn the exercises from any YouTube video, as it is one of the most popular forms of yoga.
Once you know how to do it, choose between the different styles and modes. You can choose the number of sets you want to do, some background music, and voice guides in different languages. As you get better at it, the guides will speed up, till you finally move to tracking without guides.
SunUps offers to track how many sun salutations you perform in a single session. It even maintains a streak on a calendar, encouraging you to stick to the habit so that you don’t break the chain.
Other No-Equipment Workouts
The biggest benefit of yoga is that you don’t need any special equipment or even a gym membership. You can do it in the comfort of your home, outdoors under the sun, or even in the office.
Such no-equipment workout apps are some of the best ways to stay fit on a budget. It’s why we recommended Namasketch to learn yoga through GIFs and audio, but you should also check out the other options to get fit.