I went back to yoga class today, for the first time in almost three years. I honestly can’t believe it has been that long since I stepped into a studio to practice, I still don’t quite know how that happened. Since 2005 yoga has been an integral part of my life. I started teaching in 2010, and it changed the course of my career completely. However in 2016 I was tired, injured and needed a break. That short break happened just before I fell pregnant, moved across to the other side of Sydney and then had Freya. Seamlessly two months turned into three years, and along with the teaching break the chronic migraine development brought with it a crippling anxiety about getting to class at all. I was worried about the state of my body, my practice, and how I felt I ‘should’ be as a yoga teacher. Thankfully I overcame this today and the result was delightful - a slow and gentle yin practice that left me glowing.
During my time out from face to face yoga though, I did keep practicing. I created my own sessions, kept it simple, read from cherished books and of course - headed online. We are so fortunate to live in an age where we can access amazing movement resources online. That said, it can be a little intimidating to start searching for them and to know which ones will be worth the time and money.
Today, buzzing from yoga myself, I thought perhaps it might be helpful for me to share 8 my favourites for you to bookmark should you find yourself with an afternoon free and wanting a little home workout. There are 2 bonus Pilates mentions in here too, just for fun. None of these are affiliates by the way, just links I thought you might enjoy.
Yoga on YouTube
Let’s start with YouTube, as there are some great free classes on there. Number one is easy, no YouTube yoga list would be complete without mentioning Yoga with Adrienne. Her popularity is totally understandable - these videos are easy to follow, fun and generally manageable. If you are feeling a bit tired or just starting out I recommend picking an easy flow like yoga for beginners or another short and sweet session.
Tara Stiles is another big name with a vast library of classes to try. I find she does a lot of inverted poses (head below heart) which don’t always work for me, but I liked this basic breathing class.
Chair yoga is a great accessible way to practice when your movement range is limited. This class by Yoga with Kassandra is a nice fresh and young approach to the concept
If you haven’t tried yin yoga then there are a few practices on YouTube including this one.
There are so many other yoga videos to try on YouTube. There are also quite a few that say they are yoga for migraine. I have to be honest, personally I haven’t found any that work for me during a migraine or if I feel one coming on. That said, Adrienne has some that aren’t particularly for migraine but I’ve found them useful when I am feeling a bit off such as this one:
Virtual Yoga Studios
When it comes to practicing yoga online you can choose between big streaming services with multiple teachers and classes, or classes provided by individual teachers through their own websites. If you have a favourite teacher then you might start by googling for their specific classes. For example I would love to do another class with one of my teachers Sarah Powers, and googling lead me to her online course here.
Searching for Kathryn Budig’s classes online lead me to Glo - one of the biggest virtual studios. You pay a monthly subscription fee but then you can practice with a range of teachers from Kathryn, to Elena Brower, Amy Ippoliti, Seane Corn and more.
Glo also has Pilates on their site too, including Anula Mailberg whose classes I’d love to try! Slight tangent but if you want more Pilates classes Pilates Anytime is a great place to start. It can be a touch overwhelming to pick a teacher, so I recommend you start with my teacher Joanna Bezzina. Jo is lovely and her classes are both informative and warm, I’m so happy she has the opportunity to be a Pilates Anytime instructor so others around the world can practice with her.
Yoga Vibes is another option with a good selection of classes, delivered by certain yoga studios in the US. Like other sites they offer a monthly subscription option, but they also offer classes to purchase a la carte from more fast paced vinyasa to this slow flow.
One notable solo teacher I’ve come across is Kathryn Bruni Young. Kathryn hosts the podcast Mindful Strength, and runs this virtual studio from her home studio in Canada. I really dig Kathryn’s approach to yoga.
This is by no means an extensive list, but I hope it offers you some ideas about where to start! If you are looking for more there are plenty out there, try googling your favourite teacher or preferred method and browse YouTube. I will also mention Yoga Wake Up as another option, it’s an app that offers guided audio classes. Sometimes migraine makes screens unbearable, so this is a lovely alternative to reach for!
If you’ve never practiced yoga before then I do suggest you do your best to get along in person to a class with a teacher. Getting the fundamentals down will set you up well for a life long practice that you can take anywhere.
As for me, I’ll continue to do my bare bones yoga practice at home but I’m determined to get to class more often too. I feel like I’m rediscovering the love I have for yoga, and remembering how good it makes me feel. I hope these suggestions can lead you to classes that help you feel the same glow.