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For those who are new to yoga, there are some benefits to trying it out from a livestream class when you’re stuck at home.
“The thing that’s really fun about it is it takes away that feeling of self-consciousness that a beginner can have walking into a yoga studio,” said Lisa Maria, National Workshop Director at Yogaworks, which is offering more than 100 free livestream classes per day on multiple YouTube channels.
The company launched into the livestream space with eight classes on March 18 as some states initiated stay-at-home restrictions amid the global pandemic. The number of livestream classes quickly scaled up as staff put in extra hours to get the project going. In the first couple of weeks, Yogaworks had 150,000 views, Maria said.
“We just felt it was super important to get it out there are soon as possible and give people the ability to stay connected to their teachers, stay connected to each other and really maintain their yoga practice, which is so important, in times like this,” Maria said. “Important all the time, but especially now when there’s so much uncertainty and stress.”
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Of course there are many free yoga classes online with just about every type of instructor you can imagine. (Adriene Mishler is one of the most popular with more than 6 million followers.)
For those who haven’t tried a yoga class before, Maria has some helpful tips.
Try out different styles of yoga
“Have an open mind, a sense of humor, and if you don’t like the style that you try, try a different one. Yoga has so many different practices; there’s something for everybody from slow and quiet to fast paced and vigorous and everything in between.
“Our Vinyasa and flow classes are really popular as well as our restorative classes because those are so great for quieting down. I know people have a lot of stress right now.”
The cool thing about having the videos stored on YouTube is that you can go back and repeat a part of the class you liked. Classes generally range from 55 to 70 minutes.
You don’t need special equipment
For those who don’t have a yoga mat, don’t worry. “Use whatever you’ve got,” Maria said, adding that a beach towel substitutes for a mat or just use the floor. “A lot of people don’t have yoga props at home. Typically in a class you might use yoga blocks or bolsters or straps or blankets.
“So if you’re at home practicing, use books or a step stool for blocks. Or use couch cushions or throw pillows for bolsters. And for your yoga strap, you can use a tie from a robe, you can use a scarf.”
Find a quiet space at home
“To really get the most out of live classes, definitely find some privacy if you can,” Maria said. “Set up your device ahead of time, so that’s good to go.”
She adds that a teacher from one of her recent classes recommended a Spotify playlist of music to accompany the class. Making your place peaceful and comfortable could be as simple as lighting a candle.
“Another thing that was really fun – the teacher was chatting back and forth; students were chatting in the comments. It was a really great way to create community and interaction,” Maria said.
There’s something for everyone
“Anybody who loves yoga wants the people around them to try it,” Maria said. “And you may not be able to drag them to a class, but you can certainly pull them into the kitchen or dining room, wherever you’re going to be practicing along with your device, and say, ‘Hey try this with me for a few minutes.’ So I’m sure there are people experiencing yoga for the first time that way as well as seasoned practitioners who are just looking for a place to connect.”