ver the last few decades online yoga classes and tutorial videos have blown up and become some of the most common ways people begin their yoga journey. Still, a new format for learning comes with new challenges. If you aren’t going to a yoga studio, you’ll need all of your own equipment to be prepared. So what exactly do you need for online yoga as a beginner?
Beginners of online yoga need to make sure they have all the right supplies and have prepared themselves. For supplies, they will need plenty of space, a yoga mat and of course a screen. For personal preparation, beginners will need plenty of water, comfy clothes and bare feet.
If you’d like to begin your online yoga journey, you’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find a checklist of everything you need to get started along with our recommendations for the best online yoga classes. So, come along and let’s see if we can’t get you started!
Everyone Begins Their Yoga Practice Somewhere
There is a feeling amongst some beginners that if they practice yoga online, they aren’t really doing it right or they’re not getting the full experience. If you feel this way we’re here to tell you your concerns are completely normal but they probably seem like bigger issues than they really are. Especially when you’re just beginning.
While working directly with a coach in a studio is helpful for mastering your craft, it’s not the only place to start. Everyone starts somewhere, and more and more people are starting with online courses these days.
That’s because starting with an online course provides direct feedback but is not as expensive as going to a studio. Meaning, you can get a feel for whether or not yoga is something you want to incorporate into your life going forward, without risking as much if it doesn’t work out.
Further, if you feel like you need more in person help–especially as you advance–you can always transition to an in person yoga class.
The Essentials: Online Yoga for Beginners Checklist
If you’re serious about beginning online yoga, there’s some gear and supplies you’ll need for the most robust experience possible. Many of the items on this list are likely sitting around your house already, however, the ones that aren’t can be picked up at most department or sporting goods stores.
Before you start an online yoga course you want to make sure that you have each of the following:
Yoga Mat & Space to Move
While you can do yoga in the amount of space a yoga mat takes up, experts recommend that you have a minimum of a 10-by-10 space when practicing at home. This provides you with enough room to stretch out and practice all of the poses required to master the basics of yoga. With this space, there’s also a psychological effect that can make you feel more open and loose.
Additionally, you can have space to store your equipment and have it conveniently ready in the room where you practice.
Speaking of equipment, when selecting a yoga mat, there are several factors you should take into account to pick the best. In fact, if you want to be extra thorough you may want to get two yoga mats; one for balance and one for core workouts.
- Yoga mats for balance: For balance exercises thin yoga mats tend to work better. It’s recommended that you use a yoga mat that is 1/16 inch thick. For this one a rubber mat with a grippy texture will not only last longer than a vinyl one, but will be better for these balancing exercises.
- Yoga mats for core: For core exercises you want something a little bit thicker and spongeyer. For these workouts a ¼ inch, vinyl yoga mat will work best. The texture can be whatever you feel most comfortable with.
Staying hydrated is essential when you’re practicing yoga. This is particularly true when you’re first starting out and your body isn’t used to the intensive exercises involved in yoga. Having a convenient water bottle nearby can help you quickly rehydrate and stay on task when doing your workouts.
We should take this moment to mention that beyond just taking a drink when you’re thirsty, there are some simple tips that can help you more efficiently hydrate.
- Use a large refillable water bottle: These are not only better for the environment than plastic water bottles, but they also tend to be much larger. Some of them even contain features for filtering or keeping the water cold for hours. These should get you through any length class with less interruptions.
- Drink some water before your online course starts: If you’re doing a fast paced class it’s recommended that 30 minutes before your course starts, you drink eight ounces of water. You don’t have to–and shouldn’t–drink it all at once. Rather, slowly while you’re preparing.
- Take a few deep breaths to avoid overhydration: When you finish an exercise, you may immediately feel thirsty. If this happens after every exercise you could end up inadvertently overhydrating, which can lead to nausea and vomiting. If you take a few deep breaths after an exercise and you no longer feel thirsty it’s a sign you can wait.
It may not seem like a big deal when you’re thinking of doing yoga, but having barefeet is essential to doing the exercises properly. The reason is simple, if you’re wearing shoes–even house slippers–your balance will not be the same as it is in bare feet. Depending on the poses, warm ups and exercises you do, this can become a problem.
Further, practicing yoga in bare feet makes it easier to figure out whether or not you’re doing poses correctly. Though it may seem insignificant to a newbie, the way your feet are making contact with the mat is integral to doing many of the poses correctly.
Finally, there’s no reason not to but plenty of reasons why you should. In a studio you might have to worry about picking up skin viruses. That’s not very likely at home. At the same time, many people experience foot pain in their arches from doing yoga with something on their feet. Since you’re not risking the viruses, you might as well not risk the foot pain either.
Laptop, Tablet or Television
You’ll of course need a way to actually see an instructor and tutorials while you practice. You can use a laptop, tablet, television or really anything with a screen and preferably internet access. Depending on your situation, some of these technologies may be more effective than others.
If you don’t have enough space where your home PC sits, a laptop or a tablet may be better to use because you can move them into whatever room you need. While it is possible to use, we don’t recommend your smartphone, as the screen might be a little too hard to see while you’re actually practicing.
If you’re using DVD/Blu-ray guides, your TV will make a great spot. Just remember if you decide to go with pre recorded classes, instead of live online ones, you won’t get the feedback you’d get otherwise. Of course, if you have a smart TV you can get the best of both worlds by having a bigger screen and live access. You should also try some of the best yoga books for beginners!
A Great Online Yoga Class for Beginners
When it comes to online yoga classes, finding the right one can be intimidating, as so many have popped up over the last few years. How do you know that you’re getting a legitimate class and not just getting ripped off by a get-rich-quick scheme?
Well, the main way is to check out others’ reviews and recommendations. If an online yoga class is no good, it won’t take long before people are talking about it. Fortunately, we’ve already done this step for you and below we’ve curated our picks for the best online yoga classes for beginners.
- Glo: Glo offers online courses in meditation, pilates, yoga and fitness. They’re great for beginners because they allow you to go at your own pace. They teach in multiple styles, personalize your work out plan for you and offer thousands of live classes.
- Peloton: Peloton is excellent for beginners and seasoned practitioners alike. They offer a litany of classes everyday, covering multiple types of yoga alongside general exercise. Further, you can use their free trial to feel out those classes and find one with a pacing and style that fits your personality and needs.
- Amazon: Amazon offers a 30 day course titled, “30 Days of Yoga to a New You.” While it’s not as interactive as other online courses, it’s free with a prime account. Plus, you can pay two dollars per class without one. This makes it an excellent vehicle for trying out yoga without making any long term commitments.
Another option we didn’t put on the list because it’s not really a yoga class per se, is YouTube. To be clear, it shouldn’t supplement a full course, but it can act as a great vessel for getting a feel for things. Tutorial videos can give you a little vocabulary and allow you to try out a few basic poses and workouts. Here is the best yoga YouTube for beginners!
A Final Tip: Have Fun
Finally, we’d like to stress to you that yoga isn’t just about exercising your body, but nurturing your mind as well. If you put too much pressure on yourself to do it perfectly from the beginning you will be creating tension in your mind. That’s really the opposite of what yoga is supposed to do.
If you go in with the mindset of having fun and improving your quality of life on the other hand, you’ll come out less stressed than when you started. That kind of mindfulness will not only make the classes more fun, but it will also help you perform better on your poses and exercises. When we start stressing about whether or not we’re doing something right we tend to make mistakes.
At the end of the day, if you keep practicing consistently you will get better. It doesn’t matter if you start out as the person with the least amount of ability (of course you won’t), you will adapt. On the days where you just can’t get to where you want to be, remind yourself of this fact and keep having fun!
So Really, How Do You Get Into Online Yoga as a Beginner?
As a beginner you really just need enough space, a handful of supplies and a really good online course. You only need enough room for your yoga mat but if you can clear out a 10-by-10 area, that would be best. Supplies include your yoga mat, water bottle and a screen. Finally, there are dozens of online courses to try out. Just go with one that has a good reputation.
Just about everyone would benefit from a yoga class. If you’re more comfortable staying in the online space that’s ok!! There’s even Online Yoga Teacher Training available. Remember as you get started that even if it’s a little more intensive than you realized (a common reaction), it will get easier as you go and the results you see will make it all worth it. Yoga is known to not only help with your physical wellbeing but your mental as well. So which online yoga class are you going to try out?