Yoga is an ancient practice focused on attaining peace and enlightenment through breathing exercises, holding specific poses, and meditation. However, many modern practitioners of yoga do it for the health benefits and as a method of relaxation and stress relief, rather than following it through with a view to attaining spiritual insight or heightened consciousness. Whatever your reason for practicing yoga, and whatever your skill level or starting knowledge, you can find a wealth of useful videos on the internet. These videos can teach you the beginning basics of yoga or help you to master more difficult poses.
Let’s start at the beginning. A great starting point are these two Introductions to Yoga, which explain the basic principles in a little more detail, and talk you through your first few sessions of yoga practice.
You will probably benefit from going over beginners videos several times, so that you can absorb all the information contained within them. If you are starting out from scratch, there is a great deal to take in all at once, so reviewing the video a second or third time will ensure you get the most benefit from it before you move on to more detailed instructional videos.
If you find that you don’t get along with strict or structured yoga classes, you may prefer a style of yoga known as Kundalini yoga, which is closely related to Hatha yoga, and focuses on unlocking energy within the body through breathing exercises and more simple body movements. This video features a full 30 minute Kundalini yoga session combining all the elements of a longer session into a short and effective introductory video which you can practice along with.
Yoga can also be extremely useful in weight loss and general fitness, when the movements are performed in quick succession or more difficult poses are included. Core strength can be greatly improved with many yoga positions, and muscles can be built up and maintained with this type of whole-body exercise. Lean, toned bodies are attainable with effort and persistence and the application of correct technique.
This one-hour video is part of a longer course on Yoga for Weight Loss, and it is a brilliant starting point for anyone looking to kick-start their weight loss and improve their overall health and level of fitness.
https://www.udemy.com/yoga-for-weight-loss/ (Video #1)
If you would prefer a shorter workout, the following video is a 20-minute session suitable for fitting in during your lunch break, before work, or whenever you have spare time and want to burn some calories and stretch out.
Moving on from these intermediate or more workout-based yoga sessions, there are a large number of foundation yoga classes working on improving flexibility and comfort with more fluid and linked poses, however these are not suitable for complete beginners. They build on a foundation of previous yoga knowledge and require you to be able to find and hold some difficult poses. Sivananda Flow is a classical sequence of poses to de-stress, relieve tension and stretch tight muscles and will benefit any Yogi; the video is a full hour of guided poses and movements.
For very advanced practitioners looking for a new challenge or seeking a routine to copy to broaden their knowledge and experience of yoga, there are also a large number of videos available on the internet. These videos can take many different forms. One particularly useful way to quickly and effectively improve your yoga knowledge and really get to grips with the full spiritual and physical aspects of yoga is to take an immersive course, which is where you stick strictly to a schedule of performing yogic poses and meditations over and over again, usually over a period of one month or more. The following video is an introduction to one such immersion schedule.
In contrast to this course-based approach there are also a large number of videos that just demonstrate extreme skill and control with advanced yoga – strong and well-practiced yogis can use these videos as goals, aiming to follow along as best as possible with the video, or they can use them as inspiration to watch and learn, observing the world’s leading yogis doing what they do best. This video shows Yogi Nora going through over an hour of continuous advanced yoga moves, which could be used as inspiration for producing your own routine.
Similar in difficulty to the previous video but shorter and featuring even greater displays of strength and control, is this video from a yoga school in Malaysia, where the yogi demonstrates expert control, extreme flexibility, superior strength and grace, and true mastery of the physical side of Asana yoga practice.
Yoga can also be extremely beneficial during pregnancy. A strong and calm body is better equipped for the rigors of childbirth, and the deep relaxation techniques explained in this next video will help with the aches and pains of pregnancy, relieve back pain and increase pelvic flexibility. It will also teach breathing techniques and confidence-boosting methods to help with preparation for birth.
https://www.udemy.com/prenatal-yoga-basic-class/ (Full Video, #10)
Just as yoga is helpful during pregnancy and before birth, it can be of particular worth to women who have recently given birth. Regaining strength in the abdominal and pelvic area, tightening up muscles that have been loosened by carrying the baby, and de-stressing for a few moments in the new hectic schedule of motherhood are just some of the benefits to be found in practicing post-natal yoga. Of course, the methods taught in this next video are particularly gentle and low-impact, taking into account the limitations of the body after labour. The class also features a few exercises that can be performed with your baby, to help you bond and connect together.
https://www.udemy.com/postnatal-yoga-basic-class/ (Full Video, #11)